Home sweet home
Making our home an inspiring, relaxing haven for us to spend time in is important to us, so my husband and I take care when deciding what deserves to furnish and decorate it. That’s not to say that everything we own is expensive; a large percentage of the furniture we own is from IKEA, and we are not averse to purchasing used items if the quality is good. In fact, our living room sofas were bought second-hand well over ten years ago and still going strong.
Wall art to reflect your personality
I must admit that I have a bit of a thing for wall art. Maybe you do, too? It’s often one of the first things I notice in hotel rooms, people’s houses and other places such as cafes and restaurants. I love observing the way that individual hobbies and interests are often reflected by what people display on their walls. So perhaps it’s not surprising that my husband and I have spent more time and consideration into choosing the art which graces our walls than on most of the furniture in our home. To be honest, many of the art pieces could well outlive some of the furniture items.
A personal thing…
Obviously, art is an intensely personal thing. What appears beautiful to one person could appear hideous to the next. Some couples who live together have rather opposing tastes, which must make it challenging to try to agree on what to decorate the walls with. I consider myself extremely fortunate that I met and married a man who happens to share virtually identical taste to me. Honestly, it’s a bit bizarre. On a few occasions, we have taken it in turns to look around small art galleries or shops and reveal our top three favourite works afterwards. They are virtually always the same ones! This is mostly a positive as we never argue about what to buy for the house, but there is the downside that we have on occasions talked ourselves into splashing out on quite high value pieces because we both love them so much!
Not that wall art has to be expensive, of course. Once I cut a small piece from a wallpaper sample to size and framed it as it matched perfectly with fabrics we already had in a room. In the past I’ve enjoyed making some of my own, using a cheap plain canvas, a roll of plaster of Paris and oil paints. Now, I’m by no means a talented artist (I didn’t even take Art to GCSE level!) but I think that anyone can have fun experimenting with a few art materials that take their fancy and may just surprise themselves with what they can produce when their creative juices get flowing. It can be so rewarding and satisfying to produce something yourself and instil a sense of pride when you see it every day. Have you created something yourself? Here is one of my creations:
Photo canvases are expensive but popular, especially with parents of young children. However, as it’s tempting to replace them with updated ones as the children grow older, we find it makes financial sense to regularly buy cheaper poster prints (rather than canvases) of our children, which can easily replace old posters in simple frames.
Once a year there is an event called Art on the Prom in a local coastal town. As the name suggests, it is held all along the sea promenade which makes it a hugely popular event. My husband and I love visiting this as it is packed with (mostly local) artists showcasing their work for sale. It is so inspiring to admire stand after stand packed with beautiful, original pieces of work and if we were rich (as well as having a house with enough empty wall spaces available) we would probably end up filling the car to the brim with multiple pieces. For the moment, we have to make do with just ‘window shopping’ and allowing ourselves to splash out on just one piece per year if that.
Two years ago, we attended the Art on the Prom event and both my husband and I were captivated by the work of a wonderful local artist called Rachel Shohet. Rachel produces art in a rather unique way: by painting with enamel onto metal, typically selecting quite bold colours and she incorporates various types of animals, as well as 1930s Art Deco characters, into her work. Some of her pieces include iconic architecture from our local area (the county of Suffolk), and my husband and I both particularly loved those ones. We decided pretty quickly that we preferred the one depicting the wide-spanning Orwell bridge, well-known to residents of our county, complete with sailing boats in the river and a flock of sheep in the foreground. The photo doesn’t do it justice:
A year later, we had been discussing the possibility of acquiring an additional piece of wall art for the kitchen. We considered attending Art on the Prom which was only a few weeks away at that point, but then decided that as we both loved Rachel’s designs so much, we would buy another of her pieces.
A Tough decision
When I phoned Rachel to enquire about this, she invited me to her home just a few miles away. Her house was wonderful, because she has filled almost every available piece of wall space in the downstairs rooms and stairway with her works of art, literally dozens of them! This wide selection of course made it more challenging for me to select just one, but after ten or so minutes of pacing through the rooms several times, I whittled the options down. However, in my heart of hearts I hadn’t spotted what I had hoped would feel like ‘the one’ and I think Rachel sensed that. She switched on her PC and showed me a few additional designs that weren’t currently displayed on her walls. When I set my eyes on one of those, I knew immediately it was the one we were meant to take home. The only slight problem was that Rachel remembered it was currently on display in a local café, but was insistent that she was happy to walk the few minutes to the café to fetch it for me. This she did, and Paul was delighted with my choice when he arrived home from work that evening to find this in the kitchen:
Make your own FREE wall poster
In the run up to Christmas, I may also take advantage of the clever poster maker that the lovely Cass Bailey from ‘The Diary of a Frugal Family’ blog recently wrote about. Her blog is very informative and inspiring so I wasn’t surprised when she shared this great idea. You simply select around 15 phrases, perhaps the favourite things of someone you would like to create the poster as a gift for, select your colour preferences and the poster will be generated ready to print. Cass is very kindly offering the use of the poster generator for free, see it here. Just add a simple frame and this makes a stylish, personalised gift.
Do you have a favourite type of wall art, or artist? Does it reflect any particular interests you have? Do you find it difficult to agree with a partner what to display on your walls? I would love to see your favourite piece of wall art, feel free to add a pic in the comments.
Thanks for reading, see you again soon 🙂