Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, as we have all spent more time in our houses, the level of interest in home remodelling and interiors has soared. Google searches for wall art spiked throughout 2020, while online marketplace the Affordable Art Fair saw record sales, up 145 per cent compared to 2019.
If your WFH view or Zoom background needs livening up, wall art is the perfect place to start. The search for pieces that complement your living space can seem daunting, but myriad retailers and independent artists are making the quest easier.
We’ve found some of the best independent designers that are creating affordable works to add character to your four walls. We also looked for retailers that are bringing the reprinted works of great artists including Picasso, Matisse and Jean-Michel Basquiat into people’s homes for a fraction of the cost.
Taking into consideration the quality, finish, value for money and distinctiveness of these prints, we’ve featured everything from renowned works of art and photography to graphic posters and typographic designs. So whatever your taste, there’s something for everyone.
Some have the option to come framed and most are available in an array of sizes to suit every wall space and room. If you’re renting and can’t put nails in the wall, we recommend Command strips, which you can find out more about in our gallery wall guide.
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‘Nighthawks’ 1942, by Edward Hopper
This well-known oil on canvas painted by American artist Edward Hopper in 1942 depicts anonymous figures in an eerily lit downtown diner. It has since become synonymous with American Realism. Hopper painted both urban and rural scenes that reflected modern American life – Nighthawks is one of his most enduring pieces, reflecting what the artist saw as “the loneliness of a large city”.
The piece is available from King & McGaw’s vast range, which also includes works by artists Keith Harring, Jackson Pollock and LS Lowry, as well as vintage Vogue magazine covers. Founded in 1982, the retailer sells classic and contemporary art prints that are high quality and impressively affordable. Most of the prints come in a range of sizes and all have the option to arrive in a responsibly sourced and handcrafted frame. We love how King & McGaw is making famous art accessible to all.
‘Seoul’ by Astrid Wilson
Inject some botanical brightness into your living space with this print from Swedish artist Astrid Wilson. Her bold and colourful prints became one of last summer's most coveted buys, seen all over our Instagram feeds. The Seoul piece is just one in a series of intricate “flower market” designs created throughout lockdown last year. Wilson fantasised about cities and places and their colour palettes, from Amsterdam to Lima. About the collection, she said: “Due to the current situation in the world, I dream about new places and nature more than ever.”
Each design comes unframed in a range of sizes – 30x40cm, 50x70cm or 70x100cm – and affordably priced between £29.90 and £49.90. The various styles have different colourways, from green tones to blue and red hues, so you can easily find one that suits your space and colour scheme.
Fan Club ‘Let’s Dance’ David Bowie inspired retro print
One for the audiophiles and David Bowie fans, we love the vintage feel of this print from Fan Club, inspired by the Starman himself. The brand has drawn on an 1980s colour palette to create a design that makes a statement in any room. The print boasts abstract colours and Bowie's recognisable lyrics from the 1983 hit.
Two sisters are behind the independent British brand, which also creates tote bags and T-shirts. All of its works feature motifs, quotes and lyrics from musicians including The Rolling Stones, Patti Smith, Talking Heads and Fleetwood Mac. The prints all come in A3 sizes and are a steal at just £23.
‘Last Light of Day’ by George Greaves
Graphic designers and brothers Raphael and George Greeves draw from classical mythology and architecture for their digitally made designs that feature Greek goddesses, serpents, ancient civilisations and buildings. Minimal yet bold in its colouring, this piece portrays the day’s last beams of sunlight – we put it up by the window for a nice sense of symmetry. Its matte finish with a slightly dimpled texture raises the image off the page, giving it a 3D quality. The brothers also design homeware, including plates, cushion covers and throws. This print comes unframed in an A3 size.
Reign & Hail ‘Küche’
We love the Modern feel of this print from Reign & Hail. Inspired by Swiss mid-century graphic design, it gave our drab kitchen walls just the right amount of edge. The print is crisp and bold, on good-quality paper, and, to save you using Google translate, it reads “kitchen equipment facility”. Reign & Hail create striking prints with an emphasis on typography, mostly in this mid-century style. An affordable and unique option for some culinary-themed decor, the print comes unframed in a range of sizes including A1, A2, A3 and A4, with prices between £17 and £60.
‘Blue Nude II’ 1952, by Matisse
While we may be in lockdown and unable to attend galleries and museums, there are plenty of ways to bring art into your home. Tate has a wide selection of prints available to purchase from previous exhibitions and its collection, from Andy Warhol to David Hockney. This Matisse cut-out immediately gave character to our hallway, with its wide white border framing the image nicely.
Completed in 1952 – two years before the French artist's death – the piece is the second in a series of “Blue Nudes” which saw Matisse, in his own words, “cutting directly into colour”. Tate offers the print in a range of sizes, including 40x30cm, 60x45cm, 80x60cm and 100x75cm. And, from an extra £60, your print can be framed in black, white, gilt or oak.
‘Poolside Gossip’ 1970, by Slim Aarons
If you’re after good-quality photographic prints that don’t cost a bomb, independent galleries are often a good place to look. The Enter Gallery in Brighton sells rare and limited-edition artworks while also showcasing new up-and-coming artists. At the top end of our price bracket you can bring some 20th-century poolside glamour into your home, with this classic image by American society photographer Slim Aarons.
The two fabulous women sat on loungers beside a teal-coloured pool in Palm Springs were captured by Aarons in 1970, and the photograph has since become a symbol of Modernism. This reproduction added the perfect amount of retro decor to our living space. It starts from £100 for a 20x25cm print and, if your purse stretches, is also available in larger sizes.
Gayle Mansfield Designs ‘Magnifique’
For fun, different and playful prints, we love the selection from Brighton-based studio Gayle Mansfield Designs. This typographic poster with its “Magnifique” slogan is a joyful addition to any room and a simple, alternative take on the often cheesy trend for motivational quotes. We chose the mustard, which has a Seventies feel to it, but the print also comes in coral, red, grey and pink.
The husband-and-wife team behind the brand create wall art, planners and seasonal ranges with humour and wordplay at the heart of the works. Great value, this A4-size print comes framed for just £29.99, or you can purchase it unframed in A2, A3, A4, 50x70cm or 61x91cm sizes.
Desieno ‘Line Tulips’ poster
Poster company Desenio offers a vast range of good-quality prints at low prices, with the idea that wall art should be affordable for everyone. From pieces inspired by the natural world to kid-friendly prints, there are hundreds of styles on offer and the website has categories to help narrow down your search. Tapping into the Japandi (Japanese meets Scandi) interiors trend for 2021, this line drawing of two tulips is delicate and simple.
Suitable for any space, it comes in A4, A3 and A2 sizes. For just £9.95 extra, there is the option to frame it in one of the many available styles – we think the light wood frame perfectly compliments this muted print.
Hôtel Magique ‘A Splash of Magique’
Give your walls a splash of retro magic with this print from Hôtel Magique, a brand you’ve probably seen all over your Instagram feed. Founded in 2015 by Amsterdam-based creative Milou Neelen, her designs draw inspiration from vintage Parisian apartments, American motels and Wes Anderson movies to bring a chic hotel vibe to your home.
Neelen brings her signature style to this print, with its bold typography and striking colours leaving you yearning for a holiday. The print comes unframed in A1, A2 and A3 sizes, or you can purchase it framed in the A3 size for £62.14.
‘Le Corail II’ by Marin Vaan Zaal
We were immediately drawn to the pastel hues of this Matisse-inspired print, with its warm tones giving a pop of colour to even the plainest of walls. Part of PSTR Studio’s “artist spotlight” collection, the design is by American artist Marin Vaan Zaal, who draws on mid-century Modernism and Cubism in his work.
All the studio’s posters have crisp matte finishes on high-quality paper, and there are a range of frames available to purchase with your print, including in black, natural white and dark oak styles. Based in The Netherlands, the site also sells old exhibition prints, graphic designs, abstract pieces and vintage museum art, with its collections regularly updated. Do note that you should budget for potential customs fees, now that the Brexit transition period has finished.
The verdict: Art prints under £100
For proving that renowned and good-quality art doesn’t have to blow the bank, we’ve chosen King & McGaw’s Edward Hopper print as our best buy. With the retailer’s vast collections ranging from the classic to the contemporary, you’re bound to find something you love. The frames are excellent quality, the prints are crisp and we love that King & McGaw are making art available to all.
If you’re after something unique from independent artists on the rise, Fan Club is perfect for music fans, Astrid Wilson’s prints immediately brighten a room and Hôtel Magique’s designs are great for giving walls some retro character.
From chic accessories to magnifique mugs and more, here’s everything we want to buy from the Anthropologie x Hôtel Magique homeware collaboration
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