Skip to content

Frugal and Green Decorating Idea: Frames!


Since my husband has been a student for 7/8ths of our married life now, I have had to learn how to stretch a dime. I’ve actually come to enjoy doing this—trying to find creative and inexpensive ways to provide things for our family that normally wouldn’t fit in our budget. Over the next few Wednesdays, I am going to highlight a few things we’ve done around our house to make it more our style and taste while at the same time not spending much money. I know there are LOTS of other blogs out there in Bloglandia who do this, and probably do it better than me, but I still like it and would like to encourage others out there to be creative. I’ll also link to some of those blogs so you can glean inspiration from them too. :)

Our Decorating Dilemma

When we moved into this house in July after living in Scotland for three years. We had gotten rid of almost everything we owned before we moved over to Scotland and we discovered after we got back to the US that our tastes had changed and the things we kept weren’t really our taste anymore. Oops!

Here is our living room a week or two after we moved in. As you can see, the blank wall above our couch is HUGE. We tried the picture we have sitting on the back of the couch. We even tried that picture with the other one you see in the next picture sitting up against the window. It was too much picture and too tall and narrow for the wall.


Frugal and Green Decorating Idea Number 1


Use frames to make a grouping or collage. All of these frames were picked up at yard sales or were given to me by people. I’d also told my MIL, who is a great yard sale/thrift store shopper, to be on the look out for interesting looking frames. I have less than $15 invested in this arrangement. My husband painted the tree picture for me a long time ago. The tiny red one was a wedding present from a dear friend. I painted all of the black and white frames and we left the gold ones as is. The white ones were painted just with Kilz primer and the black ones were painted with black grill paint. (That’s what I had on hand at the time and I didn’t want to spend money!)  We also tried to use different shapes–oval, circle, square, and rectangle–to add more variety.

As you can (hopefully) see, it fits the space a lot better, it isn’t as “heavy” looking as those other two paintings were because you can see the wall behind it, and its visually interesting. Here is a glimpse of how we decided to arrange everything. (Since I wasn’t doing this blog yet, I didn’t take step by step pictures. Sorry!)

How We Arranged The Frames

First we set all of our frames out and started arranging them on the floor on a white sheet so we could get an idea of how we liked things. The sheet was about the  size of the arrangement that we wanted on the wall. We then took a picture of the arrangement and looked at it on the computer. Sometimes its easier to tell on a photo what looks good and what doesn’t, I’ve found. (I’ve deleted all the other arrangements we did,  I guess, so I wouldn’t get confused about which one we had finally settled on!)


Taking a picture is also useful in case you don’t get all of them hung up at the same time. That way you can go and look at your picture and see where everything needs to be placed.

Next, we measured the space above the couch and where we wanted the frames and put tape at the corners and we also put marks in the exact middle too. Then we hung the four corner frames as anchors.


After we got the four corner frames in, we just filled in from there. Its easy to fill holes in the wall if you make a mistake. If you want to measure everything out, you could do that too. We didn’t and we do have a couple stray nail holes to fill, but those are nicely hidden behind the frames right now. :)

Here is a picture of our whole living room so you can see it in context. Not bad for $15! (The strange oval on the curtain on the back wall is the camera flash reflection from the oval mirror in the frame arrangement.)




A couple of blogs I like to look at for inspiration:

Nesting Place

A Soft Place to Land — This lady used to also host a DIY Day and I like to look back through those links to glean inspiration from those too.


Check out “Transformations and Treasures” every Wednesday over at Pink Postcard!

  1. Mamabellum permalink
    01/19/2011 11:45 am

    I love this Katie! My mom did something similar with different framed mirrors. I might try this for our bedroom–Sean loathes decorating and me spending money on decorating so all our walls are bare. I kept cracking up at all the “we’s” because this is not a project Sean would have been involved in. Goooo Brannan!

    • Kate permalink*
      01/19/2011 11:49 am

      Yes, Brannan is actually very good at decorating and likes it, so we make most decorating decisions together. Its a blessing most of the time, but it doesn’t feel that way all of the time when we can’t agree about something. :)

  2. Nana Phyllis permalink
    01/19/2011 12:14 pm

    Looks great Kate! Love the frames and the frugal way of getting them. Looks like you’re making a beautiful, comfortable home.

  3. 01/19/2011 12:23 pm

    Love it! This turned out great! I can’t wait until I can put holes in my walls again. =)

  4. Laura permalink
    01/19/2011 2:51 pm

    I think Alex and Sean must be two peas in a pod. Katie, I love this! It looks great.

  5. 01/19/2011 3:14 pm

    I agree- well done both of you! I also like the meticulous step-by-step. KCK is on a roll!!

  6. Christa permalink
    01/19/2011 4:22 pm

    Great post, Kate! If you love DIY blogs, check out I read it everyday, haha. But seriously. :)

  7. 01/19/2011 11:45 pm

    It looks really great :-) I’ll be doing some wall hangings and arrangements in the nursery here pretty soon, and this had some good ideas.

  8. 01/22/2011 9:45 pm

    Looks awesome, Kate! Way to go!

  9. 03/13/2011 2:24 pm

    so cute! It looks awesome and fits the room really well.
    Thanks for linking this up!


  1. Green and Frugal Decorating Ideas: Paint It! « Kinda Crunchy Kate
  2. Green and Frugal Decorating Ideas: Cover it with Fabric! « Kinda Crunchy Kate

Comments are closed.