For Time Out New York’s Home Design 2008 issue, my good friend and former Elle Décor scribe Sophie Donelson summoned interior designer and Design Therapy founder Brad Ford to work his magic on a living room wall in her Brooklyn apartment.

The result was a striking salon-style grouping of picture frames of various sizes and colors filled with bold, primary-color construction paper in lieu of art and photography. Although some of the frames were Donelson’s, the rest were picked up at a local vintage store.

Got a barren wall in need of some TLC? Follow Ford’s lead and use what frames you already have around the house and scour local flea markets, charity shops, estate and garage sales, and vintage stores for the rest. By now, we all know the eco-hazards surrounding the manufacture of plastic that’s used in many frames and although there are frames crafted from sustainably harvested and recycled wood out there, they aren’t all that easy to find.

Opting for used frames can also lead to some interesting discoveries if you’re aching to get away from the blah, straightforward style of frames found in most hardware and big box stores. Maybe you’ll unearth an art-deco oddity, a space-age novelty from the 70s, or a true antique that’s seen a few walls in its time. 

And if you’d rather leave your photos in albums and haven’t amassed enough art to fill an entire wall, keep your eyes peeled for vintage postcards and posters. You can always start small with a few pieces and add a new one on occasion. No matter what your aesthetic approach, this wall beautification project is easy on the wallet and easy on the environment.

Photo by Michael Kirby via Time Out New York 

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