How to Buy Art for Your Apartment — When You're On a Budget!

Art is a great way to spruce up an apartment, but the world can be a sad place for the broke art lover. Not only are you surrounded by truly appalling excuses for art (you’ve been to the doctor’s office, right?), but the beautiful alternatives feel so out of reach. Where do we turn when both our walls and our bank accounts feel bare?

Your neighborhood art gallery

Even small towns have local spaces for artists to make or display art, or both. You can find real treasures here, for less than big-city prices. For example, I recently visited such a space to look at the unusual and beautiful work of this artist, all of which is very reasonably priced.

Your neighborhood art studio

If you get inspired, maybe you’ll want to make some of your own art. Local studios often offer classes in everything from pottery to painting. At the very least, you’ll have a good time; at the very best, maybe you’ll end up selling affordable art to someone just like yourself.

Flea markets

Like so many doctor’s offices (but not all! Before one of you gets really wroth with me!), flea markets boast loads of paintings you’d rather burn than hang in your living room. But one seller’s trash is another buyer’s treasure, and you might find something you really love. The bigger the market, the more likely you’ll stumble over something that appeals. All snide comments aside, the only thing that matters is how YOU feel about a piece, so go hunting for bargains.

Search by city

If you live in a large city, chances are someone’s already done your art work for you. New York Magazine offers a guide to cheap art in the City; SF Girl By Bay has something similar across the country. See what your fellow residents have dug up for you.


The great thing about Etsy: the ease of the internet combined with the pat-yourself-on-the-backness of buying local. All these vendors are real people trying to get by doing what they love. It’s addictive browsing, but to make things even simpler, Refinery29 has a list of Etsy artists selling pieces for under $50. Not all of them are really my style, but they might be yours!

Other places online

If you’d really rather sit in front of your computer, there are plenty of online galleries waiting. These are just a few.

Happy Hunting! Tell us where you find your art here or on Facebook!

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