$20 Wall Art / New Dining Room tour

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If I die child-less, I think my biggest accomplishment will be having had a beautiful house.

Back when we bought this home, the Mid-Century Modern trend was still hot (let’s be honest, it always is) and here we had this beautiful MCM home (I never thought we’d have one!). So I thought, we have to furnish it correctly. I wanted it to be bold and colorful! And I wanted an Eames chair and a George Nelson clock! Atomic! Kitsch! You can see the direction we were headed with this initial living room showcase I did back when I started the blog.
I was thinking that every room would have its own color motif. The kitchen was to be green (which I have scaled back over time), and the living room was going to be teal, yellow an orange. Fine MCM color schemes. Try as I might though, I didn’t feel the colorful, quasi-kitschiness in my bones. I couldn’t commit my house to a style that my heart wasn’t in. There are still some remnants of that old style (the rug in the living room, for example) but overall, we’ve remained neutral.

I didn’t reject Mid-Century Modern though, which I’m happy about. When I first latched onto it about 6ish years ago, I thought it looked great, but also didn’t dream I’d ever have a Mid Century House with Mid Century furnishings. It’s really a big commitment, considering the prices on some key furniture pieces. We’ve managed, however, through IKEA, craigslist and luck. Take the above: Our dining room (and partial kitchen). Finding the right credenza was a hard-fought battle, but we ended up with something affordable and incredibly stylish (and unexpected). The Danish Modern dining set was a CL score that Alan found for *$300!*. The beautiful ceiling light came with the house!  And I never dreamed that Alan, who, when we met, liked dark colored walls and overstuffed furniture, would be the one hunting for MCM dining sets, or saying we should buy the credenza. I can see how this style of decorating could be off-putting for some. There’s no actual color to be found anywhere in this picture.  But he really came around and we see every new stylistic touch in the house as a major success.

I digress. While I would love to show off our dining room (again), this is more about a crafty project we did over the weekend, that’s so easy you’d be crazy not to at least try it out.

$20 WALL ART DIY
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Here’s the dining room just on Saturday (and the cat! Her tongue!). I had a few cheaply framed pieces of art (a drawing an Icelandic Redditor sent me a few years ago, and a picture I took Up North last summer), and had plans to have more of a gallery wall, but last weekend I mentioned that I’d just learned about Engineer Prints to Alan, and we thought about where we could put a giant photo in the house, and this seemed like the best place.

Engineer prints are really more for like, blueprints and stuff, but if you’re savvy, you can print a massive photograph you took yourself for about $5. Find an office supply store that also does printing (In my case, Staples does good work) and order online to pick up in-store. Make your photo the right size (mine is 3×4′) and convert to grayscale dot pattern. That’s all you need to do. (You can print anything at any size if it’s dot pattern. Protip).
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I used a photo I took last summer at the cabin  ‘cuz trees are nice.
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To make this as cheap as possible, we’re using the same un-framing technique I mentioned in my post about my office.  The binder clips are a little inelegant and not necessarily in a charming way. We may screw the wood together in the future and hang it by a string, which would be inelegant in a charming way.
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Seriously, $300 for this whole thing.
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My Iceland Reddit drawing got displaced, so I took down the Keep Calm poster (which looked shabby anyway, despite how much I love it). It really brings that area together! (Also, note our charming new radio which is this brand . It’s very stylish and has a surprisingly powerful speaker. A budget version for the Tivoli admirers). The wooden frame holding the Keep Calm poster then became host to our Art Crank poster on the other side of the room:
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*Carefully framed picture to include The Smiths vinyl*
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I’m sharing this with you lovely people, even though it’s a nifty secret, because I saw PhotoJojo trying to sell these things for $25.  And it takes a WEEK to get to you. Pay a little extra at Staples and pick it up the same day. Boom. You’re welcome. 

About the Author

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Hi! I'm a graphic designer, photographer and female person. I live in Minneapolis with my husband Alan and our baby son Alexander and baby cat Arya.

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