How to make affordable art look expensive

Ensuring your guests can’t discern if your inexpensive art came from a gallery, auction, print shop or the side of the road comes down to a few careful considerations.

And when given the right amount of thought, affordable art can look like a million bucks hanging in your home.

According to Mariko Nissen, who co-owns Illuminate Gallery, to fake artwork fanciness, without looking cheap, it’s all about curating pieces based on feeling, meaning and what will work in your home.

Kmart’s range of affordable art will trick even the most discerning eye.

“I find art very emotive and I like having pieces around my home that remind me of holidays and happy memories,” she explains.

“Remember you will be looking at this every day and hopefully for a very long time.

Take note of how the colours in the artwork make you feel. Picture: Singing Poppies from United Interiors – AUD$609. Click here for more info.

“Think about how the art makes you feel or how you want to feel when looking at it. It’s nice to have calming pieces for the bedroom and vibrant pieces for a living space or study.”

Below Mariko shares tip on how to achieve maximum art impact on a minimal budget.

Go for something you love

When looking for art for your home, if you stick with what you love it’s bound to seamlessly blend with your home and not stick out like a sore thumb.

“If you love it, it will never go out of style,” Mariko says.

Black and white photography never goes out of style. Picture: Illuminate Gallery

“There are many styles of art that never age, or even improve with age like black and white photography.”

Use photography in the mix

Photography is a great way of achieving a contemporary look at an affordable price.

“Buying art based on current trends will achieve a stylised look for your home, but trends change quickly, so buying art from the heart will ensure you choose something you’ll want in your home for longer,” Mariko explains.

Photography is a great style to use for art prints. Picture: Kmart

Go bold

Play around and do something unexpected, similar to what curators do when they are setting up exhibitions – think framing a small artwork in a big frame.

“Don’t be afraid to choose bold pieces,” Mariko says.

Don’t be afraid to go bold: Zanui’s ‘Running’ art print – $229. Click here for more info

“A large format artwork on a wall can make a small room look bigger.”

Matchy matchy

To ensure your art adds to your space, look for pieces that match back with your interior in some way.

“Using colour in an artwork can tie the look of a room in together,” Mariko says.

“If you start with bold artwork take inspiration from a colour or tone within the artwork to choose soft furnishings for the room.”

Matching the tones in your art will make your whole room sing. Picture: Temple & Webster

Use frames to make a statement

Finishing touches, such as frames, really have the power to take your art from street corner to gallery-worthy.

Use the frame to tie the artwork to the rest of the room. Picture: Kmart

“Framing is a great way to jazz things up. I’m not necessarily saying go for a big gold museum-style frame but do some research before heading into your framer,” Mariko says.

If you’re still stuck for ideas, Mariko is a fan of larger-size frames to create impact.

“If have a small piece of art, framing it in a large box frame in matte can be very effective, or even framing a few small pieces and hanging them in a grid style,” she explains.

“This works great for holiday snaps and postcards, too, plus it preserves the artwork against damage.”

Originally published as How to make affordable art look expensive by Alexandra O’Brien. Author at