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Thanks to guest blogger Michele Bolen, HGTV Director of Original Programming

A few years ago I attended a company-wide holiday party with over 500 employees in attendance. It was a dressy affair that many of us referred to as “the prom.” At some point I made a trip to the ladies room, only to be confronted with not one, but TWO coworkers wearing the exact same suit as mine! I had to laugh, because no matter how good I thought I looked when I left the house, I was now faced with the realization that I was unoriginal. The horror!

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So why decorate your home with the same prints or posters that thousands of other people have as well? Especially since you can buy original works of art for the same price or — in many cases — much cheaper. One of my favorite resources is the ever-popular eBay. This online auction site is a treasure trove of the sublime to the ridiculous, depending on your taste.

For my own collection, I usually use search terms like “Eames-era painting” or “mid-century painting,” which have turned up some gems from the 1940s-60s.

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This large portrait of comedy legend Henny Youngman made its way from his estate to mine, for the bargain bid of $19.99. I just loved the colors and the artist’s impressionistic style, and it’s certainly proved to be a great conversation starter.

I also found these paintings done by a wallpaper designer from the 1950s, which have the original penciled notes and studio stamp at the bottom.

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These only cost $15-$30 apiece, so I bought six of them. I had three with similar color schemes framed, and now they make a great graphic statement in my office.

Buy what you love, and if you’re lucky you may even stumble upon a wise investment once in a while.

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I splurged on this $200 painting of a little boy holding a sunflower, and later found the artist’s work going for $2,000 to $3,000 at several fine art galleries. Who knew?

Try using search terms such as:

  • vintage watercolor

  • architectural drawing
  • fashion illustration
  • figure study
  • vintage landscape, still life, or portrait
  • outsider art (Be careful — you might find a collage made of toenail clippings.)

For the serious bargain hunter, www.shopgoodwill.com has less traffic than eBay and even lower prices. It’s also an auction site so you’ll need to sign up first, but it’s free and only takes a few minutes. Check out the art section, then click on “paintings.” Most of these bids start around $10, but remember you will have to pay for shipping. Share your best sources for good, cheap art and your finds below. Happy hunting!

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Art

10 Responses

  1. Sherri says:

    I really like that you mention "buy what you love." It's true that you may get lucky and have your piece be worth much more than you paid, but more importantly, when you decorate with something you love, you will love your space. It's a philosophy that we use in our book, "What Would You Do With This Room."

  2. For artwork, check out Etsy…beautifully talented artisans…support handmade…

  3. Gail says:

    It is so true to buy what you love, and even if it ends up not being worth money to anyone else, every time you look at your item you feel better.
    Don't forget to check out your towns local art galleries, these are many times overlooked and of course gargage and tag sales. And always dicker with the price. I have been an antique dealer and artist for the past decade and love to find someone else trash and turn it into my treasure.

  4. Ed says:

    There are some excellent online galleries like EmergingArtists.com which has fantastic artwork at very competitive prices.

    All of the art on the site is original and sold by the artists.

    A summary video of some of the work can also be seen here.

  5. JoAnn FUlp says:

    Several monnths ago I saw one of your teams , I think Angelos, redecorating a room. One of his helpers painted an art work that I would like to have. He painted a small board solid white, made 3 or 4 dabs on it with black paint, turmed it upside down, then propped it against the wall and went on about his other work. When the room was being put back together and comlpeted, the painted board was on the wall , right side up . It looked like dark(dead?) trees in the winter! Beautiful! Where can I buy one? JoAnn

  6. Mercedes says:

    As a designer, I'm always looking for inexpensive art to fill my client's spaces. Recently I just found a website called One Day Gallery. I'm quite surprised at the work that they have on there. Very different styles and amazing prices. I recently bought a large painting from an artist that I know that lives in the next town. They had one of his pieces for at least 90% off of his gallery price. Quite amazing. <a href="http://www.onedaygallery.com” target=”_blank”>www.onedaygallery.com

    If I have some time to kill, I check etsy. Sometimes it can be difficult to find exactly what I'm looking for, but the selection is amazing. <a href="http://www.etsy.com” target=”_blank”>www.etsy.com

  7. roystonparera says:

    I always appreciate creative ideas.Art is important because it allows us to be creative.Art should be an everyday activity.Making our art activities open-ended is very helpful.

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