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When artwork by famous masters comes to auction, the prices can be staggering and into the hundreds of millions — well past the budgets of the average homeowner. Yet nothing shows that you have arrived in life quite as impressively as genuine artwork. While the array of framed prints and canvases available at home stores is ever increasing, they’re no replacement for genuine artwork created by an artist and not a machine. This type of artwork adds depth to your living space and helps define your style. Real art does come in affordable options, too, and finding something that reflects your style and taste doesn’t have to be out of reach.

Get personal

One of the greatest treasures of travel is the ability to purchase artwork that is affordable and genuinely hand-painted or hand-crafted. A trip to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, can turn up beautifully painted oil canvasses of saints or stunning landscapes for as little as $25. If you’re traveling, look for items (especially canvases and tapestries) that can be rolled up and packed easily in your luggage. On top of having a hand-crafted piece of artwork, you’ll also have a treasured memento that brings back memories every day.

Buy local

Many local artists are featured in small galleries. Don’t be put off by entering an art gallery, because many in picturesque locations often feature affordable local artists. These artists that you find at shore, coast or mountain towns are simply unrecognized treasures, and because they are, their prices are often more affordable. Some of the more well-known artists often have proteges who teach their style. Picking up a piece of artwork by a protege of a more famous artist can net you a work that is in a similar style but considerably less expensive.

If walking into a gallery is intimidating, try an online gallery such as Ugallery.com or Zatista.com that features a variety of styles and artists. Look to Artspace.com for contemporary pieces. There is also Etsy and eBay, which offer a smorgasbord of artistic offerings.

Create art

Artwork doesn’t have to be a painting, either. Artwork can come in a variety of styles and mediums. It could be an assembly of farming implements over a brick fireplace, or a chandelier created from an arrangement of repurposed items you’ve found around the house. Look at your own history, too, for options that are suitable as artwork.

Think like a museum, which often takes the simplest items and presents them in a way that makes them appear like pieces of artwork. Frame a document or news clipping from a distant relative, add a rod to a Kimono you brought home from a trip to Japan and hang it on a wall, or place an item such as an antique typewriter on a pedestal. It’s an instant conversation piece and a one-of-a-kind item only you have.

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