How to update the art you already have – tips to switch up the look of your home without spending loads of money!
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When we moved into our home 3 years ago, I knew that I wanted to have new artwork on the walls.
I had been looking at the same images and paintings for years and I was seriously ready for a change.
The problem was that we had to furnish our new, bigger living and dining rooms so our budget was pretty much at $0 for everything else.
I had to put my creativity hat on and start thinking about what I could do to update our old art to make them look refreshed and new.
Today, I’m sharing how to update the art you already own when you’re ready for another look. Some of these ideas I’ve done myself and some are on my to-do list for future projects!
Paint the frame
By far the fastest way to update your artwork – just paint the frame.
Sometimes an old frame doesn’t work for you anymore, but you still love the size or details. Just pop the art out and give it a couple passes with your favorite spray paint. Done!
Remove an old canvas and replace with fabric
I had made a very large graphic painting for our last home with bright colors and bold shapes. Then, I found it just didn’t go at all with our new house. But that canvas was really pricey when I bought it at a craft store, and I hated to just throw it out.
So I ripped all the canvas off and replaced it with a floral patterned piece of fabric with bright colors. All I needed to attach the fabric to the wooden frame was an industrial staple gun. The whole project took maybe 15 minutes and makes me smile every time I look at it.
For the holiday season, I cover it again with a plaid flannel that feels more Christmasy, but I just tape that because I don’t need it to be as permanent. After the new year, I take the flannel down and my pretty flowers cheer me up during the long winter, then transition right into spring.
I just love it so much!
Repaint the entire piece
It’s OK to start with a blank slate!
Cover an old canvas with white primer and paint your own thing.
There’s plenty of bloggers out there writing about easy painting ideas. Here’s some to get you started!
Change up the mat
Have a print that just looks old fashioned?
Sometimes just adding a clean, crisp mat will change the whole look.
Changing a mat is also a way to recycle old frames for new prints, too. The lovely lemon painting that I found on Etsy was perfect for my living room, but the dimensions were odd. I had no way to showcase it. Luckily, I found an old frame at Goodwill that was just right. A custom mat I made from some thick paper turned a tricky-shaped painting into something to show off!
Add cork squares
I know I could always use another space to tack things I don’t want to lose.
Add some thin, pre-cut cork squares to an old frame and you’ve got a spot to stick your reminders or show off your children’s latest creations.
I’m sure just about everyone is familiar with chalkboard paint at this point. I used the spray version and painted over an old piece of glass in a frame to make a menu board for meal planning.
This has honestly become one of the most useful spots in my home. Now that the weekly menu is (more or less) written in advance, I get so many fewer questions about “what’s for dinner?”. It’s so good.
Did you know you could turn any flat surface into a whiteboard?
There’s also paint for this, but it’s pretty expensive.
Maybe mix chalkboard paint and a whiteboard sticker for a multi-function combo!
Add something to your art
Shortly after our son was born, my sister gifted my husband and me with a custom painting of our family as birds. But guess what, we added another little chickadee 3 years later!
I’m sure I could have just left it alone, or taken the painting down, but I really loved it.
So I traced the baby bird and made a stencil so I could add another with white paint.
Now our whole flock is represented!
The best part about updating your old art is you’re saving money while recycling, reusing, and being creative. Perfect!
I bet if you take a walk around your home right now, you could find some art that you could update, too. Try some of these techniques and see what you can come up with.
Just make sure to stop back and let me know how it goes!
9 thoughts on “How to Update the Art You Already Have”
Great ideas! I love that even changing the frame or adding a mat can make an existing piece feel new. I am keeoing these ideas in mind.
Thanks Cara! Those small changes do make a big difference.
These are all such great ideas. I love how fun and unique this is, thanks for sharing.
Love your ideas!!!! They look very creative!
I love the idea of adding chalkboard paint. SO cool! And, of just taking off the old frame. I have done that from time to time as frames go in and out of style.
Good point, Jenny. Not everything needs a frame!
I love how resourceful this is! Great ways to take advantage of what you already have.
I love these ideas! Especially the fabric idea – it’s beautiful what you did with an old frame. I’ve painted older frames and filled them with patterned scrapbook paper too which I love the look of!
Great idea! Scrapbook paper is a really frugal way to change up your artwork. Change it as much as you want for only a few dollars.