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The Low-Cost, High-Impact Decor Your Home Needs

Reading Time: 6 minutes

In my last story I wrote about how street art in Houston is sparking discussions about social justice, modern politics, and other issues best discussed over alcohol and appetizers. Well, why leave the action in the streets? I, for one, have had spirited debates with friends over a particular, headless portrait in my living room, and it has made dinner parties that much more entertaining. The low-cost, high-impact decor your home may be missing is… ART!

Art is more than pretty pictures for your home – it’s transformative. It has been used to inspire, incite and inform. It can transport us to other worlds, evoke hidden emotions, and create a lingering sense of wonder. With a few well-planned selections, you can tap into this same magic right at home. 

Yep, that’s me. Sitting on the floor in a hotel lobby because I simply had to get a picture with this beauty.

Firstly, let’s define art. Without dusting off a dictionary, I’m going to go with a product of human creativity. Yes, I know dogs can paint, but I’m trying to stay on topic here. So, art can be a painting, a photograph, a sculpted wad of gum, or a papier-mâché mold of a woman shaving her legs. 

Below are some of my favorite pieces seen at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Arts, 2016, including said sculpture of a woman shaving her legs.

For the purposes of this article, however, when I refer to art, I’ll be talking about things you can hang on your wall. I like a simple life, see?

Tell People How to Use Your Space

Open floor plans are still reigning in new home designs, and while they are a great way to convey a sense of spaciousness, they can also present some unique challenges. Without proper design, it can be difficult to distinguish one area from another. This can lead to a lack of privacy, visual clutter, and confusion about how the space should be used. The solution? You guessed it – high-impact art! 

A wall hanging is the quickest and easiest way to define a space. A large painting above a fireplace or sofa, for example, can create a natural gathering area and define the space as a seating area. Similarly, hanging a collection of smaller art pieces on one wall – like in an entryway – can define the space as a viewing area. The key is visual separation – creating strongfocal points that make it easier for the human eye to group elements together. 

Direct the Flow of Traffic

Have you ever walked into a home and wondered what on earth the architect was thinking? Endless hallways, awkward nooks and maze-like arrangements of doors are all too common in existing homes. Did you know that you can use art to point visitors to the bathroom? And no, I don’t mean by hanging an arrow on your wall.

If your guest is in a hallway and has five doors to choose from, you can nudge them to the correct side using directional art. A painting of flying birds or a photograph of a sculpture facing left will subtly nudge your visitors to the doors on the left. In my home have a giant canvas of a woman facing my front door, to encourage guests to get their shoes on and leave already!

A painted canvas in deep red and orange tones of an African American woman's profile, facing a front door.
This was a DIY canvas using a print from Society6. Doesn’t she just scream, “It’s time for you to go!”

I’m totally kidding. My favorite kinds of guests are the ones who linger. 

Go Big to Save Time

I’m a minimalist when it comes to decorating. No, really! As bright and colorful as my home is, I follow a strict less-is-more policy. When faced with a large, blank wall, I will choose a large canvas over a gallery wall every time. Why? Less visual clutter, fewer frames to dust, less glass to keep clean. I wasn’t kidding earlier when I said I like the simple life. 

Here are a few reasons why oversized art might hold the oomph you’re looking for:

1. It is Impactful and Dramatic

Ohhhh, the drama! What a way to command attention. Oversized art is a bold choice that is a conversation starter, regardless of what type of art it is. If your goal is to create a sense of drama and excitement, you can’t go wrong with a giant frame.  

2. It is Simple

For a sense of calm and sophistication, one piece conveys an elegance that cannot be achieved with a gallery wall. With a gallery wall, there can be a tendency to clutter the space with too many smaller pieces of art, creating visual noise and clutter. 

High-impact oversized art acts as a focal point, even in it's most basic form. Here, a plain black canvas hands behind an oval gray chair, adding strong contrast and visual interest to an otherwise plain room.
Image by Avery Klein – Tulsa, OK

3. It Allows for Flexibility

Oversized art can be more flexible than a gallery wall in terms of placement and display. A large piece of art can be leaned against a wall, hung on its own, or paired with other pieces of art or decor. This flexibility allows for more creativity in the placement and display of the art, creating a truly unique and personalized statement.

4. It Requires Minimal Maintenance

As I mentioned earlier, the art piece can often be left untouched for longer periods of time.

I spotted this beauty at the Green Valley Ranch Resort and Spa in Las Vegas, NV

How to Save Big on Art

Now, here’s the ugly truth about the big picture… It can cost a pretty penny. You can expect to pay a few hundred to a few thousand dollars for a single framed piece. Yikes. 

Never fear! Options abound! If you’re not a big-time art collector, one option is to look for prints or reproductions of famous works of art, which can often be purchased at a lower cost than an original piece. Also search for local artists who create large-scale pieces and commission a piece that fits your style and budget.

There are many online marketplaces where you can find a wide selection of art at reasonable prices. Some of the most popular ones include Etsy, Society6, Great Big Canvas, and Redbubble. You can also look for local art fairs and festivals, where you can meet local artists and purchase their work directly.

And then, of course, there’s the DIY option. You’d be amazed at what you can create with some furring strips, drop cloth, a staple gun and some acrylic paint. Linked here is my tutorial on creating a giant canvas using a Society6 tapestry. I’ve done this project three times in three different sizes, and they’ve held up for years. 

What’s Coming Next?

I’m starting a series about effortless ways to ease into travel if you’re new to it, or just returning to it after the panini pandora pandemic. I’ll touch on ways to prepare your home for travel, how to pack and plan for solo/family/group trips, how to go outside without going broke, and how to document your travels in a meaningful way. Hint: DON’T buy tchotchkes! 

Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss out on more travel, decor and lifestyle stories. Bonus points if you come find me on Instagram where I post about this stuff more often! 

Wander often! 


Hi, I'm Chioma Ikoku, a spirited explorer and a peace-loving homebody. I founded Casa Diem Life to help you combine the excitement of travel with the comfort of home, because I believe that adventure begins at home.

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