Brighten a blank wall with your own creations on canvas.

There's no question that art is a wonderful way to tie a room together. But let's face it--filling blank wallspace can be quite pricey. After canvassing art stores for a look she loved and finding only very expensive pieces, this homeowner had a stroke of genius. She purchased blank canvases and used her own paint to personalize her walls.

"I wanted something contemporary for my home, but I could not afford expensive artwork," she says. So she purchased several blank canvases and some paint in her favorite colors, and she created a few of her own wonderful works. "Friends who visit are surprised to learn who the artist is," she notes with a smile. If you would like to harness your own creativity and add a few items of interest to your home, try these fun painting projects.

Made for the Mantel
Above a fireplace is a perfect spot for displaying a large piece of artwork. Inspired by postcards featuring the work of 20th-century artist Mark Rothko, this homeowner set out to create a painting based on his style. She checked out a book from the local library to study some more of his pieces, and then she imitated one on a large canvas.

"I love the colors that Rothko used," she says. "To me, his works were simplistic but still made a statement. And that's exactly what I wanted."

She covered one canvas in black paint, then covered the bottom half with red. White and black tones at intervals around the canvas help to add depth and interest to the painting. The chocolate and ruby hues not only provide a focal point but also unite the room's decor.

For another great decorating project you can do yourself, see "Decorating Step-by-Step: One Table, Two Ways," on page 88 of the February 2003 issue of Southern Living.