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Where to Buy Cheap Art for an Apartment

By: Sania Tran
March 22, 2019

Moving into a new apartment can be pricey - moving costs, security deposit, pet fees, new furniture, cable and internet all add up. One thing you can easily save on is art. If you aren’t looking for a perfect replica of Monet’s masterpieces, there are a ton of options for you to explore. Check our list of places where you can buy cheap art.

Thrift Stores

If you are looking to buy cheap art, Goodwill, Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity ReStores are a great starting place. They sell paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs and home decor. What’s great about thrift stores is that you never know what you’ll find there. Because their merchandise depends on the donations they receive, you shouldn’t be surprised to see a simple print, high-quality replica and original art piece on the same wall. The  best part about shopping for art at thrift stores? In most cases, net proceeds from your purchases will go towards helping some important social cause. Cheap art - check. Brownie points - check.

Consignment Stores

The difference between a thrift store and consignment store is that money received from your purchase in the latter will be split between the original owner of the art piece and the store. Consignment stores might also be pickier when accepting merchandise for sale since they are for-profit businesses. While you can definitely buy cheap art in consignment stores, it might be more expensive than in your local thrift store.

Flea Markets

Flea markets can be chaotic and overwhelming. But if you are looking for cheap art, you will definitely find it there. Just come early and be prepared to plow through the crowd. The biggest advantage of flea markets is that you can bargain with store owners.

Estate sales

Estate sales take place when people are going through some major life events such as downsizing, bankruptcy, divorce, moving or death. Because people usually try to sell as much as possible as quickly as possible, you can find great art for cheap. And don’t be afraid to bargain! You can find out about estate sales are happening nearby from your local newspapers, Nextdoor ads and a special website dedicated to such events.

Garage sales

A garage or yard sale is different from an estate sale. The former is essentially the sale of unwanted household items run by individuals often from their, you guessed it, garage or yard. You’ll definitely have to treasure hunt at a garage or yard sale, as there is no guarantee that someone has art they want to get rid of. However, one person’s trash can be your treasure, and if you find an art piece you like you can probably get a great bargain.

Art fairs

We are not talking about fancy fairs like Art Basel in Switzerland that gather the entire art world in one place, but rather your smaller local fairs. If you want to buy inexpensive artwork while helping the artistic community in your area, opt for art fairs and open studios. They usually double as a fun weekend activity. Be polite and respectful when bargaining and keep in mind that the person you are talking to put a lot of time and effort into creating the art object you are about to purchase.

Student exhibitions

A good place to buy cheap art is a student exhibition at your local art school where emerging artists showcase their talents. Learn which schools around you have a Master of Fine Arts program. Then find out when they are having exhibitions of artwork created by students.

Urban Outfitters, Target, TJ Maxx, Home Goods and Walmart

You might not be able to brag about your print from Target as much as about a masterpiece snagged at a flea market. However, if you are just trying to brighten up your apartment with some cheap art, it might be a great solution for you.

Online

If you don’t like crowds and would rather look for cheap art from the comfort of your home, check out DeviantArt, Exhibition A, Artspace, Minted and Etsy for affordable art by independent artists and limited edition prints. If you are looking for inexpensive prints of famous masterpieces, be sure to browse around on Arts.com. Another good place for cheap prints is Pop Chart Lab.

Friends and Family

Your mom’s basement and your grandma’s attic can be a great source of free art. No art, no problem! Old photographs of your ancestors could be perfect conversation pieces for your place.

DIY it!

The cheapest and most rewarding option. Making something with your hands will provide you with free or super cheap art and some bragging rights. You don’t even have to buy paint or canvas! You can make amazing art pieces using items you would usually throw in a recycling bin.

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