Atmosphere

Collect Yourself

Museum-quality art installations that won’t break the bank.

September 2010

An empty wall can make a home feel lifeless, so while you’re saving up for that Clyfford Still canvas, fill the space with your own collections. Denver-based interior designer Beth Armijo (Armijodesigngroup.com) suggests assembling everyday objects to create conversation-worthy, original art installations—on a budget. Photographs, baseball cards, mismatched porcelain plates—anything that has personal meaning to you—can be transformed into fine art with the right arrangement. Here, three series from local homes to jump-start your imagination.

The New Yorker Magazine Covers

  • The goal Transform an otherwise dull corner of a downtown loft—with massive 12-foot walls—into a colorful, bright sitting area.
  • How to Hit garage sales, antique stores, eBay, or even your recycling bin for magazines, like these classic editions of the New Yorker magazine. Frame the covers and hang them in a grid.
  • Tip Consider using other periodicals that represent your interests. National Geographic or 5280, perhaps? (Wink, wink.) Also try album covers, sheet music, or maps.
  • Total cost $300 to $1,040

Glass Vases

  • The goal Find art that is casual, inexpensive, and versatile for a dining room.
  • How to Scour home-accessory stores like Arhaus (Arhaus.com) or Pottery Barn (Potterybarn.com) for wall-mount vases.
  • Tip The look quickly adapts to changing seasons with flowers in the summer, candles in the winter, and small branches in the spring or fall.
  • Total cost $525

Vintage Hubcaps

  • The goal Use an installation of antique hubcaps by local artist Phil Bender at the Denver Art Museum as inspiration to liven up a kitchen wall.
  • How to Head to Hub Cap Annie (Hubcapannieusa.com) for an impressive selection of hubcaps old and new.
  • Tip Look for a variety of details and styles. Also, don’t worry about scratches or dings—it adds to the vintage quality of the installation.
  • Total cost $250 for five hubcaps