Inexpensive Wall Art

I finally came up with a solution for this wall in our bedroom.

Back in February when I showed off our bedroom, I really only showed one wall.  The finished wall.

What you didn’t see was this wall.  And yes, I like that huge sunburst mirror too.

But two competing suns in one room make me feel like I’m filming the next Star Wars.  We never intended to have them both in one room, I just happened to get a really good deal on both of them and loved them so, we lived with them both for awhile to see which one we liked the best. The big sun ended up in our bathroom. Although, I admit, now that I see the photos again, I kind of like the big sun better and want to find something else for above the bed.  But that’s a different blog post.  And chances are it will turn out to be a blog post soon, the more I look at these photos.

Anyhow, as you can see, the other walls are blank. And I’m not one for going out and buying just anything for our walls.  I’m picky.  I like a challenge, I like dimension and collections and things that don’t cost much money. And I insist on being different.

When I saw this photo in the Coastal Living Style Guide, I knew I had found my solution.  But, I also knew that I’m too cheap to go out and buy a bunch of matching white wall shelves, fancy brackets, I-know-these-things-have-a-name-and-I-cannot-think-of-it.

I already had three wall shelf things in my little stash.  So I spray painted the non white ones white.

I ordered a few from One Kings Lane because I liked the big dimensions.  Spray painted those babies right up.  And ideally, I assumed I would leave room to add to my collection over time.

But, once I started putting them up

I realized that they couldn’t be too close if I wanted to display something on them.  I still don’t know if I want to display something but, I figured I should leave room just in case.

Because they sure are pretty with some sea life on them.

Pretty, but, I kind of like them plain.  I even tried a starfish on each one but it looked like a starfish freeze modeling convention.  Plus I kind of like the idea of using the shelves themselves as art since they are all so different.

Ohhh, pretty.  Also, if they are empty, there is room for even more shelves.

The best thing about these shelves is that you can find them for just a few dollars each.  I see them all the time at thrift stores.

I stopped at three or four yard sales in my neighborhood and found three more shelves and I paid $2 total.  My favorite part is the differences in size and shape and design. My least favorite part is that most of them need two nail holes to hang.  Drat, I hate making two holes, it really ups the chances that I’ll make one hole in the wrong place and then suddenly have 8 holes for each shelf.

So here’s the room so far with the fish eye lens so we can see both walls together.  Hmmm, I like them but, I’m thinking I want to expand my shelf collection and have room to grow so I may end up moving them in the future. But, the moral of this story is that wall shelves can be found for cheap, painted the same color, and end up making a statement all by themselves when grouped together.  And the second moral is that just about anything can be collected, painted the same color and grouped together to create a cohesive looking display.

To be continued…


  1. I love this idea!

  2. I have got to tell you that those sconces are screaming for some antique yellow paged all different sizes open books to me – that was the first thing I thought of! Just an open book to your favorite passage on an easel… or maybe a book with water color pictures inside open to your fav one…

    love how they look – just a fun seasonal idea!

  3. This is a really good idea….filing away!

  4. I wanted to say THANK you the great giveaway day!! I was one of the winners from The Painted Life. I LOVE her art work. And LOVE your blog as well. Very inspiring as I am in the process of remaking my bedroom.

    Thanks again!

  5. I have some plaster ones in my attic and I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with them. Great idea.

  6. Love the white against the grey walls. Question though: Have you been happy with the Martha Stewart Flagstone color? I have a few stripes now on my master wall and can’t find In these pics the color looks amazing. How pleased are you with your selection?


  7. I love your mirrors! Can you tell me where you found them?

  8. Ohhhhhh, I love this :) And I really love that you had the freedom to just put nothing on them!

  9. What do you call those things? Love this idea. Thanks!

  10. Haha!! So many things made me laugh from this post… the Star Wars comment (I’m a mom of boys, so I feel that way every day) and the two holes comment… trying to hang our little two hole shelf was exasperating!

    It looks great!!

  11. Hey! Love your blog. Not sure if I’ve ever commented before. But just thinking out loud here…. what if you removed the table (since there isn’t anything on it anyway) moved the rolled towels/blankets and trunks to a closet and did empty white sconces from floor to ceiling? Even just one more row at the height of the table now would look great. Would that be too radical??

  12. ANYBODY know the name of these “wall shelf/sconces”?

  13. I think they look fantastic! i somehow have ended up with a plethora of little ledges and shelves… may have to snag your idea, Nester! :)

  14. I’m so glad to know that I’m not the only one who makes my wall like the swiss cheese when I try to hang things! This is such an original idea– I may have to apply it in another direction!

  15. I love your blog and this post especially. I may copy this idea in my own home. It is really great.

  16. Guess what? I was just thinking of ordering exactly those things (well, a version of them from the Ballard catalog) for the empty wall in my dining room. They look gorgeous on your bedroom wall, especially since you’ve arranged them in a scattered, asymmetric way (I would have just done a few in a line — so boring).

    But here’s my two cents: I think they look better with things on them. Like the seaside thingies you put on them in one picture. Maybe you could seasonal thingies (small, tasteful, not big and loud)? Keep us posted on what you decide to do (and we know you will).

  17. star wars… bwahahahaha!!!!!

  18. Loved this post. Such a great idea! Love the contrast the white makes to the room.

  19. Oooh you are so lucky! Here in Australia we never have anything like that in thrift shops … No sconces, corbels, brackets or anything architectural at all. Boo hoo … Yours look fantastic. I painted our study in a similar colour last year and love it with white features too, what a restful looking bedroom you have …

  20. I looked at the title ‘Wall art’ and expected to find some of Banksy’s artistic work, instead I found something quite different and equally interesting!

  21. I love your site. I am obsessed with sunburst mirrors but canNOT find them anywhere around me. [I do not have a HomeGoods anywhere near me :( ] Yours are beautiful. I’d like to ask the cost of them? I’d like to know how much it would set me back. Thank you!!!

  22. Love this idea – now I have been to thrift stores, antique stores, and yard sales galore, and can’t find these things anywhere!

  23. Your bedroom is so cozy! This is the way I wanted my bedroom to feel but alas, I have not gotten the asthetics to pull together the right way yet. I love your inspiration though and the pictures are fabulous!!

  24. I love these…and empty too! They are so simple and yet so interesting. I think I’ll copy (again). Thanks for another project!

  25. Stephanie says

    What a great idea! I’m going to have to find some scrackets (I just made that up) of my own. Think they would look awesome in black, or aqua….or fushia for my daughter’s room….yes!

  26. Martha Hefner says

    IMO, I would place the larger sunburst mirror above the bed. What do you think?

  27. Everything you said in the post made me laugh… and please, don’t make me read all your other blog posts again, ( i read every single one of them in one day until my eyes fell out) to find out the paint color in your bedroom.

    your fan

  28. I have one of those shelves. I had it in my bathroom, but took it down when I found a really cool oval mirror to put over the top of it. I have yet to hang them up together. I haven’t found the right place. I am going to keep my eye open for more of these wonderful little shelves! And I know what you mean about the two nail holes becoming 8!!! DRAT!

  29. Oooh I’m in love with this idea! I’m going to start looking out for shelves like these from now on.

  30. I looked these up online and after many exhaustive hours of research, I have come to the conclusion that the most proper and official name for your decorative finding is “shelf.” Tee hee.

  31. What colour / make paint did you use for the walls? I love the colour but can’t seem to match it.

  32. those are really nice. i hope we have it here in Manila. i want to put it in my living room.

  33. What a great/cheap idea! There is a blank wall in our entrance hall that would look good with a group of these “mini sculptures”. Now I have something else to hunt for at estate sales.

  34. Love the wall shelf
    We can I purchase them.

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