Surfing Etsy for affordable art

Whenever I flick through design magazines, I can’t help but roll my eyes at the interior designers who, sitting in their gorgeous, plush apartments, very seriously advise us all to start an art collection. While I hope to someday have a house filled with massive one-off pieces that I bought on auction in Saks 5th Avenue, at the moment, my art choices are pretty much limited to Etsy.

That’s not a bad thing. If you’re stuck in a small rural Italian destination like me, you couldn’t go to an art auction even if you wanted to. So when your options are drawing your own art or sticking to photos, Etsy is a lifesaver. They have hundreds of shops where you can pick up prints for next to nothing. Some will print and post them to you on gorgeous rag paper, but most will also sell the digital download, which is even easier. You get your pictures instantly and can print them for a few euros to whatever size you need on websites like Snapfish.

I know because last week I was picking a few pieces for the office and one or two for the home too. I love digital prints because I can switch them up when I get bored and not feel guilty about blowing a huge wad of cash. I wish I could say the same about my rugs – that’s an expensive fixation!

Since I spent the weekend neck deep in Etsy, I thought I would share a few standout pieces that I loved for the office and some tips to help you wade through the literally thousands of options.

art-list

KEEP IT SIMPLE

I say this a lot. Etsy isn’t an art gallery. It’s strength is in simple, modern and minimalist pieces. They’re the ones you want to gravitate towards. They print well and they’re timeless. Take no.4, the geometric print. It’s on trend at the moment – everyone is loving Scandinavian inspired pieces – but it ages well. You can have this hanging in your hallway for years and it doesn’t look tacky or cheap.

STICK TO A THEME

Whether you’re shopping for one room or your house as a whole, stick to a theme. This can be a colour theme or a design aesthetic. The six pieces I’ve chosen work well together because they’re either black and white or washed-out pastels. They’re also all examples of mid-century inspired pieces. That said, you don’t want to buy too many of the same things. I wouldn’t fill my home with geometric prints or black and white animal prints. That when a theme becomes a creepy obsession. Think porcelain dolls.

EMBRACE WHAT YOU LOVE

Art isn’t about buying what’s on trend. You have to pick pieces you love, but more importantly you have to pick pieces that speak to you. The Bondi beach piece is a great one because it reminds me of home. I’m a big believer that your art should be a celebration of your heritage. You’re so far from home that you deserve a beautiful reminder. There are heaps of map prints and word art on Etsy that celebrate specific destinations. Be sure to include one in your collection.

TIP YOUR HAT TO TEXTURE AND SYMMETRY

Just because it’s a print doesn’t mean it can’t have movement. I love the Native American inspired print in no.2 because it’s got great warmth and shading. The choice of colours and shapes makes me think I’m looking at a woven rug and not a two dimensional print. When you’re choosing your prints, you want pieces like these that jump off the page and give you a glowing feeling.

SHOP THE POST

NO.1 moon print, Printabold, €6 NO.2  NO.3 Bondi beach, Lila+Lola, €7 NO.4 geometric prints, Exileprints, €7 NO.5 buffalo print, Lila+Lola, €7, NO.6 cactus print, Taiprints, €11

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