How many times have you been to see an old friend, they’ve just redecorated, and there’s a black and white printed canvas of a field of sunflowers with a bumblebee in colour in the foreground? Or a moody woodland scene with a path meandering round the trees?
Well I’m fed up of seeing the same prints, the same bargain bucket Ikea wall hangings that give no impression of personality or individuality to their respective owners. Especially as there are so many potentially unique pieces of art or decoration, for very little money, readily available or easy to make. This list compiles a select few, to impress your guests and show off what hits your buttons, and what makes you tick.
Records, Vinyls, LPs – Car boots, Charity shops, eBay (frames from Ikea)
Record covers have, for decades now, been true pieces of art. Whether it’s Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon prism cover, or Lil’ Waynes Tha Carter III child graduation cover, they offer an insight into the minds of the musical artists who commissioned them. Normally, they seem to reflect the style and era from whence they came, which can be a powerful yet subtle message to your house guests.
Perhaps you’re a bit happy-go-lucky, and like a party, so you have some 70’s disco albums and the odd techno beat. Perhaps you’re a reflective, quiet character so Dido’s album goes up on the wall.
Whatever floats your boat musically, be sure to choose some iconic ones to get everyone heart racing. It’s genuinely surprising to see people come in and say ‘I remember that album!’ or ‘that is a great artist!’ or even ‘God, I hated them.’ the fact is that they are not just brilliant pieces of artwork by themselves, they evoke emotion. Surely that’s the best kind of art? Also, of course they are cheap. you can pick up most for less than a fiver, stick them in a frame for a tenner each and place them in a group (I find four together in a square works best)
Currently I’ve got on my wall; Pink Floyd, Queen, Dire Straits and… Wham. Not sure what that says about me.
Luckies Scratch Map – notonthehighstreet
Rather than having to mind-numbingly list off and boast to all your friends where in the world you have been, and how exciting and windswept your lifestyle is, why not show it all in one simple graphic on your wall?
A world map, separated into countries in gold, on a clean white (or charcoal for an extra few pennies) background, is a nice enough picture in itself, but when you realise that you can scratch off countries and maps that you have visited, it brings a whole new personal and unique touch to every one sold. Currently, my house-mates and I all have one, and the level of competition is nothing but fierce.
Regularly you’ll find yourself choosing your holiday destination, not on their cultural value, or their quality of cheap liquor, but on how diverse it’ll look on your Scratch Map.
Spending four months travelling south Thailand becomes obsolete to a weekend in Moscow, unless of course you’re really specific as to what you scratch off.
Luckies Scratch Maps have been around for a few years or so now, but I’m afraid many end up, left in their postage tubes in a wardrobe or propped up in the corner.
Get it out, scratch it off, and put it in a classy frame. Placed next to a few more prints, pictures and memories on your wall, it’s bound to impress.
Vintage Enamel signs – Antique shops, eBay, car boots
On the verge of being tacky or overdone, vintage enamel signs have sky-rocketed in price in the last few years. The ‘Shabby-chic’ industrial look has well and truly made itself known, but there are still bargains to be found.
Large tobacco adverts and fizzy pop brands are some of the best, but of course some of the most expensive. The little ‘danger’ signs off electricity pylons are quite fun, and reasonably priced, and would look good in a kitchen or a bedroom. Just hope that people don’t get the wrong idea of what you’re into.
The block primary colours and bold fonts do well to make these great eyecatchers, and the ‘patina’ or rusty-ness add to their uniqueness and charm.
Go sparingly, don’t fill your wall with them, and find the bargains to add some industrial chic to your home.
The modest blackboard. When I was at school, these were just on their way out, being replaced, RACISTLY, by their white, pen-friendly cousins.
But, diverse friends, the classy matte finish of blackboard paint is making a comeback, and more people are having walls of their home painted in this nostalgic and versatile paint.
Firstly this is worth doing simply from an aesthetic perspective. the personal designs, colours and quotes that you can draw and write mean that the world (or the wall) really is your oyster. Adding some pretty little notes to your spouse or loved one to ponder over while chowing down on their Weetabix is a great way to spice up your life. And why not motivate yourself by shoving an Oscar Wilde quote over it each day?
Secondly, its a really useful tool for shopping lists or how much your house-mates owe for rent and bills. It’s a great feeling to come down after a house party and see what’s been added.
You can get removable stickers of blackboard, or frames sections, but I’d say do something with gusto. Live a little and paint the whole wall. You can always paint over it.
Metal Candle holders
Ambient mood lighting is everywhere nowadays. Soft blue LEDs light bathed across your sofa, fake flame light bulbs flickering in the stairway. Well why not take a lesson from the dark ages and use the true original mood light, a candle. This featured wall mount is from La Redoute for around £30, and placed alongside a fancy clock, some photo snaps and a modern print, it adds some class and style to an otherwise plain wall.
What’s more it’ll make your house smell like an aromatherapy showroom. Just remember to blow them out when you’ve both gone up to bed…
Patent office Blueprints
There’s something wonderful about the skill, accuracy and precision of product blueprints, and the option to have these diagrams on your wall is something to really consider.
There’s the obvious, more serious items; engines, pens, cameras, with a level of intricacy that people can’t stop staring at, noticing something new every time. Then, there’s the more frivolous Lego man and space hopper style diagrams that evoke a giggle of nostalgia and irony that’s hard to beat.
It’s a great way of showing your interests too, don’t choose the obvious ones, choose items that you enjoy, are interested in, or even own, to add to the individuality of your walls. I’d say these work brilliantly as a set of three or four, even if they’re spread across a few rooms.
If you studied fashion or history at University, expect people to just assume you did engineering. ‘Did you draw these during your degree?!’ comes up fairly regularly. I wish it were true.