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For a lot of people, figuring out where to start is the hardest part about buying art. No matter what stage you’re at in your art collection, finding new places to shop for pieces that speak to you — and won’t cost you a small fortune — will always be a win. Whether you’re more the DIY type or just looking for frugal ways to frame, podcaster Becca Freeman‘s oversized art secret source will save you money and transform your space.
Freeman has a perfectly styled 1,000-square -foot apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, thanks to pro designer, Emma Beryl, who she worked with to bring her decorating dreams to life. “When I moved to this apartment, I knew that I didn’t want to waste any time,” Freeman says. “I wanted to decorate from the get-go, but knew I needed a designer to help.”
Beryl’s vision for Freeman’s apartment was to make the space warm and joyful. One area where Freeman already had a strong foundation to work with though was large-scale art, specifically framed photography. Prior to working with Beryl, Freeman had used the website Unsplash, searching the word “beach” to find the large, Gray Malin-esque seascape above her sofa as well as the smaller ocean shot on her shelving unit (right above her television). If you haven’t heard of this site yet and like photography, you are in for a treat.
Unsplash offers over two million high-resolution images submitted by photographers around the world for free — yes, free. It’s a great place to find large format art on the teeniest of budgets, and the process is simple. You find a photo that you like, download it, and then you can upload it on a site like Framebridge to be professional printed and framed or print a high-quality version at your local copy shop and frame it yourself.
The bigger the art, the more pricey it often can get, and that’s why having a site like Unsplash in your decorating bag of tricks is super handy when you want to go bold but are on a budget. Using this site, Freeman has gotten framed art that is three to four feet wide for under $200. “The pieces look so much more expensive than they actually were,” she says.
Looking back on the project, both Freeman and Beryl love how the space turned out. “Some of the existing elements in the space were overly… cold — the brick walls, exposed pipes, and unfinished floors,” Beryl says. “I’m really pleased with the way we were able to incorporate soft finishes and warm colors to make it feel more… cheerful, and balanced.” The large, (almost) free art was the perfect thing to tie the whole space together.