A Style Statement

by Lisa Ancarrow

Decorating on the cheap can look as elegant as if you've spent much more, if you train your eyes to look at certain objects differently.

Consider the wall space in your home as a palette; don't rush out to buy a print that you're not that thrilled with just to fill a space on your wall. One very simple idea is inexpensive vintage postcards. Visit a local antique shop (ignore the high-priced stuff all around you) and head to the space that carries ephemera (paper collectibles). Chances are, you will find - for only a buck or so - postcards celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays.

The art on these can be breathtaking: prettily illustrated flowers with sweet sentiments, cherubic children, or baskets trimmed in lace. You will be sure to find several with similar colors or designs that when grouped together make for the beginnings of a collection that can look great hung on a wall.

Because of their size, most postcards fit very neatly behind 5" x 7" pre-cut mattes that can be found for about $2 or so in craft stores. Find a matte that brings out a particular color in the illustration. For frames, many craft stores carry simple wooden 5" x 7" frames for a couple of dollars, with glass. (I have found them in dollar stores as well). If the wood color doesn't suit you, they can be very easily spray-painted with gold spray paint, which is a particularly pretty color contrast for many flowered vintage postcards.

Postcards framed like this are well-suited for bathrooms or bedrooms. They fit nicely into smaller wall space areas, especially when grouped one above the other. For some reason, three grouped together always seems nicer than just two.

The same idea can be done with other ephemera items. If you have a child or spouse that likes vintage cars or boats, old National Geographic magazines often carry ads for these. These magazines are often plentiful at yard sales and flea markets, or even at those same antique shops. Look for those dated from the mid-1960's and before; they are the ones with the best ads. Grouping several old car ads can look great on a clubroom or bedroom wall. Don't forget to look at the back covers of those old National Geographics - sometimes there will be old Coca-Cola ads that will look great framed and hung in a kitchen.

Study magazines, especially those before the 1960's, and you might find a whole world of paper to hang on your walls that can reveal your personality, and of course, your impeccable Dollar Stretcher taste!

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