Buying Artwork on a Budget

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When my wife and I were first married, we spent many weekends searching for art and antiques at auctions, antique shops and thrift shops. We never spent a lot of money on anything we bought and, after a few years, our New England home was full of wonderful 18th and 19th century pieces. Indeed, we found that buying antiques was actually much less expensive, and a lot more fun, than buying new furniture or artwork.

When we moved south, we sold most of our furniture. We had too much to move it all to our new home and we did not believe that the charm of 175 year old furnishings would really be appropriate for our new home in Florida. As a result, our local antique dealer visited our home on


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6 Responses to Buying Artwork on a Budget

  1. We bought many nice pictures at the Salvation for pennies on the dollar.

    You are right.

  2. Bob Farmer says:

    My wife and I and we have also bought art in 2nd hand stores. Your article is right on. You’ll rarely find “investment” art but we’ve occasionally found a print from a well-known artist that was priced well below “book.” But that’s the point isn’t it? You really only buy the art that is pleasing to you when it’s not an investment.
    Good post.

  3. Ann says:

    Art fairs and thrift stores and junky antique stores can be great places to find art. I also have a painting over my mantle that once belonged to my grandfather. I don’t care whether or not anyone else likes it ’cause I do. It’s a painting of sand dunes with (I think) one of the great lakes in the background and I’ve always enjoyed water and the wild edges around it. :-)

    One of the fun things is finding wearable art, as well as art for the walls. Antique jewelry, a pendant that’s an art glass piece or a miniature painting, unique pins and all kinds of things abound. That means that you don’t even have to have walls to hang it from! LOL

    Of course, I’m rather partial to carvings and sculptures. I have a friend who keeps an eye out for Inuit art that thrift shops or junk shops don’t realize they have…. unfortunately, when I reviewed her collection, I had to tell her that half of it was cast, but she did have a couple of REALLY nice pieces that she’d picked up for a song at yard sales! There was one she’d picked up for $5 that was definitely worth hundreds.

    Like you said, go for what you like and want. Sometimes it will also be a real bargain!

  4. persephone says:

    I always think the best art is the artwork that my children did when they were in elementary school. I framed several of their drawings and paintings and mingle them with family photos throughout my house. Even now, years later, we really enjoy them.

  5. spicoli says:

    I buy movie posters at video stores. I usually pay only $2 or $3 for each one and I have several up on my walls now. They are cheap enough that I can change them every few months, depending on my mood.

  6. Gail says:

    I bought a small oil painting one day because I liked not only the artwork but it was in a beautiful frame worth far more than the $10 I paid for it. Took it home and hubby loved it too and it is now hanging on our wall. I don’t know the value of the piece, but we have a beautiful piece of art for $10, well below the price of K-mart and Walmart ‘art’. Much of our other art are pieces that either my hubby painted or I quilted or stitched. Our own work is my favorite type of art in our home.

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