3 Ways To Find, Fake, Or Make Stunning Oil Paintings For Your Décor

Antique oil paintings are having a moment in decor, adorning the walls of several popular design styles. They are a beautiful addition to the farmhouse, cottagecore, provincial, traditional, and other maximalist trends. From dimly lit 18th-century landscapes and still-lifes to gloriously stunning portraits, the look of a classic oil painting instantly elevates any décor style, bringing a rich sense of the past into your spaces. They look incredibly stylish when combined with ornate and elaborate gold or gilt frames that instantly convey glamour.

According to House & Home, old paintings also complement newer design elements, creating visual interest and friction with beautiful results, making them a great component to add even to the most contemporary styled room. Oil paintings also add a sense of depth and texture compared to other kinds of 2D artwork. If you are looking to add oil paintings to your home but don't know where to begin to find ones you really love, there are several ways to source, create, and, yes, fake the look of classic oils. 


One of the easiest, at the same time most challenging, ways to bring antique or vintage oil paintings into your home is to buy them. Great finds can be uncovered everywhere, from flea markets and antique fairs to thrift shops and online markets like eBay and Etsy. While lighting occasionally strikes for a bargain, true antiques can be costly and often difficult to find unless you're blessed with the rich flea markets of Paris. While originals by notable artists will run you a pretty penny, there are also scads of paintings created by unknown and under-collected artists who produced beautiful landscapes, still-life, and portraiture.

You may also find excellent reproductions in oil of more famous works, mainly landscapes, often printed on canvas-like materials and framed for home décor purposes in the mid to late 20th century by various manufacturers. One well-known technique, oleography, popular in the late 19th century, often stumps even the most knowledgeable collectors, according to Fine Art Restoration. Reproductions are often indistinguishable from the non-expert and beautifully framed, making them a more plentiful and budget-friendly collection option. 


If you aren't particularly game for the challenge of the hunt for existing art or reproduction, there are a couple of different options for having your replicas or "fakes" created of your favorite vintage or antique images. Many companies and individual artists specialize in creating dupes of classic paintings, including famous works by history's greatest artists like the Pre-Raphaelites and Impressionists. They are usually painted directly on canvas, retaining the texture and depth of the originals. While many painters will refrain from impinging on the rights of contemporary artists, public domain and antique pieces are often perfect for reproduction if you haven't yet found the perfect painting for your décor.

Another great way to get an oil-painting look is to order canvas prints from companies like Canvaspop and Mixbook, which provide excellent prints on canvas that are stunning when framed in beautiful antique or vintage frames. This tactic, in particular, allows you to get prints of paintings that might not be widely available in existing art markets but are exactly what you want for your décor. They arrive ready from the printer for framing.


If you are seeking a more DIY approach to getting exactly the gorgeous oil-painted image for your home, there are some great tutorials available for turning a printed or existing image into the look of a classic oil painting, many of which can be done inexpensively and with a little bit of illusion and fakery. A Home Is Announced offers in-depth instructions for turning a high-quality paper print, a paintbrush, some glue and Modpodge, and a canvas board into a stunning work of art for your walls. The site also includes some troubleshooting for what can go wrong.

Another great simple project is turning a piece of existing thrifted art that isn't an actual painting into an oil lookalike by adding strokes of gesso or Modpodge to create the faux strokes and sheen of an oil painting. Consider quickly transforming a thrifted piece of art by tossing the glass, modifying the surface with your medium, and reinserting it back into the frame.