Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I co-host the Your Home Story podcast and believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!
Mom to Otto born April 2018 and Lucy born August 2020!

Get the look: Vintage oil paintings with custom framing. FREE downloads!

I've decided our home needs more art. More art I love. For a while now I've had the goal of only bringing in art that was personal/important to us, but that means sometimes I just don't get anything if I can't find something I like with a personal connection.

I've been wishing for vintage oil paintings like I so often see people finding at thrift and antique stores!, or better, getting passed down from family members. But I have never found any good art at the thrift stores near me. I'm about ready to give up on the perfect secondhand thing.

So I made my own--I found a great source for free downloads of antique oil paintings, and a great affordable way to get them framed for you in antique-look frames!

Thanks to ArtToFrames for providing these frames for this post! Get 15% off your order with code SUZ15 through November 20!

It's crazy how much you can do with high quality downloads for art prints these days... they are everywhere! You can buy them on Etsy or find them for free on some websites. (I've talked before about how I love the selection of photos available on Unsplash (you can see my faves here).) Well, I found something similar for all kinds of images: Pixabay.

I did some searches on Pixabay for oil paintings like I wanted... "ocean oil painting," "ship oil painting," "landscape oil painting," etc... there are tons!! I was looking for something horizontal and generally blue on top, green or brown on the bottom. There are a bunch of other cool ones on there in vertical or with more people in them. Here are some faves I considered for this series of paintings. (Here's a good reminder image to pin for later!)
Sources: 123456

Big tips on how to get new art that looks like a vintage painting:

  • Go matless. Oil paintings don't usually have mats or glass. 
  • Anti-glare glass. ArtToFrames has anti-glare glass that I chose for these, too. It's not too much more cost for this size and it makes the pieces look more matte like a painting, rather than like a framed photo.
  • Small size. Most of the vintage oil paintings floating around aren't 24x36 like a photo you might blow up. Usually I say go bigger when choosing home decor accents (more style/presence with less stuff!), but this is the exception. I chose two differently sized small pieces (images 12-16" wide, larger with the frames of course) and paired them to create a bigger presence but more authentic look.

For the frame and art combo, I looked to some inspirations... you can order some beautiful antique-look pieces from McGee & Co and I scrolled through their oil painting-look options. No mats on most, gold frames on a lot, ornate but not too old-fashioned. I also looked through my Pinboards for rooms with vintage art, and what they had in common.

ArtToFrames has quite a few gold picture frames, and antique-look picture frames. I played around with several, with the art choices I was thinking about. These are screen shots from the custom framing tool on their website. It's really easy to play around with combinations... just upload a photo to their custom framing tool, remove the mat, and change the size and frame!

I love that gold beaded one!! But I ended up just loving the pieces I chose with the gold step frame (top) and gold with burgundy panel frame (bottom). Oh, and for the art, from Pixabay, I chose this piece (top) and this beachy/windmill piece (bottom).

I hung them in a corner of our living room that has received basically no attention. (You can see I need to deal with the cords going to the TV--don't worry, that's one of the next projects on the list!) Styled with a fern and Windsor dining chair, it's already so much cuter than it has been for months.

What an improvement from when there was nothing there! Now I'm inspired... I have several more sad, blank walls to fill!

Thanks again to ArtToFrames for providing these frames for this post! Get 15% off your order with code SUZ15 through November 20!

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