Welcome to the my blog. My name is Lucy Farfort i'm a freelance illustrator & designer maker. This is where you can find out what i've been up to of late, read my attempts at a decent post & the rantings of a visual addict. Hope you like it. You can contact me to say 'hi' by email on lucy@lucyshappyplace.com
If you would like to take a look at my work (& i would very much like you to) please visit my site:

Monday, 29 July 2013

Budget Home Improvement

Before continuing the marathon of wedding blog posts…just kidding, will keep them to a minimum I promise, i’m going to share with you a home improvement project kindly funded by the folks at MoneySupermarket.com.
I got word that they were running a competition: £50 to do a budget home improvement & then blog about the project. Yeah pretty ace huh?!  Well I couldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, especially seeing as that pony doesn’t come round visiting too often, so I took up the challenge.

For a long while i’ve wanted to create an art wall in our living room using a salon-style hanging. If you’re not familiar with this it is basically a way of displaying several differently sized framed pictures on a wall in a more unconventional fashion to create an eye catching feature. Here is an example of a fab one I found on Pinterest:


This seemed like the ideal opportunity to do this, so here’s my ‘£50 salon-style feature wall, home improvement tutorial’-

1. First off you need some art... actually no scrap that! First off you need a wall which needs pimping. Here's mine:

Think you'll agree this definitely needs improving.

2. Now for the art, photos or other imagery for your wall. I would suggest no less than 6 hangings in the feature. Now obviously £50 isn’t going to get you a couple of Picasso’s, the latest Saatchi artist’s work or most likely even a single artwork from your local gallery. Therefore what goes in the frames has to be cheap or better still free. There are many ways you can do this:

a. If you like getting creative then its easy, make some art;  an abstract painting; a simple print that can easily be created at home such as a stencil or lino cut; a pencil drawing; or a simple typographical artwork made on your computer & home printer; a uber cool collage from old magazines/books/annuals…the list goes on. Basically its easy to create cheap and good looking art if you have at least 1 creative bone in your body and most people do.
b. You may already have some art or photos etc (possibly already framed) which could go into the hanging.

c. Alternatively from the £50 put aside a small budget of £20, then go hunting for some low cost art. You might be pleasantly surprised & find a charity shop harbouring a dusty but lovely painting for £4 , or a car boot sale might reveal something equally awesome. Try visiting a local craft market and see if there is anything you like in your budget; perhaps an artist is selling some great postcards with their work on - these could look great in a frame, particularly with a picture mount border.

3. Time for the frames! This is what most of your £50 budget will need to go on and it is indeed pretty much where all of mine went, seeing as I already had the art.
If you’ve already spent £20 of it on artwork then you’ll only have £30 left. Yes…it may not seem like a lot, but there are plenty of places to get cheap frames particularly as they don’t all have to be the same size or type. It just requires a little time to hunt for them. Try:
a. Charity shops - an excellent source for cheap, and often good quality and unusual frames!

b. Car boot sales/flea markets/jumble sales.

c. Shops like Ikea and Wilkinsons do frames at very low cost.

d. Maybe you already have a couple of frames lying around the house that you can use, or perhaps your folks might have one spare.

Keep in mind the size of work when looking for frames but don't worry much as photo mounts (which often come in the frames if buying them from Wilkos) will create a border for your image, so mostly the work won’t need to be a perfect fit for the frame. You can buy picture mounts cheaply on ebay. My frames have come from the following places Ikea, Wilkinsons, a charity shop, a low cost but quality local framing warehouse which I’m lucky to have not too far away from me (Factory Framing Centre) and I already had a lovely framed piece of art as a wedding present which went in the mix.

4. Once you’ve framed your images find a space on the floor big enough to lay your frames out and play around with the display. It’s important to bear in mind which frames work better alongside each other the shape of the wall and of course the size. Once you’ve decided on your format for the display, grab a camera and take a quick snap of the layout on the floor. This will be used as reference later.


Next create templates by placing each frame on some sheets of old newspaper (or other suitably sized paper you have spare), drawing around them & cutting them out. I would suggest marking on each paper template piece the name of the corresponding pic i.e. this piece relates to the framed fox artwork:

Ok now for the tricky bit. For this you’ll need a spirit level (which I’m afraid I didn’t budget for as I already had one) to ensure all your frames are level.
Take your templates and with blue tac begin organising them on the wall using your photo reference and the level to ensure they’re in the correct position and straight.


7. Like me you’ll probably find each of your frames have a different kind of hook i.e. D rings or mirror plates etc. Depending on the style of hook this will effect the positioning of your frames on the wall e.g. if you’re hanging with string/picture wire you’ll need to consider the stretch of the wire as to where the frame sits. Sounds a bit complicated doesn’t it?
Actually its not too difficult as long as you measure exactly where the nail needs to go in the wall. For example if it’s a deep frame and you can hang it from a single nail: simply measure the distance from the top of frame to where the nail needs to be and the centre point between left & right side. Then on that frame’s paper counterpart tacked to the wall, mark the point where the nail should go using your measurements and hammer away!

You can hammer the nail straight through the paper template & remove them afterwards. It’s a good idea before removing the templates to test out each frame as you go, against its paper counterpart and make sure it sits right.

9. Once you know each frame sits in the correct position, take down the paper pieces and put up all your pictures making sure they’re nice and level. Et voila! An eye catching feature to transform what was once a sad bare wall -

Hope you like it!
Oh and just before i go, just want to point out that it probably seems pretty narcissistic creating a an art wall only from my art, but this is temporary and once i have some more spare cash i intend to replace some of it with work from other artists whose work i admire. This is a bit too much like having a wall of images of my own face - Aahhh!!


  1. It looks great! I am planning to do something similar, I have a few cards from artists I like but I can't afford to buy originals yet so I can frame them and use them for such project.

  2. Thanks Teodora :)
    Yes doing it by using cards is a great way to get artwork you like for less money. I have a huge list of artists work i want to buy on Etsy but can't afford it yet - that art wall will grow ha ha. Good luck with your project!

  3. Its great to use your ideas for home improvement....

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  4. I love it, I want one of these in my house! I've started one but its not nearly as good!


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