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How to Buy Art for a Gallery Wall

We created a black and white artwork gallery wall in our dining room (see the makeover  and inspiration here.) I’ve had a bunch of questions on how to source and frame art so I wanted to put together a little guide on how to do it without spending a million dollars. (FYI-I did a whole post here on how to hang it all without nails!) For this project I wanted to buy affordable-yet authentic smaller pieces. About a third of it I already owned but most of it I purchased during a 4 month period. I knew I wanted black and white art and I wanted it to feel grown up, not cutesy, and not take itself too seriously. See all the details below:

Gallery Wall | Oh Happy Day Gallery Wall | Oh Happy DayiGallery Wall | Oh Happy Day

Here are my primary sources with direct links below:

1. Flea Market. This is my favorite place to find affordable artwork. Every time I go I buy at least one new piece for my collection. The art is usually between $15-$35 (occasionally I’ll pay more if I really love it) and the best part is it is usually already framed. Not just some boring frame either, usually they are beautiful old frames with character. I have this theory that even cheap prints look way better when they’ve aged 50 years. One time I saw this funny Einstein on a Bike print at the flea market. It was big and thought it would look cool in an office. It’s a common print you can buy off Amazon but when it was in an old frame from the 60’s it looked faded and had an authentic looking patina, and it was $10!

2. Thrift Stores. I don’t like Thrift Stores as much because to really score you have to spend a lot of time looking (like popping in a few times a week.) Spending a lot of time=Major Scores. I still get lucky every once in a while but it isn’t as efficient. When I’m searching the art section I keep an eye out for cool frames too. Sometimes the art is a terrible print but the frame looks great. (It’s easy to get new glass cut and a new mat cut for around $20 at a budget framing store.)

3. Directly from the Artist. If I’m a fan of an artist I usually contact them directly and ask what prints they have available. By cutting out the middle man we get a mutually beneficial deal. I’m obsessed with these photographs from Paris photographer Valerie Dray.

4. Etsy. I have a love hate relationship with Etsy. You have to comb through lots of things you don’t want before you find the gems. They are usually reasonable priced and usually shipped unframed.

5. Edited Online Artist Marketplaces like: Minted, 20×200. These are great because they edit down most of the art for you. They tend to be a little higher priced but there are some really great deals to be found.

6. Make Your Own: When I was looking for Art for this particular project I found an abstract sketch in my son’s room that I really loved and thought it would be nice on the wall. (it’s the oval blob shaped thing on the wall in the white frame.)  He loves that I framed his art and I love that on a wall of  fancy art there is a 4-year-old’s drawing.

Framing |This deserves its own post but I’ll focus on this gallery wall here. For a project like this framing gets expensive quick. Here is what I did:

-I used frames I already owned. A few of them were from college, I switched out the artwork and they worked perfectly.

-Cheap Frames. Most of the frames I bought from Target, Ikea and Aaron Brothers. I like the Target frames, I think Ikea ones have been hit or miss lately. Avoid the Ribba line as all of mine have fallen apart but the other lines are still fine. Aaron Brothers has a few sales throughout the year, I bought several during one of those sales. When I want the frame to be a step up from the budget options I usually use West Elm. The quality is really nice. (If I’m doing really fancy I have them custom framed.)

-Mat Cutter. I would not recommend this option if you aren’t framing a lot of things at once. It requires patience and a bit of perfectionism. It’s a $50 investment and takes FOREVER but we cut all our mats ourselves with this handy little system. Most framing stores will cut a mat for about $10 so it really doesn’t make sense unless you’ve got a lot of art to hang. I bought this 5 years ago and it has more than paid for itself. We buy large pieces of mat board at the art store for $4 and can usually get 3-4 mats out of each one.

-Other ways to frame. Here are a few other posts I’ve done on how to create art and frame it: How to Make Abstract Art, Potato Print Artwork, Painted Words As Art, Make Your Own Picture Frame, & Floating Art Frame.

Gallery Wall | Oh Happy Day

Calculation

Gallery Wall | Oh Happy Day

Desert Diptyck

Gallery Wall | Oh Happy Day

I Wanted to Describe You to Someone

Gallery Wall | Oh Happy Day

You Blow My Mind Away

Gallery Wall | Oh Happy Day

Orange Hour, Ile St. Louis

Gallery Wall | Oh Happy Day

Dance Room

Gallery Wall | Oh Happy Day

Heads Collage

Gallery Wall | Oh Happy Day

Abstract Watercolor Print

Gallery Wall | Oh Happy Day

Beach Umbrella Print

Modern Holiday Decorating

Here’s a little peak at our living room bookcases all decorated for Christmas. When I’m styling my home for the holidays, I like to use things I already have but add in some modern festive touches. For my shelves I added a banner and lots of mini trees to turn the shelves into a little forest.  I like that the decorations aren’t overwhelming and instead are just subtle touches. I love this perfect gold tray to serve treats (or hold cookies for Santa.) I also bought two of these benches that work great as extra seating for a party or in the guest room to hold suitcases when guests come.

Modern Holiday Decorating | Oh Happy Day!Modern Holiday Decorating | Oh Happy Day! Modern Holiday Decorating | Oh Happy Day! Modern Holiday Decorating | Oh Happy Day!

This post is sponsored by Target. Shop Home Décor for modern luxury made easy.

Sources: Gold Tray, Happy Holidays Garland, Tufted Bench, Tinsel Garland

Photography by Karen Cline of Pretty Simple Productions for Oh Happy Day

5 Tips to Organize Your Laundry Room

Laundry is one of the few household tasks I enjoy. Something about removing stains and putting everything where it is supposed to go makes my heart flutter in a way that vacuuming doesn’t do it for me. I’m working with Tide Pods on this post (you can get them at Target.) I’ve recently started using them and I like how easy it is to throw them into the washing machine (they have the detergent, brightener and stain remover in one pod.) We recently gave our laundry room an overhaul (you can see “before” pics here) and I’ve put together a few tips on making a dirty job a little more enjoyable.

1. Everything Should be Beautiful
My sister taught me something years ago that I’ve lived by ever since. It’s this: no matter what you buy (whether it is a trashcan or a lamp) it should be beautiful. I’m always on the hunt to find the most beautiful laundry basket or ironing board. Even the most functional and plain things in our homes should make us happy. I realize its a silly thing but after about a decade of collecting I have a laundry room makes it a pleasant place to be when I’m folding laundry.

2. Repackage and Decant
I keep my laundry products like bleach and laundry detergent in simple labeled and unbranded bottles. Partly because I think it is prettier than loud packaging but also because I think it is easier to use, easier to refill and more accessible in jars. My friends think it’s a little neurotic but I swear it makes me so much happier.

3. Plan for the Piles of Laundry
I’ve realized if I’m honest with myself about my real laundry habits (instead of my aspirational ones) then I can plan for it to be more functional. For example it usually takes me a few days to get around to folding the laundry. So I bought a large industrial laundry basket to hold all the clean clothes while they wait around to get folded. The laundry room still looks organized (and not backed up) even when I’m behind.

4. Save Space
We live in the city and don’t have a lot of space in our laundry room so the first thing we did is take advantage of the stackable feature most laundry machines have. That gave us more room to add a counter to fold clothes on. Also, we don’t have a lot of space to air-dry our clothes so keeping a foldable laundry rack tucked next to the dryer gives us that freedom without a clothesline.

5. Add Art or Wallpaper
Just because it’s the laundry room doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be easy on the eyes. I add art and plants in every room in the house to make it a more enjoyable space to be.

5 Tips to Organizing your Laundry Room 5 Tips to Organizing your Laundry Room5 Tips to Organizing your Laundry Room

Sponsored by Tide

Dining Room Makeover

When we bought our San Francisco flat last year it was my first time ever having a dining room. I immediately started dreaming of the dinner parties I was going to throw that I never could because of the tiny apartments we always lived in. The bedrooms and kitchen took priority but this spring we started working on the dining room. Click through below to see the before and after.  

Dining Room Makeover | Oh Happy Day

Click through for the full story…

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The Great Green Sofa Hunt of 2014

Even before we moved into our house I had been eyeing this green sofa (1) from Room and Board. I hesitated to order it because it was supposed to take over three months (I don’t have the patience for that!) and also it was expensive and there were other more boring things that were begging for my money (paint, electrical, new windows.) I finally went in to order it a few weeks ago and discovered it had been discontinued. (Apparently you can still custom order it but they increased the price $800!) I was mostly annoyed at myself for not paying attention but couldn’t bring myself to pay more for something that was significantly cheaper just a few weeks before.) That little turn of events has ignited the Great Green Sofa Search of 2014. Once I got my heart set on emerald green I couldn’t think of anything else. Here are some of the sofas I’ve been looking at:

GREEN SOFA HUNT

I actually purchased the second sofa (2) last week (long and low cheap mint green sofa!) but after seeing a fabric sample in person discovered that it is more of a blue than a green. I was so sad it wasn’t the right color.

The third sofa is really beautiful (3) but I realized after looking at it for a few minutes that it is literally the exact same sofa we have but in green (they are both made by Crate and Barrel.) No go. I can’t handle having the exact same sofa so I continued my hunt.

The fourth sofa represents my Craigslist search for something vintage. I’ve been looking for a really great vintage sofa with nice lines I can reupholster. (It’s all I do in the evenings these days. ) I’ve run up against two problems there. 1. I haven’t found the right fabric yet. (My designer friends say I need to go to the Design Center to look.) And 2. By the time I spend money on a sofa, fabric, and upholstery it’s getting much more expensive than a new sofa. If I could find a cheap fabric and a great deal on a sofa it is more competitive. I’m still considering this option but waiting for the fabric and sofa to fall into place.

I also considered this IKEA sofa (5). The price is right but something about the legs bothered me and I couldn’t do it.

The last sofa I considered was this Room and Board sofa (6). I liked the lines and the silver legs the only thing is the tufted seat and cushion. Someone told me once to never get a tufted sofa as your “practical ” sofa because it isn’t comfortable. I still haven’t found what I’m looking for but am getting really serious about my hunt. Do you know of any great green sofas? I’m looking for something modern, with personality, clean lines about $2000, and comfortable. Any suggestions? Where are you green sofa??!!!