Does your home need a facelift? Is it showing its age?

Cleaning and decluttering can do only so much to update a home.

That’s why professional home stagers paint walls with the colors that are trending, and replace furniture with pieces that look more current.

Another way is to hang modern art on your walls. 

Sure, there will be people shopping for a property that’s listed in the National Registry of Historic Homes, but the majority of people looking at homes to buy want more new than old. 

So let’s get your home looking newer.  

Side note to people with historic homes: modern art looks great with antiques!

Modern art is characterized by abstraction rather than realism. The new art that reared its head in the late 1800s and continued into most of the last century, has looked fresh ever since. 

Of all the styles that were labeled modern – cubism, pointalism, impressionism, expressionism, and other isms  -- the drip paintings that American artist Jackson Pollack became famous for are the easiest to imitate. He called his paintings "energy and motion made visible - memories arrested in space."

You can imitate that energy and motion in your own home. And then frame it with a clean-lined, homemade frame. 

Make your painting

Start with a canvas ready for paint. It can't be a canvas board or foamcore covered with canvas. It has to have some depth so you can nail on the strip frame.

If unprimed, prime the surface with white or a light colored paint you're using elsewhere in your home. Yes, ordinary house paint. You can use either interior or exterior paint, but it should be a flat finish, not satin, semigloss or gloss. To dribble on colors, you can use either house paint or craft paints. Choose colors according to your palette for the room.     

Set up a work surface. The floor works best. Protect it with newspaper or a dropcloth. I find that using plastic as a dropcloth is never a good idea because paint sits on the surface of plastic, waiting for you to walk through it and then track it on your floor. Cloth dropcloths and paper absorb paint. 

It's best if you can walk all around the canvas on the floor.

Jackson Pollack's work at the Museum of Modern Art.
Yours doesn't have to be THIS big.

The process is simple. If using house paints, pour a few inches into a throwaway container, and use a paint stirrer to dip and drip. If using craft paints, you can squeeze them directly from their containers. Tip: shake the containers and then test the squirtability on a piece of scrap paper.

You have your choice of two approaches. You can use rapid motions to distribute the paint. Or you can slowly drip the paint onto the surface. I go fast.

Although Pollack didn't do it, I like to keep a border around the edges so the art is framed by some whitespace and the eye has a place to rest. It also looks more deliberate, and less like you framed your dropcloth.    

You don't have to get all-Jackson-Pollock.
You can keep it elementary and use a single color.

The strip frames I used on these two paintings are really just cheater frames. They can be made by someone who can't make mitered corners, or just doesn't want to bother. Some will turn up their nose at my corners and others might say, "Why didn't I think of that?"

Make your frame

If your canvas is rectangular, decide now if it will hang horizontally or vertically on the wall. Measure what will be the side edge, add 1.5 inches, and make a note of it. Measure the top or bottom edges, and note that. The side pieces of the strip frame will overlap the top and bottom pieces, like this:

Have your home improvement center cut 1 x 2 pine lumber into four lengths, two each of the measurements you took. If you have a large vehicle and a saw, you can buy the lumber in one length and cut it yourself at home.

Make the wood strips smooth on all sides by going over them with 100-grit sandpaper. Take the sharp edges off by sanding them as well. Test to make sure your measurements were accurate by laying your strips on the edges of your stretched canvas. We've made the side strips long enough so that they cover the sawed ends of the top and bottom pieces.

Paint or stain the strips, including the ends. A dark color usually works best.

After your drip painting is dry (and this could take a couple days if the drips are heavy), you're ready to nail on your strip frame. Use 1.5-inch finishing nails. They are long enough to penetrate the strip frame and enter the stretcher, but have a small head that won't be noticeable.

Lay the strips on a work surface and start the nails in the wood at intervals of 6 to 8 inches. Position the top and bottom strips first, and nail them to the canvas, making sure the ends align with the canvas corners.

If the wood strips are wider than the canvas stretchers, make them flush with the back edge of the stretcher, and bumped out in front, They will look more like a regular frame that way.

Nail on the side pieces, overlapping the butt ends of the top and bottom pieces.

The back of your painting will look like this. The cut ends of the
lumber are covered by the side strips of your wood.

Your painting should be ready to hang. You can use screw eyes and wire for hanging on a picture hook, or Command strips on two edges of the frame.

Get the look, get the book

If you like these ideas, download my eBooks on DIY homestaging, furniture arrangements, and no-sew window treatments. They're written for homeowners, home stagers, real estate investors, and anyone looking for easy ways to make a house more valuable.