How to: Choosing Wall Art with Meaning

By: Alicia Aug 20, 2012

Finding Art with meaning on

Last month I explored ways to add color and pattern to the Curbly House (check here if you missed it). But sometimes color and pattern aren't enough; art should also have meaning. You want to look at your walls and see a story in every picture. So today, I'm going to show you some tricks I've used to help inspire my search for art that's beautiful and personally significant. Read on to see what I mean (get it?)

The three themes I'm working with in today's inspiration boards are: 

  • Literature and poetry
  • Travel
  • Music and films

I think it's really helpful to choose some themes that you can find meaning and personal or family connection with. This will help guide your art search. For each of these categories, I browsed the huge collection of photography, fine art, and prints at, looking for pieces that resonated with my experience. 

Here's a rundown of the first six:

1. Mango Tango by Shirly Novak (inspired by House on Mango Street, one of my all-time favorite books)

2. Italy Print (a simple railway-inspired sign ... we spent part of our honeymoon in Italy)

3. Nabokov's Lolita Research Cards by Carl Mydans (Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita is one of Bruno's favorites)

4. Tango Argentina by Misha Lenn (Bruno's family is from Buenos Aires, and we've travelled there a bunch. This reminds us of our attempted-tango-dances at underground milongas)

5. Garcia Lorca Illustration of One of His Poems (one of Bruno's favorite authors)

6. Portofino by Ginette Callaway (this was one of our favorite stops on our honeymoon. If you've been there, you know why. Take a second to visit to learn about the devastating floods that nearly destroyed the city, and how you can help.)

And, without too much ado, the next six:

Finding meaning with art from

7. Selection of Beethoven's Hearing Aids (a great reminder of what you can achieve despite adversity)

8. Proofing Copy of A Page from 'Et Moi Aussi Je Suis Peintre' by Guillaume Apollinaire (I'm a huge fan of concrete poetry)

9. Snow at Montmartre by Hippolyte Camille Delpy (in my favorite movie, Amelie, the final action takes place at this Paris landmark ... we sat on the steps and ate crêpe on our honeymoon)

10. City Hotel Buenos Aires (another one inspired by Bruno's family heritage ... and I love the bold graphic style.)

11. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1969 (Another of Bruno's favorite films. We arm-wrestled over this one for a while, and he one. Not my favorite, but he loves it. What do you think?)

12. Yeah! Yeah! U.S.A! (I grew up wishing I'd been a child of the 60s and idolizing the Beatles. This newspaper reprint captures that feeling for me).


Whew! If you want even more ideas for art inspiration, check out my Pinterest board (and follow me while you're at it). 


What are you favorite ways to find inspiration for meaningful works of art? Let me know in the comments!


Thanks to for sponsoring this post! They just redesigned their Web site to make it even easier to find images that inspire you. Please keep in mind that all the opinions here are mine alone. 


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I like the Butch Cassidy and Sundance kid poster. I happen to love the movie. 

Thanks for another informative site. Where else could I get that type of information written in such an ideal way

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