Decorating on a Budget? Use Old Prints

Decorating on a Budget? Use Old Prints

Redecorating doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You don’t have to buy new furniture or even repaint. It’s possible to change the ambience of a room simply by changing the art on the walls.

Transforming the mood of a room with art doesn’t require a trip to a Sotheby’s auction or even buying original artwork. Old prints, such as those from magazines and newspapers from the Victorian era, can transport you to a different age and allow your imagination to take flight.

Say that you want to redecorate your sunroom using old prints. You could go with a botanical theme, and surround yourself with antique prints of botanical gardens. For example, you could take an illustration of the Palm House Royal Botanical Gardens from an 1852 issue of “The Illustrated London News” and pair it with a 1902 old print of the Coronation Bazaar Botanical Gardens from “The Graphic.” Or, you could opt for botanical prints from James Sowerby, which are hand colored. A wonderful and inexpensive way to use botanical prints in budget decorating is to create a triptych (a set of three) of Sowerby’s detailed drawings that are matted and framed.

If you prefer subject matter other than botanical prints, there are a variety of themes available in old antique Victorian prints. Birds, animals, theatre, and even war themes were all common in prints from the 1800s. The detail and beautiful colors in old prints add a richness and depth to any room.

Again, keep in mind that using old prints in decorating doesn’t necessarily mean that the entire room needs to reflect Victorian taste or style. In fact, the contrast between old prints and more modern decorating touches will make the room more interesting. For example, if you’re a theatre buff and are decorating the room that contains your entertainment center, prints depicting actors from the Lyceum Theater in London or even theatre reviews from newspapers and magazines from that era would provide a striking contrast to your flat screen, HDTV.

However, if you do want a Victorian-era room and are decorating on a budget, you can use paint and stencils to bring your theme to life on your walls, and can inexpensively re-cover throw pillows. Consider using an old shawl to put over the back of a couch or lace to cover an end table. Instead of changing the lighting in the room, simply change the lampshades to reflect a more Victorian feel. See if you can talk your grandmother into lending you her ornate candlestick holders, and then find old prints of Victorian social life to adorn your walls.

Ultimately, decorating on a budget is about coming up with imaginative ways to bring a fresh look to your home. By using old prints from another era, you can build a bridge from the past and present while adding a layer of interest and intrigue to your room’s decor.

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