Four Secrets to Fill Your Home With Beautiful Art on a Budget

I still remember the first time I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art with my friend from college — his name was George. At first, George and I were chatting with each other, sharing our thoughts on each exhibit. But the deeper we got into the museum, the more quiet we became. The art we encountered entranced us, pulling us deeper into our thoughts. We would silently circle through each exhibit, taking it in deeply and then without any words, we would find each other before moving on to the next room.


Art holds an amazing, unspoken magic that draws you deeper into your inner world. When you hang art in your home, it’s not just a decoration — it has the power to cause people to pause, to dream, to reminisce, or to wonder.

Original artwork is usually expensive to procure, but even a framed print can take a chunk out of your wallet. I firmly believe that something you truly love is worth the splurge, but there are also plenty of ways to fill your home with beautiful art at an affordable price. Here are four tricks I’ve used for my own apartment!

1. Purchase your frames or artwork secondhand.

Frames can be so expensive when you buy them all full price. If you have the patience to look for them, you can find equally beautiful frames for a fraction of the cost. Most of the frames in my home were bought at secondhand stores or at yard sales.

I’ve also managed to score a small collection of gorgeous oil paintings by shopping secondhand. The trick is to shop often – pieces like these tend to go fast once they make it to the thrift store. I once saw an oil painting in a thrift store and decided to think about it for a few minutes – it was gone by the time I got back.

[SHOP ETSY: Robert Cox Floral Still Life →]

Getting a beautiful piece for a low cost is thrilling, but don’t let the price you pay fool you into seeing your art as less valuable than it is. Grabbing a beautiful oil painting at a low cost is a steal. You’re getting an original work of art that has someone’s creativity, passion, and time put into it. The price you’re paying doesn’t even come close to the actual worth of the item you’re buying. This always reminds me that even when I purchase something for a low cost, I need to appreciate that it’s value is actually much higher.

2. Frame a pretty fabric.

I fell in love with the floral pattern on this fabric remnant that I purchased from Joanne Fabrics, so I put it on display by framing it.

If you try this, consider removing the glass from the frame. This displays your pattern glare-free and allows the texture of the fabric to stand out!

3. Frame a favorite piece of jewelry.

I liked this jeweled statement necklace so much that I had been draping over my doorknob so that I could always look at it. I decided to go all out and create the perfect framed backdrop for this gorgeous piece.

The frame was a $1 yard sale find – it had no glass or back, just an empty frame. I loved the green textured fabric that gave this frame a unique look. I purchased sheets of cork board from Walmart and cut them to size with a razor blade. Then, I used hot glue to wrap this bright pink fabric around the board. I inserted the finished piece into the frame and added two pretty pushpins. Voila! The perfect necklace display.

Keep in mind: If you use this jewelry often, don’t pin the necklace directly to the board – just rest it over the pins. You don’t want to be pulling them pushpins out too often because eventually, you’ll start to see the holes in the fabric.

4. Hang plates or trays as artwork

I love beautiful vintage plates, and it’s so easy to grab them for a few dollars apiece at a thrift store. I compiled a collection of plates that coordinate without matching.

I have a vision of using this adorable mismatched plates setup for a house party someday. I have them displayed on chair rails in my living room.

Beautiful trays are another easy artwork option. Grab one in a pattern that you love and hang it alone, or mix it into a vignette.

These are lightweight enough that you can display them using Command Strips. Later if you decide to restore them to their original purpose, just remove the strips!

Which of these artwork ideas is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

Things I Didn’t Know About Motherhood

Motherhood is an experience that is both challenging and rewarding. Despite having many friends who became mothers before me, and despite listening to them tell me about their experiences, there was absolutely nothing that could have prepared me for the reality of motherhood. There were parts that were way more difficult than I anticipated, but there are also parts that are so much better than I could ever have imagined.

I’ve only been a mother to baby Alexa for just under two short months, but in this brief time period I’ve experienced so many highs and lows. Here are some of the challenges I’ve encountered in this journey so far!

Postpartum recovery can be lengthy and difficult.

I knew going into my pregnancy that there would be a recovery process after giving birth, but I didn’t realize how challenging that would be. After giving birth, the bleeding can last for several weeks, and everything hurts down there. It’s difficult to move around. Specifically, if I was seated and holding the baby, I had to ask someone to take her so that I could stand up. I couldn’t stand up and hold the baby at the same time.

Trying to keep up with things while I was recovering was incredibly difficult and overwhelming. The first night I came home from the hospital I started crying hysterically. I was sore, exhausted from the lack of sleep in the hospital, and I felt like my husband, Juan, was doing a much better job than I was of taking care of the baby. Fortunately, I had some great friends and family members that came over during this time to help clean, bring food, and hold the baby. I have no idea how I would have gotten through this without Juan’s paternity leave – and I have a newfound admiration for single mothers, because this was challenging, even with all the help.

Once I had fully recovered, taking care of things got a lot easier and I began to find my groove. Parenting still has its difficult moments, but it’s much easier now that my body has healed.

Taking care of a baby is incredible, but it can also be isolating.

During my maternity leave, I got to experience what it would be like to be a stay-at-home mother. Juan’s paternity leave was shorter than my leave, so I had about three weeks of taking care of Alexa on my own during the day. I had some absolutely incredible moments, but I can definitely see that taking care of a baby is isolating. It’s easy to get sucked into the baby vortex and fail to spend time with family and friends. It’s easy to get stuck in the house all day, as taking the baby with you can turn even a simple outing into an event.

I definitely recommend scheduling visits with friends and family and taking your baby out of the house, even if it’s challenging. Being able to spend time with others and go places is an important part of self-care. Don’t neglect your self-care just because of the baby. And make sure that you take some time away from your child to do some of the things you used to do for yourself. For me, that means leaving Alexa with my husband on Saturday for a few hours so I can go thrifting and grocery shopping on my own. It also looks like taking the time to write and journal in the morning before she has woken up for the day.

Breastfeeding can be incredibly hard.

In the hospital, I had a difficult time getting Alexa to latch. The nurses had me waking her up for feedings, and she was so tired that she had no interest in eating. She latched exactly two times, and both of those were times when the lactation consulting helped her do it. I wasn’t able to get her to latch myself, which led me to decide that I wanted to pump and feed her through a bottle.

I was advised to pump every three hours around the clock. This alone proved to be a difficult struggle – who wants to sit there with a breast pump all day, especially when no milk is coming out yet?

At the pediatrician’s office, I started crying when he asked me how I planned to feed her. We talked and it became clear that I didn’t really want to give up breastfeeding just yet. Since Alexa was over 9 pounds, he told me to take her home and for the next two days offer her nothing but breastmilk, even if she cried and refused to eat. We would check in two days later to see how she did.

Fast forward to later that night – Alexa is crying uncontrollably and refusing to breastfeed. I’m falling apart because I feel guilty letting her starve. Juan wanted to cave in and give her formula. Finally, my mom came over to help and with the aid of a nipple shield, we finally got her to latch.

Once she latched, there were still many challenges. The first challenge is cluster feeding. She tends to sleep pretty well at night, but that means that during the day she is making up for it with extra feedings. She can feed for 45 minutes and then half an hour later she’ll be ready to feed again. Making this even more challenging is her love of using me as her pacifier – she loves to comfort feed, and she could do this for hours on end. All of this leaves me feeling like a human milk machine.

Since I’m planning to go back to work, I had to figure out how to pump as well. To make pumping less of a hassle, I invested in a hands-free portable pump, which was a game changer. I hated pumping, but with this pump I am able to get some chores done at the same time. The only challenge is that I’m supposed to pump after each feed, but Alexa is often awake and requiring attention. The one thing I can’t do while pumping is hold my baby, so right now my pumping is a bit sporadic. When I return to work and she is in daycare, I’ll be able to adhere to a consistent pumping schedule.

I’ve grown to love breastfeeding her – especially since I learned to how to feed her while lying down in bed. I often will lie down in bed the afternoon with a tv show on and allow her to comfort feed a bit, which helps her fall asleep for a late afternoon nap. This has become one of my favorite parts of the day.

Leaving your child at daycare is super emotional

As of this writing, I have one week of maternity leave left. I am dreading having to drop off baby Alexa at daycare next week. We really love the daycare we selected, but I still feel the dread. I’m going to miss the long hours spent with her during the day, and I don’t want to pass her off to someone else who will get to enjoy her while I’m at work all day. Before giving birth, I didn’t think this was going to be difficult for me to do — I thought I might enjoy the break. But now that I’ve met my child, I have no idea how I’m going to be able to be apart from her during the week. Since I work from home, my plan is to prepare dinner during my lunch break so that I have the entire evening to savor my time with her.

Your Motherhood Journey

What are some of the challenges you have faced in your journey with motherhood? Do you identify with any of the ones I shared? Let me know in the comments!

On Weight Gain and Body Acceptance

Over the past few years, I’ve put on a lot of weight. It actually started with a medication that I had to take for bipolar disorder. One of the side effects was that I put on a few pounds. But it wasn’t until recently, when I got pregnant with my first child, that the weight really started to pile on. During my pregnancy, I was a bit overwhelmed at the rate at which I was gaining weight, and it was hard to prevent it from happening. I was constantly hungry, and as my pregnancy progressed, I replaced going to the gym with more leisurely walks because I was constantly winded and tired from my workouts.