How to start collecting art on a budget

Written by

Sophie Venner

Sophie Venner is a Yorkshire-based content writer specialising in crafting content for the financial services industry. She’s written over 300 articles on finance, but she’s covered everything from insurance to digital marketing trends. Her content has been featured in the likes of Semrush, Digital Marketing Magazine and Insurance Business. In her spare time, you won’t find Sophie far from a notepad and pen as she squirrels away trying to write a novel.

Monday 26th June 2023

Owning art is something many people aspire to. And yet, there’s still a view that starting an art collection will be out of most people’s budget.

We believe that becoming a collector should be an option that’s open to everyone. In this guide, we explain how you can start an art collection on a budget…

1. Enjoy getting to know your favourite styles

One of the most enjoyable parts of collecting art is visiting galleries and browsing various pieces of artwork across different styles and mediums. It doesn’t cost a penny just to look, and you’ll soon get an idea for the type of art you enjoy.

Experienced collectors might seek out artwork they view as an investment, basing their purchase on the reputation of the artist or current trends. Those just starting to build their collection should only choose pieces they truly love. After all, it’ll presumably take pride of place in your home so you’ll want to enjoy looking at it every day.

2. Set your budget

As with almost all big purchases, you should only start shopping once you have set a budget. It’s all too easy to be tempted to push your budget – particularly if you see a piece of artwork that you really like. Have a non-negotiable amount in mind to prevent you from spending more than you can realistically afford. Trust us, your bank account will thank you later!

3. Browse online

Galleries typically avoid displaying the price. So, if you feel awkward asking the sales consultant how much a piece of artwork is, head online instead. You’ll often find a gallery’s website is far more transparent when it comes to pricing. The gallery’s finance options are usually displayed on the product page, too, so you can see how much it could cost you monthly if you chose to take out finance.

4. Buy locally or on your travels

Support the arts in your local area by visiting galleries or exhibitions near to you. You could also seek out local galleries when you go on holiday – whether it’s a destination adventure or a trip closer to home.

These pieces might not be worth a fortune in the future, but they won’t cost you a fortune either. Artwork bought in a location that means something to you will no doubt become your most treasured piece. Art purchased while travelling can also be the perfect memento of your trip.

5. Look out for early career artists

You could find a gorgeous piece at a bargain price from newer artists who are looking to build their client base and grow their reputation. With so many artists promoting their work on social media, turn to TikTok and Instagram for inspiration.

Graduate shows are also fantastic places to seek out quality, affordable art. You’ll often have chance to meet the artist behind the piece, too, so it’ll feel all the more personal to you.

You’ll not only be kick-starting your collection with a budget-friendly piece of artwork – you’ll also be supporting an emerging artist. Who knows? Maybe they’ll go on to be a big name in the future, and you’ll be the proud owner of one of their very first pieces.

6. Go for prints

Your art collection doesn’t have to be solely made up of original works. You might find limited edition prints are more cost-effective. While they might not hold as much value in the future, they’ll almost certainly be less expensive compared to an original piece.

Experts generally recommend to either go for a high edition number of a lower value print by a high-profile artist or select a low edition number of a print by a lesser-known artist. This will ensure you’re getting the best value for money.

7. Don't limit your collection to paintings

Paintings are often the first thing people think of when they imagine an art collection. However, you might find sculptures a striking and potentially less pricey option as they’re not often as in demand.

Drawings, photographs or contemporary works on paper can also be creatively displayed in the home and are often much cheaper than a traditional painting.

8. Focus on the way you display your artwork

If you’re buying on a budget or just starting your art collection, one of the best ways to make the most of your artwork is to display it effectively.

Move your artwork around the home until it feels ‘just right’. You might find a piece deserves prime position, whereas smaller prints work best arranged as a group.

9. Think about the future of your collection

As your collection grows, you’ll need to make sure you have the right level of insurance in place and consider how you’ll store your pieces in the future.

Once you start adding to your collection, you could quickly find yourself with several pieces of artwork and not enough space for your next purchase.

You might choose to rotate which piece you have on display at your home, or retire the pieces you’re no longer as interested in. Either way, you’ll need to think about storing the artwork while preserving its quality. Artwork should be adequately covered and padded and stored in a dry space at room temperature away from direct sunlight.

You’ll need to make sure you have the budget to pay for insurance and storage (unless you already have spare room in your home for your art collection) before continuing to purchase ‘just one more’.

10. Take your time

There’s no rush to build up your collection so don’t set yourself targets (for example, buying a new piece every six months).

Your taste in artwork might change or you might discover a new artist at some point in the future so don’t limit yourself by using up all your space and budget within too short a timeframe. Make sure you’re in a position to buy a piece that really is love at first sight.

11. Spread the cost

Not everyone can afford to part with thousands of pounds upfront. You might not want to wait to save up if you’ve already found the perfect piece of art to start your collection. Or you may simply prefer to keep your savings intact and spread the cost over monthly instalments instead.

Taking out finance could be the ideal solution. It allows you to walk away with the piece you love almost straightaway – all you need to do is make monthly repayments until the full amount has been paid off.

We're helping to break down financial barriers

It’s our mission to help make big-ticket items such as art more affordable. Take a look at our finance solutions to see which option might be most suitable for you…

Get a personal loan

Borrow directly from Novuna Personal Finance at low rates from 7.4% APR Representative (£7,500-£25,000). You could get a loan for £1,000 to £35,000 and spread the cost over 2 to 7 years – whatever suits your budget and your timeframe.

A flexible personal loan allows you to have the money in your bank ready to go, effectively making you a cash buyer. Shop at your leisure knowing you’re ready to make a purchase as soon as you spot the perfect piece.

Look out for our retail finance options

We work with galleries across the UK to help customers like you finance their art collection. Many of our galleries offer interest free credit, which can be an ideal option if you’re looking to spread the cost over a shorter period of time (such as a couple of years).

Simply look out for our logo in-store or our PaybyFinance option at the online checkout to find out how much you could borrow.

Hear from the team at Wyecliffe Galleries to find out how our interest-free finance for galleries works…