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Large-scale art is a coveted solution for anchoring a big blank wall, but spaces with XL canvases are more commonly found on inspiration boards than in real-life homes. Why? Large art is expensive. Even at a big-box store like West Elm, you’ll be pressed to find an oversize piece that’s less than $200—and that’s for something mass produced. Forget it if you want a work that’s totally original, right?

Wrong. You’ll simply need to play the role of artist instead. I had a boring white wall above the sofa in my living room and spent months sifting through potential options online, but nothing seemed to fit my style or budget parameters. I wanted to spend about $100 if I could help it, and I envisioned something patterned but still minimalist. Then I got an idea. 

Photography by Amy Bartlam; Styling by Kelly Dawson

I used painter’s tape to map out the exact size I wanted on the wall (40-by-45 inches) and took those measurements to Home Depot, where I asked a pro to custom-cut a panel of plywood accordingly. Later that day, I picked out a sky blue fabric accented with trios of navy stripes (it just so happened to be on sale at Joann Fabrics) and found a thin batting to go between the textile and the plywood. With help from my mom and dad, we laid out the batting, then the fabric, so it was even on all sides of the board, and dusted off a well-worn staple gun to hold everything in place. Within a day, I had personalized, oversize art for just $60. 

In case you need more ideas to mull over, here are five other DIYs to consider if you’re determined to have large-scale art in your home for less. 

Shop Your Linen Closet

Designer Natalie Tredgett’s London home is full of colorful and clever details, but her choice to hang a quilt behind her daughter Zoe’s bed is especially original. “The color combination is very her; she even dresses like that!” says Tredgett. Given that this is a spot that’s often reserved for a headboard-and-artwork combination, choosing a quilt to act as both creates a cozy yet unexpected alternative. If you’d like to emulate the look in your own bedroom, it could be as easy as sifting through your linen closet for contenders. 

Go Your Own Way on Canvas

Even if you only took one drawing class in your life, there’s a good chance you could do something interesting on a large blank canvas if you so please. “What is that phrase? If you can’t make a good painting, make a big painting,” says creative director Jonathon Burford, who uses they/them pronouns. Burford and their husband, Jesse Rudolph, of Ome Dezin showcase their creative eye throughout their L.A. home, but the art in the kitchen is pretty yet comical: It’s a still life of the exact objects found on a shelf directly below it. Do the same with your own collection and see if guests notice. 

Hang a Small Rug or Other Eye-Catching Textile

Nisha Mirani and Brendan Kramer live in a New York City home with quite a few not-so-subtle hints that they own textile brand Sunday/Monday. They have a number of rugs on the floor, of course, but they’ve gone the extra step of hanging them on the walls, too. It’s an ideal solution if you want to enliven a vertical spot with color and texture, or you fell in love with a mat that isn’t the right size for your living space. “If you have a large collection of textiles, you probably can’t put them all out on your floor or your bed, but the wall is a great place to display them,” Mirani says. “The fabric gets to breathe there, too.”

Do a Digital Download

This is another route I’ve taken in my own home to save a few bucks: I buy a digital download in the scale I need and then frame it using a budget-friendly find from the likes of Target, IKEA, or thrift stores. There are countless options available on Etsy, but I also have Jenny Komenda’s Juniper Print Shop bookmarked. 

Frame Whimsical Wallpaper

When interior designer Judith Achumba-Wöllenstein moved from London to a larger home in Brighton with her family, they set about furnishing their dining room with a mix of DIYs, eBay steals, and a singular vintage splurge. When it came to art that could complement her Brutalist table and architectural chairs, she turned to Belarte, a Swedish company offering mural wallpaper. The designer adhered the print to a pair of MDF panels framed with precut moldings.