Beautiful Art No Matter Where You Live

Photo: L’aviva Home

Part of making our homes a sanctuary for our families is providing an environment which is not only safe and nurturing, but also beautiful and inspiring.  One small aspect of providing that inspiration for life is through art.

Yet, if your experience has been anything like mine, finding art for your home can be challenging when you live abroad.  Many times, preprinted art is not readily available or the local aesthetic is quite different than your own.  Then when you do find something you like, it’s inevitably out of your price range.

Still I’m obviously not here to discourage anyone!  Remember living without Target can be an opportunity to reach out to the Ultimate Designer, an opportunity to trust Him to awaken the creativity He has planted in your heart.  If you allow it to, living without {insert the name of your favorite store here} can make you more creative, just as living cross culturally can give you a broader appreciation for beauty.

Here are a few ideas to spark your God given creativity and prove that you CAN enjoy beautiful art no matter where you live!

1.  Think Outside the Frame – It doesn’t have to come in a frame to be lovely!

Hang Plates – available everywhere and economical

Photo: Real Simple

Using varying sizes and designs, you can create a beautiful display at very little cost!

Photo: Mine

If you live in a house with concrete walls, your husband might not get too excited about drilling 14 holes in the wall (can you tell I speak from experience?).  Never fear.  You can always find a gorgeous turquoise shutter and attach your plates to it so your husband only has to drill one hole.

Use Fabric – again, affordable and readily available

Photo: Ohdeedoh

Arrange coordinating fabrics in embroidery hoops and create a winsome display.  You could also wrap an artist’s canvas.

Photo: Anthropologie

How about this framed fabric?  Notice they use solid black in one of the frames since the room already has abundant color and pattern?  Using a solid colored fabric might work well for you if you have some highly patterned wallpaper in your home!

Baskets – handmade, potentially even custom made

Photo: Pottery Barn

Hanging baskets is both unexpected and a great way to add texture to your room.  In many locations, they can be custom made to your specifications!

2. Make Big out of Little – If you have small items but nothing substantial enough to hang in a larger space.

Mirrors – make any space look bigger and brighter

Photo: Real Simple

Mirrors and glass can generally be cut to size for much less overseas.  I recently purchased a 16 x 20 mirror for $4 USD at my local carpenter shop in Paraguay.

Variety Show – Frames, plates and shelves used in combination to create a larger display

Photo: BH&G

I just adore this kind of collection!  It allows you to group smaller pieces or art, frame special greeting cards or your child’s painting, and display your grandmother’s blue glass pitcher in one stunning vignette.

Check out this site for free vintage printables or this site for a sweet new piece of free art every month.

3. Repurpose – Give an old door, shutters or even a wooden ladder a home inside.

Stand alone – So charming, it needs no further adornment.

Photo: Country Living

I instantly thought of the Chronicles of Narnia when I saw this photo!  Wouldn’t this be so fun for kids?

Together We Stand – Use as a backdrop to give weight and importance to a smaller item.

Photo: Nester

The Nester repainted this cast off door and used it to encourage her family to “Abide”.  Any piece of art that reminds us to walk with God is truly inspirational in my book!

Which of these ideas most appeals to you?  Does it seem doable in your location?  I pray that God will bless you today as you serve your families and seek to make your home a sanctuary that inspires authentic, passionate living!

P.S. Next month we will be talking about maintaining a balance between being culturally appropriate and having a beautiful home.  I’d love to hear your opinion on the matter!  Jot me an email at or comment below!  Thanks!

(Post by: Shilo)


7 Responses to “Beautiful Art No Matter Where You Live”

  1. 1 Ashley L. January 18, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    I love the ideas of re-purposing doors and shutters and such! There are always lots of such abandoned items around here. Now I just need to keep my eyes out! Also, I love the various ways to use fabric. I always come across pretty fabrics and wonder what could be done with them, but since I don’t sew, I assume there isn’t much. Great ideas! Thank you! I have a huge blank wall in my living room that needs serious help. Oh, and I am so excited about next month’s topic! I’ll email you soon!

  2. 2 Shilo January 19, 2010 at 9:23 am

    I love re-purposing stuff too! Especially if it looks a little chippy and well loved! 🙂

  3. 3 Amie January 19, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    What great ideas! We recently took some fabric scraps and covered hangers (the triangular part)with the fabric we then hung them in the kids room with clothes pins glued to the edges. They keep their artwork in them and it is easy to swap it out for the latest creation. They love decorating their room with their own work and I love how the fabric ties everything together it makes me inspired to do more work with fabric 🙂 You can see a picture of their artwork in use here: since my words are not doing well at describing the project…

  4. 4 Ana January 19, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Lovely post! I have been thinking about artwork and made some posters to print out for my husband and daughter.

    I love the white plates, thank you for sharing your finds and talent Shilo 🙂

  5. 5 Susan January 22, 2010 at 2:13 am

    I love the plates idea too…that way you can use dishes from the country you are in (and it won’t look too American).

    I love the idea of using the old door as a headboard. Cool.

    The framed fabric is a creative idea too…you could also use fabric from the country you are serving in.

  6. 6 Susan January 22, 2010 at 2:14 am

    Forgot to say, “Thanks Shilo” for helping us celebrate beauty and creativity in our homes.

  7. 7 Sarah January 24, 2010 at 3:01 am

    Very cool. It is fun to look through different catalogs, Pottery Barn is one of my favorites, to get ideas for the home. Here in Paraguay it is farely easy and cheap to take any idea you might have and find someone to make it for you. I so agree that not having your favorite store around brings out the creativity inside of you. (a different post though I think?) With the help of my artsy husband, I am surprised by what we come up with!

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