Shop With Me: Frames

>> 5.05.2010

I love a good gallery wall.
Using a picture ledge to display a collection of art is perfect for an indecisive and thrifty person like me.

It takes a little work to get one of these suckers started if you're going the thrifty route... I mean, can you imagine how much the wall above would have cost if everything was purchased at full price. Even at IKEA's cheap prices, you're looking at $500+ to pull off that look.

What to get the most of your money while shopping for frames?
Here's what I look for when deciding to buy a frame:

1. Matting and glass: This is so important! Frames can be painted and art can be swapped out in seconds, but it's a pain to replace the mat and glass. When I find a frame that's missing one of these things, I usually walk away.
As soon as I saw the gold framed prints at a warehouse sale, I knew the matting and size was perfect for Nate's photography. That, and the super cheap price tag sold me right away. ($5 for pair @ warehouse sale)

2. Size: Yes, Goodwill has some amazingly cheap options, but how many 5 x 7 pictures do you really need to frame? Remember, larger frames mean less wall space to fill.

This print called to me from across a thrift store... it didn't have to do much calling though, it is giant! ($100 @ thrift store)

3. Art: If the frame comes with a nice print, it's worth a little extra.

Both of these nature inspired prints work perfectly in our home without any alterations. For this, I was willing to pay a bit more. (L: $20 @IKEA as-is section; R: $2.50 @ garage sale)

4. Flexibility: I try to buy multiples when I find frames that will work well in my home. Maybe they won't work for the gallery wall, but a nice pair of prints can fit just about anywhere.
($10 @ IKEA as-is)

5. Cost: Duh! I decide how much I'll pay based on the above... For instance, the large elephant print had #1-3 down and I knew it would be perfect to fill large, empty walls instantly. For that, I paid $100. When I found the gold framed orange prints at a warehouse sale, I knew that the size, matting, and flexibility were perfect, but I would be replacing the art and painting the frame. In that case, I was happy to pay $5ish for the pair.
While we're talking frames and art, I have to gush about my new favorite find: this amazing botanical print from a hotel warehouse sale (see dog head for size comparison).

Can you believe that it was only $40 (after some negotiation)?!

How do you shop for frames? What do you think are the best sources for thrifty art?

PS I'm linking up with my favorite blog party over at The Thrifty Home:

I hope to see you there!


Mrs. Chic May 5, 2010 at 10:48 AM  

Great post! I love gallery walls. I do a mix and mash of thrift store shopping for frames and looking for ones already matted knowing I can paint the frame or matte of needed. I'll also buy frames from Ikea the large ones and buy frames at Micheals with a coupon, I also like walmart for frames!! They are cheap and just need a cheap matte.

Kim at Yellow Brick Home May 5, 2010 at 11:57 AM  

Almost every frame in our home has a mat that was purchased from Their prices are so low it sometimes scares me, even when compared to 50% off coupons at the custom framing stores!

Ann @ makethebestofthings May 5, 2010 at 12:17 PM  

Very good tips. I am a bit of a frame junkie (that, plus mirrors) and I never pass up a good frame if the price is right. Love your selection of prints and frames.

oneluckycouple May 5, 2010 at 12:50 PM  

We're in the middle of putting together a wall gallery (photos are on our blog). The one thing I wanted was for all the frames to be the same style but in different sizes. The ones we bought are white frames with white mats, but in all different sizes. Overlapping the frames helps add depth to the gallery too! (And Kasey, don't forget to enter our giveaway! :))

hiphousegirl May 5, 2010 at 1:06 PM  

Good tips. All the frames I have (none of which are currently on my walls, but that's for another day) have been collected over time from thrift stores, people moving, and occasionally an actual purchase. It makes me happy to see that the "collected over time" look is in right now.

RJ @ A Life Designed May 5, 2010 at 3:31 PM  

Great score on the botanical print & frame!

Most of my major pieces are already framed, but recently I've returned to my love of the clip frame... I actually like that there is no frame involved, just glass and a few silver bits. Plus they're always priced right!

charmaine May 5, 2010 at 3:53 PM  

NIce post! I've scored a lot of nice frames and mirrors from thrift stores. But I've also purchased some from Ikea and target. I am a big fan of original art so I usually look for works of up and coming artists(original and cheap(er)! I also love unique vintage art finds!

Alison@This Wasn't In The Plan May 8, 2010 at 8:19 AM  

Good tips! I'll admit that I normally just buy frames as needed, so I don't always get them at a great price. Sometimes, though, I will "shop" my existing collection of frames that aren't currently up on the wall and find one that fits the bill.

Inspire Me Heather April 7, 2011 at 6:09 AM  

This is a great post for sure! I linked it to my gallery walls project post too - well done!

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