7 Tips to Creating Affordable Designer Art For Kids Rooms

Liberty boxes by Bonpoint, dresser by Oeuf, tea set by Pottery Barn Kids, my top by Ulla Johnson

If I could have one brand licensing agent wish granted in my lifetime it would be to create a home decor collection including bedding, decor and designer art and wallpaper with Marni, Liberty of London or maybe Stella McCartney Kids.

Why these brands in particular?  They all have archives of prints and an attitude that makes me feel happy and alive, and I guess that’s how kids rooms should feel (but only during the hours or 8am and 8pm EST, of course)

When I moved into the West Village loft I now live in, pre-kids, my apartment was minimalism personafied.  When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I wore a lot of swingy Marni tops and their big necklaces to hide my bump.  I decided to base my daughters’ entire nursery around a Marni “candyflower” rug by The Rug Company that was the size of a postage stamp because that was all I could afford.  That was my foray into happy pops of color and print at home.  It was a good choice because it reflected my “style”, which is kind of the goal (plus the rug has re-sale value).

When I had my second daughter, the girls took over the master bedroom of the apartment. The room has really high ceilings which means I needed a lot of art to fill the empty white walls.  I am not a fan of buying kids wall decor, and I didn’t have a big budget, so I started creating pieces of designer art myself.  I  focused the art on things I love, luxury and designer brands.  Fashion brands do not tend to make wall art so I improvised.

Here are 7 tips to create your own designer art:

Tip #1: Frame wrapping paper or tissue.  I bought a top at the Marni store in Soho when I found out I was pregnant .  They wrapped the top in this really cute tissue.  I saved it and framed it two years later.  It’s kid appropriate without being too childish.

affordable designer art
Framed Tissue Paper from Marni boutique

Tip #2:  Search eBay for vintage posters or type in characters or themes you love and see what comes up.  On my oldest daughter’s 2nd birthday I found a vintage poster from my favorite childhood book May I Bring a Friend?.  It was a random discovery on eBay, as I was looking for an original hardcover copy of the book and I discovered the print. I offered $45 for it and had it framed.

Tip #3: Don’t throw away all of that junk mail. Junk makes great art. I received a promotional mailer for an event at Barneys New York with luxury brand Goyard.  On  the back of the invite it had a Goyard alphabet print (the letters used to personalize Goyard items). I normally would toss this kind of mail, but it looked like art to me, so I framed it

Tip #4: Commission your kids.  My girls are the best artists I know.  They would say that I throw away most of their creations (true), but I am a curator –  I keep the best pieces and invest in a good frame.

affordable designer kids art
“Drink Me” art painted by my daughter Justine

Tip #5: Give old things new meaning.  I mixed my creations with previously owned pieces , which included vintage sketches and oil paintings given to me by my mom, a Rugrats animation cell given to me by Nickelodeon as a parting gift and , oh – tip #6: Go to thrift stores. I purchased the mirror on the girls’ wall at a thrift store when I first moved to New York and had it spray painted white.

affordable designer art
Image by Sammy Goh for Homepolish

Tip #7: A shelf with a great collection is essentially art.  I worked with Erica Riha of Homepolish create the gallery on one wall.  She’s a genius at displaying collections like the Liberty print boxes I collected by luxury kids brand Bonpoint which line up on a shelf by Oeuf in the girls room.

Liberty print boxes
Liberty boxes by Bonpoint, shelf by Oeuf

Collecting affordable art is something I have been doing for years, though perhaps one day I’ll grow up and invest in real art.  You can see more of my apartment tour here on The Glitter Guide.