Five Simple Tips for Decorating with Art

Do you struggle when it comes to decorating your walls? Today I’m sharing five fabulous tips for decorating with art!

I asked you all back in January what topics you’d like me to cover this year, and decorating with art was one of the ones that came up more than a few times. You asked for help with how to choose it. And where to find it. 

It seems as if art is one of those things that makes many people feel stymied. If that’s how you feel, then this post is for you. Today I’m sharing easy tips for decorating with art. Five ways to incorporate it, and lots of sources of where to find it!


artwork in gorgeous white farmhouse kitchen oil painting over range mantel


 Vintage Oil Paintings

Original art is something that I think is absolutely essential to a space. It adds character and interest that you simply cannot get from contemporary, mass produced prints.

And one of my favorite types of art is vintage art. Old oil paintings or watercolors in chipped, gilded frames. I love the classic beauty of them, and if they’re slightly worn, even better. 😉

And the great part? They are available at amazing prices if you look for vintage pieces! There are literally thousands of pieces of vintage art available online. I’ve ordered many paintings from Ebay over the years, and now Etsy is another great source for vintage art.


decorating with vintage oil paintings artwork wall decor

Above I have original oil and watercolor paintings in the living room. Some I got from Ebay and others from antiques stores. One of my favorite sellers on Ebay is a man from Denmark. All of his art is from Europe, he carries beautiful landscapes as well as many others, and his prices are very reasonable. I’ve gotten several from him!


decorating with art in French country living room gilt framed vintage oil paintings

But some of my absolute favorites are ones we purchased while traveling!

That’s another tip I have.

When you travel, try to buy an original piece of art. It could be something you buy from an artist on the street, which is where we got one of the paintings above – we bought it on our honeymoon in Florence.

Or from a little store somewhere. Even if it’s just a drawing or a vintage print, it’s a wonderful way to add original art to your home and get something that reminds you of a special trip.



Photos from a Special Trip or Event

Another way of decorating with art affordably is to frame some photos from a special trip or event. 


French farmhouse style home office with framed prints wall decor

Here in the office I wanted to add something from our vacation in Provence so I framed some photos from the trip. I bought the frames at Target, and got some very pretty art for the walls without spending a ton of money!


French farmhouse inspired home office with wall decor artwork framed photographs



Vintage Botanical Prints

Vintage prints are one of my favorite ways to add original art to your home, and I particularly love botanicals. If original oils are too expensive or not your style, try incorporating some kind of vintage print.

I fell in love with this photo with it’s vintage botanicals and set out to find a set of my own. There are many cute reproductions, but I really wanted that vintage look that I knew only an original set would have. 


French farmhouse breakfast room with vintage botanicals wall art

Via Lisa Luby Ryan.


decorating with art vintage botanicals in family room French country

The great news is, they’re very easy to find! Ebay, Etsy, antique stores, and flea markets (which is where I found mine) all carry hundreds of options at very reasonable prices. I had these custom framed but you can always get inexpensive frames at Target, Walmart or Michael’s. 

And there are hundreds of prints, etchings, and engravings that are not botanicals. From architectural prints, to birds, to landscapes. Some are lithographs, some are etchings, and others are simply prints, but many are super plentiful and affordable!



Lean, Rather than Hang, Some of Your Art

I love the casual feel of art simply leaning on a shelf or mantel. It works especially well with vintage art in gilded frames by taking it down a notch and giving it a more casual feel.


vintage landscape painting on kitchen range mantel in white French farmhouse kitchen

Here on the kitchen mantel I added a little farm landscape oil painting. Unframed and simply leaning on the shelf it looks casual and un-fussy, perfect for that casual chic mix that I love. You can see more ideas on how to incorporate art in the kitchen in this post.


how to decorate with art vintage gold framed print leaning on mantel French country room

This little vintage lithograph leans on the mantel in the living room, creating a casual spring vignette. 


Find Custom Artwork from Independent Artists

Another way of incorporating original art is to have some made.

This could be anything from a painting by an artist, to a sculpture, to some sort of original art made from natural materials. Etsy is full of original artists who make all kinds of amazing products in any price point you can imagine.

Last year when I was re-doing the master bedroom, I knew I wanted some intaglios but they are prohibitively expensive. So I took a look around Etsy and found a woman who frames reproduction intaglios and they were just what I was looking for!


framed intaglios in French farmhouse bedroom

framed intaglios matted in white in gold frame

They turned out beautifully! And even though they weren’t cheap, they were still way less than what Restoration Hardware and others are charging for a similar look. And they’re completely mine. Original, and unlike what anyone else has!


You could even make your own art if you’re crafty!

I’ve seen people frame christening dresses, baby shoes, keys, or any other meaningful memento. Again, it creates a piece that is special and unique to you. Or paint something if you’re so inclined. I know blogging friends who have simply bought paints and painted their own modern art piece!

I hope these tips on decorating with art have given you ideas of how easy it is to incorporate art in your own home. There’s not much that will add so much to your space so quickly as adding a piece of original art!

I’m sharing some great sources that I’ve found below, but don’t forget local antiques stores, garage sales, and flea markets for even more sources of affordable vintage art.



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If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out more decorating ideas and inspiration below:

How to Style a Coffee Table: 5 Essential Tips

How to Make the Perfect Bed

Decorating with Art in the Bathroom

How to Decorate Using the Rule of Three


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  1. Shelly Cromwell says:

    Loved this post! I’ve been struggling to find the perfect pieces for my home decor and these tips have given me so much inspiration. Can’t wait to try out some of these ideas and see how they turn out!

  2. Jessica Stone says:

    Great tips! I’ll keep these in mind when decorating my home with art.

  3. Katy Summers says:

    I love this series! I’m always looking for new ideas for decorating and these tips on decorating with art have definitely helped! Thanks!

  4. Your home is gorgeous! Thank you so much for your tips on vintage art. I am redecorating my home and wonder if you would be so kind to share the paint color throughout your home? I just love it! You have beautiful taste! Thank you, Elaine

    1. Hi Elaine! Thanks so much for your kind words! And yes, I’m happy to share the paint colors. They actually changed last year but in the post you’re referring to the living room is Muslin, the DR is Shaker Beige, and the FR is Muslin as well. The kitchen cabinets and all trim, doors and ceilings are Cloud white – all by Benjamin Moore.

      For more details and info on my favorite neutral paint colors check out this post:

      Thanks for stopping by!


  5. Thank you for sharing this idea. It will help me to add more compliments to my home. Keep on posting!

  6. Ellen Richardson says:

    Thanks for the tips on adding art! Recently, I started to renovate the look of our house and I always want to add art but didn’t really know where to start~ I think adding some art pieces would be a great idea!

  7. Lory Stevens says:

    My husband and I recently moved into our first home last month. We are still in the process of slowly furnishing the entire space, so thanks for the tips! I’m excited to get some “real” art and start adding it to our home!

  8. All these links and ideas are wonderful!! Thank you, Shelia! I have wanted to print out some photos I took on my trip to England last year and just haven’t done it yet, but now I have the encouragement to! The frames in your office look like a great size and wood tone for what I am looking for. Do you have a link to those frames? All the vintage art adds so much charm too. I especially love the cow over your stove.

    1. Aww I’m so glad you found inspiration!! I’m a big fan of artwork/personal photos and I bet you’ll be so happy when you get them hung! Those frames are linked in the post I believe, but you can find them here (and the wood tone is so pretty!):

      Good luck!

  9. Renee Fraker says:

    I just loved this post! I’m always someone who prefers real art in my home, and you’ve included great tips and sources – thank you!

  10. You have such a beautiful home! You are one of my favorites to follow…..I get so many beautiful ideas from your decor!!

    1. Aww that is so kind Wendi – thank you! You seriously made my day!!


  11. Shelly Browne says:

    I love your idea of using various custom art and memorable pictures in your decor! I’m going to take a look at what I have and also you’ve motivated me to take a peek at Etsy tonight, too! Thank you!

  12. Renee Williams says:

    I love your idea of decorating my living room with old oil paintings, they have so much more charm than a print from a store! Thanks for sharing all your ideas with us!

  13. Shelly Browne says:

    Wow, I never thought that a piece of art would look so good in a kitchen! My sister has been looking for ideas on how she could give her home an “artistic” touch and this hit the spot. Your example of having the piece “lean” instead of hanging is a great idea. Loved this so much – thanks for inspiring!!

  14. Ok, I had never heard of intaglios before now but I just am IN LOVE! They are stunningggg! Love all your examples and links of where to find similar. Truly– original art is the best, I totally agree!

    1. Haha that was me when I discovered them!! LOVE! Yes, original is the best and it can be found so reasonably! Loved your creative ideas my friend:)


  15. Your home is so beautiful, and thank you for all the wonderful tips on art! You give us inspiration, and that is exactly what we need now. Thank you!

    1. Aww thank you Jeanne!! Your comment seriously made my day:)


  16. Such great tips, Sheila! I love all of these especially those gorgeous intaglios! Your home is gorgeous.
    Hugs, Jamie

    1. thanks so much my friend! Loved yours too!


  17. Vicki Bray says:

    Oh my! Where did you get the print in the kitchen of the cow! I love pictures and am amazed at what you can find while shopping at thrift stores!

    1. I got that one on Etsy or Ebay! None of mine are from thrift stores though I know some people have good luck there, I haven’t so far! Mine are all Ebay, Etsy, and flea markets.


  18. LOVE! All the pieces in your home just work so well. That sweet little painting on your hood and those botanicals are my fav.

    1. Aww thanks so much Deb! I love that you love real art like me! 🙂


  19. Kathy Menold says:

    We have always tried to find a piece of art to bring back from a trip and it is such a nice way to remember a trip. Even a little painting can bring back memories of a vacation.

    1. Yes! I couldn’t agree more! I have a friend who always bought a piece of jewelry whenever she traveled and I’ve now switched her over and she buys art! It’s a great way to get originals for little money and wonderful memories 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!