When it comes to decor, sometimes you need a big piece to make a room look balanced, fill a large empty wall or make a bold statement. (Unless, of course, you're me, and think every wall looks good as a gallery wall packed with little tidbits of happiness. But then your husband will tell you that, really, one or two gallery walls is plenty, and you begrudgingly admit he might be right, and then you are back to square one, needing a few big pieces of art.)
The problem? Big art is expensive. Even framing big cheap art nicely is expensive. And if you don't have the art chops to create statement pieces for yourself, it can be frustrating. But you really don't have to be an artist to make your house a home. The secret is finding or creating things that are meaningful to your life.
Here are three ways I've made a big impact in my own home:
- Indulge your inner photographer. I took these photos at a Chihuly exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Although I could have purchased large prints of the artist's work that would perhaps be sharper or lit better, I liked that my own photos reminded me of my experiences wandering through the museum. Instead of trying to print one picture really big, I chose three and printed them at 16 inches by 20 inches. The frames are cheap poster frames, and the end result is a triptych that looks much classier than the less-than-$40 it took to create.
- Write a love letter. You don't have to be an artist to create something big. All you need is a large canvas--whatever size fits your space (and your wallet)--and paint. My canvas is nearly three feet tall. Choose text that is meaningful for you--song lyrics, a favorite book passage, monologue or even a section of a government bill that means something to you. Then just paint it on the canvas. I chose a passage from one of my favorite books, which a good friend also read at our wedding. Because of the subject matter, it ended up as a sort of large-scale love letter for our home. Tip: Trying to make the letters look perfect on your first go will usually make your handwriting look unnatural. Try to write the whole thing out quickly and then go back through slowly to fill out the lettering. Also, don't be afraid to let it be a little messy--its better to have something that reflects your
- Think outside the rectangle. I have an ampersand obsession and they are slowly showing up all over my house to prove it. When I found out about this giant ampersand, which was marked down at a huge sale, I jumped at it. ("Watch for a good sale" is a tip that could really apply to any of these ideas, from printing your own images to purchasing canvases). Even deeply discounted, it is still the most expensive item on this list, but the piece is seriously huge--more three feet tall, more than two feet wide and three inches deep. It's a big statement piece for our dining room and doesn't require much more to make the space feel full. And here's another tip: Don't be afraid to repurpose something to fit your taste. Although I like the aged map look this piece came with, I plan to eventually paint it to best complement our tastes. Gold foil may be involved.