There are many ways to stretch a budget when it comes to decorating a home, and one of the easiest may be to create your own budget artwork.

If your finances have been blown on a move, wedding, furniture, or other necessities, you may be looking at bare walls and no money to decorate them.

You'll have to get creative and find or make some of your own budget artwork. How should you begin this project?

If you already know what style of decorating you like, you're in luck. It will make it much easier to select subjects, colors, mats, and frames for your art. If you're unsure or have an "eclectic" style (sometimes also known as a hodgepodge) you'll have to choose as you go along.

Floral artwork in carved, light-colored frames fit in with a cottage style. Black and white photos framed in simple metal work well in a contemporary setting. Country themes, weathered wood, antique or old fabrics go well in a country style home. Landscapes, botanical prints, and floral still life pictures fit into a traditional interior.

If you're ready to save some money and get something attractive up on your bare walls, read here for some creative ways to find artwork at budget prices, or no cost at all!

  • Frame What's Free
    I get at least 5 calendars from companies at the end of every year. Many of the images presented are beautiful. Other sources of free art are creative menus, pretty party invitations, a puzzle you've put together, a collage of postcards from a trip, a diploma that you're proud of, or a patriotic or decorative flag. Pieces that are just decorative can be put directy into a frame off the shelf. Pieces that are more special should be mounted on acid-free mat board before framing.
  • Items from Mother Nature
    You can mount any number of natural items in a standard frame or a shadowbox style. A beautiful arrangement at little or no cost can be made of pressed flowers or leaves, shells you've collected on a trip to the shore, interesting pods and seeds, pine cones, dried flowers, or even a freeze-dried corsage. Mount heavy items to a mat board using hot glue. White glue or a spray adhesive will work for lighter items.
  • Use Your Camera
    Amateur photographers can capture the most interesting images. But if you're not feeling secure, ask a friend to take some pictures of flowers, houses, interesting buildings, sports equipment, or pretty settings. You can see that the possibilities are endless! Take the camera disk to a copy store and have the images printed in either black and white or color. Have the images enlarged to fit the space you have. For a series of photos, frame them in simple, identical frames, with coordinating mats. Be sure to shop around for frames. You'll be more likely to work within your budget if you select standard size frames. When assembled, the photos can be grouped on a large wall, hung along a hallway, or placed on shelves in a bookcase.
  • Check Out Your Personal Library or Go to a Bookstore
    I know this may sound shocking to some of you who were taught to never deface a book, but you can find wonderful photos of famous paintings in large books. Subjects could be birds, furniture design, architectural structures, Impressionist era art, landscapes, quilts, and trains. Select pictures that will coordinate with your decorating scheme. You can find books with beautiful illustrations at garage sales, used book stores, or neighborhood library sales.
  • Hang It Up
    Hang items directly on the wall. Beautiful plates are a natural, either in a vertical arrangement or randomly around a wall. Garage sales and flea markets offer lots of beautiful or interesting options for dishes, tableware, and other household items that can adorn a wall. Other choices might be flags, hats, model airplanes, pages of music, musical instruments, or toys.
  • Creative Crafts
    If you do needlework, draw, make model airplanes, or have a collection of small items, they make a wonderful piece of art. Be sure you have the pieces mounted carefully and do not damage them when you frame them. This will provide a great way to display things that mean a lot to you and to show off your talents.

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