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Home is where the art is: Five affordable & creative ideas

Home is where the art is: Five affordable & creative ideas

I love art! Although I’ve never picked up a paintbrush (that’s a story for another day) I’ve always been a lover of visiting art galleries and pondering how each piece makes me feel. I’ve also become obsessed with filling my home with art, photographs, prints and maps to breathe life and colour into my walls. If you’re reading my blog for the first time you’ll soon realise that I like to think about things on a deeper level. I’m like my own annoying child that is constantly asking “but why?” which on the surface is most definitely a nuisance but underneath is just my innately curious brain trying to make sense of things and understand what is of true significance in our lives. At school I had a more logical mind as I aced all my science and maths subjects but my arts degree in Dance really opened my mind to aesthetics and the concepts of art that apply aross all art forms. (If you want to know more about my story then go check out my about me page). Since then I live to understand the intention of the artist and the importance of the viewer in creating meaning of colour, shape and texture (yes these are also important components in any interior). Like with everything, I have my own preferences for what I like (I particularly love the large scale drama of Rothko) and my favourite gallery is the Tate Britain (serious architecture goals and brilliantly curated spaces) but to be honest I could spend hours wandering any art gallery. 

How do I choose art for my home?

I belive that the key is choosing art where there is a personal connection to it and something that holds unique meaning to you. Something that really resonates with you. When I work with clients I can do my best to make suggestions but it’s notoriously difficult to choose for someone because preferences for colour, pattern and texture are not always in our conscious mind. Without sounding too woo-woo art is something you feel and respond to. A great tip that I heard from someone is that if you see something you absolutely love - just get it. If you love it that much and it resonates with you then you will find somewhere in your home for it...

I've previously written a couple of blog posts which might help you how to choose art for various rooms and also how to hang it if you need help with that:

  • Picture, Picture one foot tall, why should I put you on my wall? Read it here.

  • How to create wonderful walls in your home. Read it here.

How does art benefit a space?

There are so many reasons! It adds colour and interest to blank walls, it can remind you of happy memories, it can focus your mind on what you want to achieve in life, it can enhance the decor and architecture, it can be intriguing and a opportunity for reflection or discussion with guests and it can even make you laugh. The list goes on and one of the beauties is that it can work for people who are renting too and struggling to put their stamp on the place. Command strips are your best friend here. These are adhesive strips that work like velcro that can be easiliy removed from the wall (in my experiece not so easiliy from freshly plastered walls) so there is no excuse anymore!

When do I get the art?

Do we buy art before decorating a room or after as a finishing touch? One of my favourite interiors designers Sophie Ashby actually uses a piece of art as the inspiration for a room and that's where all her ideas for the components of a room come from. It's a unique way of working and one that I'd love to try one day. However in my own home I've definitely made my art decisions once a room is completely done so I have a sense of what the room needs.

So without any further ado, I wanted the first blog post in this series Home is Where the Art is to showcase a few updates in my own home. Over the past year I have been constantly discovering new artists and printmakers and am on a mission to fill my home with art and the more I put up around my home, the happier it makes me. It’s as plain and simple as that! Let's take a look...

1. Botanical Prints

This year I have been determined to fill my home with greenery. I’ve discovered that alongside blue, green is the colour of choice for many of my rooms at home ranging from mint green tiles in the bathroom to the darkest green in John’s study and a more bluey-green in the kitchen. But still I want more in the guise of plants and shrubery and realised that I can achieve this through art and fabric as well as the photo-sythesising real thing!

Cue mars Date Palm Print

When I looked at the Cuemars website I genuinely couldn’t make a choice as to what botanical print I wanted but settled on the darker background as I love a bit of dark drama in my interiors. Botanicals is bang on trend at minute and takes us back to the plant-hugging seventies but we made a departure from it in the 90s in favour of a more modern look. Interestingly I had no plants in my home growing up so it's not something that I would naturally lean towards. Plants are most certainly back and although I am not a slave to trends, I feel like this one will come and go forever because essentially we are genetically drawn to leaves because of it links to nature and on a molecular level, they provide us with oxygen. So our brains are tricked into liking it.

I was so happy to discover Cuemars and their ethical approach and passion for nature that they bring to their homeware range and in line with previous blog posts I’ve written about sustainability they believe in the #buylessbuybetter mentality. Their prints are also made from vegetable oils which is pretty cool and I'm really pleased to offer my readers an exclusive code for 15% off any Cuemars print. Just use DONNA15 at the checkout. You’re welcome!

My Cuemars Date Palm print leaning against the Ammonite ( Farrow & Ball ) in my hallway

My Cuemars Date Palm print leaning against the Ammonite (Farrow & Ball) in my hallway

2. Don’t forget about art for the kids!

I loved creating a gallery wall for the boys bedroom full of positive messages and inspiring images and when I showed this print to the boys they were so excited! One of Jack’s favourite things in the world is to create different lego people by mixing them up so I know this is the perfect accompaniment for their bedroom. Cuemars do a range of patent prints and would make a really nice gift for someone. Discount from above applies here too.

Top tip: these are A3 sized prints which are 42 x 29cm and need a suitable frame (Ikea, Homebase etc. are 30 x 40cm). I got these black ones from this seller on Amazon.

3. Don’t take it too seriously!

I really think that sometimes we need to take a more fun and playful approach in our interiors and if painting your walls a bright colour fills you with fear, then bright prints is the place to experiment! I went quite neutral in my hallway and landing with one of my favourite calm greys of all time (Ammonite as mentioned above) but the reality of neutral just didnt’t do it for me so I knew some artwork would be my saviour here rather than repainting. The latest addition to this colourful gallery really makes me giggle because as some you might know my previous career was in dance and this skeleton print nods nicely to the fact that I believe our bones are made to dance and respond to rhythm.

What’s not to love about dancing skeletons? I can’t get the David Bowie song out of my head every time I walk past!

What’s not to love about dancing skeletons? I can’t get the David Bowie song out of my head every time I walk past!

I’ve been following Quirk and Rescue for a long time now and have always loved their vibrant and exuberant use of colour. This skeleton print is a set of three they call Victorian Singles prints. These were inspired by a visit to the Museum of London where they saw a display of old bill posters and it sparked curiousty as to what Victorians would have done with their single and album covers if they had vinyl records. Known as Mrs Pink and Mr Black, the latter had some old medical reference catalogues hidden away and all of a sudden the two ideas merged and they picked classic song titles to match these old imperical ilustrations. They just needed to add the song title and a touch of neon (of course) and here’s the result! Check out I’ve got you under my skin and Always on my mind too and also take a peek at their fabulous wallpaper.

Let's Dance print by Quirk and Rescue sitting alongside Sophie Ward's Dr Zeuss print, We are Moxi who I discovered at a Christmas Bazaar in Brighton and You're Magic from my dear friend Hazel Nicholls.

Let's Dance print by Quirk and Rescue sitting alongside Sophie Ward's Dr Zeuss print, We are Moxi who I discovered at a Christmas Bazaar in Brighton and You're Magic from my dear friend Hazel Nicholls.

4. Tea Towels!

Yes you heard me right, anything flat can end up on the wall to bring joy and here I have a framed tea-towel of our favourite place in London to take the kids. In fact we were there just there other day and as well as loving this retro and colourful design, everytime I look at this it reminds me of many happy times with my boys (they love the dinosaurs and insects and hate it when I drag them to the gemtone collection)! This is a great reminder that there are other things beside art and prints that can adorn the wall. On holiday this summer at the Tate in St Ives I saw a silk scarf inspired by Patrick Heron framed and there is a huge resurgence in macrame wall hangings (knotted textiles).

E81A3107Jack's room.jpg

5. Wrapping paper!

Now for those watching the purse-strings, why not use some vintage wraping paper and either frame them in 40x50cm frames or use colourful washi tape to attach them directly to the wall which is what I’ve done here. Quick, easy and simple and you can change them whenever you fancy. Perfect for a kids room! I found these maps in Waterstones for £3 but I also saw some wicked skeleton wrapping paper at the Natural History Museum shop last week (museum shops area great place to buy prints and I particularly love the V&A shop as well as my local Horniman museum).

Top tip: Pick out a colour from the print or use the colours from the room inspire the colour of the tape. Hobbycraft has tons!

There you have it! Hopefully 5 new ideas to get your creative juices flowing. I tried to give as much information as possible so you can get going with a project as soon as possible. What was your favourite out of the list? Do you have any favourite pieces of art in your home or do you have your eye on any that you’d love to buy? Please share below and even send me a photo via social media (all links in the footer below). Would love to hear your ideas and how you’ve made your home more personal using art!



In case you haven’t heard, I have some big news. Skirting Boards & Chandeliers has been nominated for a prestigious and most coveted Amara Interior Blog Award and it would really mean so much to get shortlisted. I need a little vote from you to make that happen. It only takes about 15 seconds and you can do it here. You will help make my dreams come true and grew my blog and business!

Many, many thanks,

Donna Ford Skirting Boards and Chandeliers

Disclaimer: Cuemars and Quirk & Rescue gifted prints for this blog post but all thoughts and opinions are my own. I only work with brands that I love and would use in my own home (evidently). All photos taken by me and belong to me.

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