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Garage sales, flea markets and Goodwill would be my first choices. There are three major flea markets in Vancouver I just found online.
Occasionally, hotels and motels will undergo a complete remodeling of their guestrooms, when they might sell their used furniture and wall art at a cheap price. As a university student 40 years ago, I furnished my apartment that way.
Call your area hotels and motels and ask if they will sell you their unwanted, framed artwork.
Also, large office buildings, that are going out of business, might sell their wall art cheap or give it away if you ask nicely.
Agree with the big box discount stores, and also try Facebook marketplace. I searched “art” and “decor” and found a few nice pieces. My best purchase off there was a photographer that was moving to a small apartment in NYC and needed to sell his large canvas prints for $25.
Do you know any artists who would be willing to give you some work on consignment? It would be a win/win. For instance, my brother in law is a photographer and is going to give us 4 or 5 of his photos of local sights that guests could purchase as a momento of their trip if they like. Or even order the prints for him to mail at a later time. My mom also does lovely small paintings and we may do the same thing with those. I’m sure we will get some more stuff on our own, but as we’ve just invested a nice chunk of change to get our listing up and running, this seems like a good compromise at this point.
I love art and am fortunate to have several friends who are very talented artists so I have some great pieces but over the years I have also bought beautiful calendars featuring my favourite artists e.g. Carl Larsson; I tear out the pictures and frame carefully - very cheap but looks great.
You can also order lots of different canvas prints off of AliExpress, but many people dislike the ethics of buying from a company that will steal and print others art, etc. So that’s at your own discretion.
@nolabelle - this is a great idea when, as you said, the artists are members of your family. But when it isn’t then you can get yourself into a pickle with insurance and so on. If an artwork is damaged, who is responsible? When an artist is exhibiting at a gallery, generally the gallery deals with insurance issues so the artist often doesn’t have a history with an insurance company for covering his/her artwork.
If the artist has his/her artwork in your rental without their own insurance, then you’ll end up being resposible.
For modern artwork, cheat. As long as the frames are decent and they also have a good-sized mat, you can really have fun with framing all sorts of things. I can see right now in my own house two artworks that look like expensive modern art - they are actually modern-design wrapping paper, of all things. (No-one has ever realised).
As long as the frames are decent, travel posters, particularly ones from the thirties and forties, can look fantastic if your rental is in a tourist area. Black and white photography can look particularly good.
IKEA is great for larger canvas style works. I also really like Michaels - it has a mix of framed art works, frames (which are often on sale!), and other wall hangings. Also, budget stores like TJ MAXX, Home Goods, Marshalls (some of which you might need to jet down to Bellingham for).
We have a long empty hallway, so I used some Instagram photos that I took over the years in our town, had them printed and bought cheap frames on Amazon.
I’ve used the IKEA Ribba Frames and photographs of my travels (mostly beach theme). I’d encourage you to use Artwork to tell a story for your guests … it could be some local sites or architecture of your city … make it a personal and memorable rather than generic.
I’ve posted this before but the https://www.eparks.com/store/ and https://www.sierra.com/ (acquired by the company that owns Home Goods and Marshall’s, and it’s gone downhill from there!) sometimes have discounted posters or prints on canvas if relevant to your theme/locale.