Art Smart

Ever glanced over a well-dressed space and been totally amazed how perfectly the artwork sets off the overall atmosphere?  The right choice of artwork can truly elevate a space to heavenly altitudes.  You may desire something that subtly melds with the color scheme or something completely out of left field to kick it up a notch.   Art is very important and can easily be the inspiration for a space.  Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find the dream piece or at least something you can afford.

Mavens adamantly enforce that art is a smart investment.  That is true but it is really easy when you have the funds to spend ridiculous paper at Sotheby’s auctions.  For the rest of us regular folk attempting to design champagne sipping rooms on PBR beer budgets, that is a little hard to digest.  Now with the help of the internet, great artwork can be achieved by anyone with a descent Wi-Fi signal.  Check out these great finds from my favorite sources:



Try your hand at the auctions to snag some fine wall jewelry.  I prefer to look for original art “Direct from Artist” and support the struggling artist.  The search tool makes finding the perfect genre much easier.



The more granola cousin of Ebay….Etsy is a virtual flea market for artists and crafters.  They have their own individual stores which allows you to discover the next budding Picasso or Kehinde Wiley.


The Tappan Collective

This fresh new site was started by two young University of Michigan alums with a love of art hoping to assist emerging artists to promote their works and finally make some lunch money.  The girls are on the guest lists at many hot art spots around the world and share their findings on the site which has modest pricing for original artwork and limited edition prints.


Society 6

Society 6 is a little different in that it allows artists from around the world to set up shops to sell their work in various forms.  Not only can you get a cool artwork print, you can also have it applied to t-shirts, an iPhone case and other quirky products.  Strolling through the site is so much fun and can alleviate that 2:30 feeling at work.


Teachable Moment: Neiman Marcus + Target

If you build it, they will come….goes the iconic qoute.  Well that ain’t always the truth.  Sometimes we don’t take the time to knock on the door of reality and sit down for a “come to Jesus chat”.  Unfortunately when Neiman Marcus and Target jumped into bed together last holiday season, they were so caught up in the rapture that they didn’t see reality.  Neiman Marcus planned to bring all of its best homies to the party: Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta and Diane Von Furstenburg, to name a few.  How could this not be destined for the Collabo Hall of Fame?

The thought of access to one of the nation’s swankiest department stores made available at the choice big box of Main Street America is genius.  However, having a designer tag is simply not enough.  The goods were far beyond the piggy banks of thrifty shoppers.  More importantly, the products weren’t the best quality or creative interpretation of the designers for this new market.

$500 Alice + Olivia bike….c’mon son: Huffington Post

Rag & Bone cardigans $50-$70 for boys & men. Don’t they usually sell the same sweaters at Target for like 25 bucks: Huffington Post

Cool skateboard but I’m sure a serious skater wouldn’t be caught dead on it: Huffington Post

What is the lesson here my design pals?

Just because it is expensive & designer….don’t go beyond your means to be dynamic.  You can achieve the look you desire at a price that fits your budget.  The joy of the hunt to compare prices or thrift makes the experience all the more fun.  Because something is the cheaper option doesn’t mean it has to wear its worth on its sleeve.  Just think about the HGTV show The High/Low Project with charismatic host Sabrina Soto.  It shows homeowners how the affordable look can be just as inspired as the unobtainable version.

Who cares what the expensive version looked like, that photo wall’s awesome: Pinterest

Expensive gold cabinet & pricey Judith Gigliotti beach print: Pinterest

Affordable version with “homemade” rug: Pinterest

And for my more literary pals, check out the new book Stuff by Carey Maloney, of the M (Group).  It inspires readers to broaden their collection of furniture, art and other interests.  In the March issue of House Beautiful, Maloney describes he and his architect partner’s style mantra as “It isn’t how much you spend, it’s how you spend.”  He also gives insight to the art of persuasion.  He convinces wealthy clients to purchase bargain pieces by enlightening them that “you are going to be very sad when you see it on our wall looking like a million dollars and that thing you spent a million dollars on looks poor in comparison.”

Wow- that guy is good.

page from Stuff: Pointed Leaf Press

Who knew cheap knotty pine could be so chic?: Stuff