Saving the world with good design - how to find affordable art

Being an interior designer for nearly 9 years now, I just love it when things look good.  I created RoomLab to help make this possible for everyone and not long ago we put a shout out on facebook asking what your most perplexing design issues were. Now here’s a treat for you - I’m going to tackle these for you over the rest of the Summer along with our superstar designers and give you our advice on each - a bit of an Interior Designer Q&A if you like.  

If you enjoy what we’re doing get in touch and let us know and we can try to solve your design queries one by one!  To get involved, drop us a note on instagram or facebook or comment in our Stories.

I thought we'd kick off with my overview of how and where to find art that doesn't cost a fortune and makes you smile when you come in the door at night.  I’m always on the lookout for art and stuff to put on my walls. I like to change it up a lot and it’s cheaper than buying a new chair or table.  I guess like buying lipsticks instead of clothes right?  There’s no doubting though that it’s a tricky thing to get right.  Everything seems so expensive or I’ve seen it before in everyone else’s house (remember that Ikea stacked stones picture?!).

Below is my list of go tos which is a mix of suppliers for a selection of materials - be it canvas or prints or photography.  Do bear in my that this is a totally subjective, personal look but I hope you find something you love!  

So fiurst off get out and about!  Nowadays it can be very tempting to source everything you need purely online but don't be afraid to go mooching!  Look at when the grad fairs are for the big art schools (eg Chelsea) and go take a look.  I’d really recommend supporting new artists (and potentially bagging a future biggie) .  These sites are also great places to source from (all clickable links).

Degree Art - exactly what it says

New Blood Art - curated selection of artwork from upcoming artists.  I love this Flipped Learning Lapped Up by Tim Smith:

Auction - google art specific ones or general furnishing ones often have art.  I’ve found some great pieces at Lots Road Chelsea.  Here are a few!

Shops!  Remember those?!  I am physically incapable of walking past an art or charity shop so go into yours, rummage around and speak ton the staff.  It’s also nice to shop local of course.

Art fairs - take a trip to the Affordable Art Fair and The London Illustration Fair.

Instagram - keep your eyes peeled for art that you love and don’t be scared of approaching the artist directly.  They’ll often do commissions at sizes that work for you and are often more affordable than you think.  I had a beautiful drawing of my baby girl done by an artist who I approached on instagram.

eBay - I’m having a bit of an eBay moment right now since I discovered (late to the party I know), that you can set an alert for what you’re looking for - be in “Slim Aarons prints” or ‘oil paintings’.  Keep an eye on it and something will come up!

Here's a list of our fave specialist online art shops at RoomLab HQ:

Rise Art  You can choose to rent a piece also which is great if you’re looking to style and sell your home or if you just want to try a piece out.  Their print section is the most affordable but it also has a useful budget setter so you can search by your max price as well as which medium.

I love abstract art so this is also a want for me - Let Paint Speak Up by Daniela Schweinsberg

Desenio Skandi and neutral art prints at great prices.  I've just ordered a selection of these posters (£7.50) to frame fo my Snug

Painted Lines

Project Nord - if you like it modern and clean you'll love their poster selection

This Feminine Line Art is a fave

Absolute Art Limited edition signed and framed art prints from emerging and established artists from around the world.  Choose well and your piece could well go up in value over time.

Vontreuba Fab posters and prints 

London Print Club So much to love here , one of my personal faves

King and McGaw Beautiful art prints

Perhaps because it reminds me of my first interior design drawing classes, I love this - ONE POINT PERSPECTIVE by Simon C Page

On my wish list: ONE POINT PERSPECTIVE by Simon C Page

A 100 year old  Black and white classic from Piet Mondrian Composition 10 in Black and White; Pier and Ocean, 1915

Art Republic This site has a special affordable art section 

For something a little bit different:

Weapon of Choice Bristol - fave here is Cheba - a graffiti artist in the truest sense.

Exhibition A - super cool prints 

Nelly Duff - online and instore

Society6 - American great colourful prints with a little bit of edge

A couple of tips:

Most of these online sites have a 10% voucher for signing up to their newsletter, or if not sign up and one will hit your inbox a few days later.  Or follow them on instagram and keep an eye out.

Do bear in mind that some the above are from the USA and International customers are responsible for applicable duties and taxes.  This was a bit of a sting in the tail for me the first time I ordered with Society so check it out first, factor it in and check its still viable cost-wise.

Finally my biggest tip when buying art, and making it look affordable is to GO LARGE.  Getting the biggest piece that you think your wall space can handle will always make the best impression.  

Thats it!  Don't forget to let us know what you think and if you have any great finds! Next week I'll give my advice on hanging and framing.  S x

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