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12/19/2013 07:00 EST | Updated 02/18/2014 05:59 EST

Use artwork to enhance home's decor; affordable options are available

VICTORIA - Buying art doesn't need to rack up a huge expense and it can add great detail to a home's decor.

Kate Bellringer runs the contemporary Canadian art auctions for Maynards Fine Art and Antiques in Vancouver and says there is a misconception around how much homeowners need to spend to get great art.

"It's true that a lot of what you hear about art selling is the Francis Bacon that sells for $142 million," says Bellringer. "It's very daunting to think you couldn't afford that, and obviously most people couldn't."

Bellringer says there are great affordable options for homeowners who want to begin buying art for their homes, which can begin at $200 and range to $2,000.

Some artists, galleries and art sellers also have ways for buyers to purchase that suits their financial wherewithal.

"There is the Vancouver Art Rentals and Sales, and they focus on emerging artists," says Bellringer. "Basically you can rent the artwork by month and you can have a portion of your rental fees go towards the purchase of the piece."

At auctions like those at Maynards, the focus is on artwork that has a history of selling well at auction.

According to Bellringer, the artwork may have been sold in auction a number of times and over a history of five years, for example, it shows that the artwork is in demand and increasing in value.

While the price tag is something homeowners should consider when they look at buying art, Bellringer says the first thing to do is to view lots of art.

"Look at art and decide what you like because the most important thing is that you love the piece of art you purchase," she says.

"Very few pieces of art actually appreciate in value so there is a chance that you won't get your money back and you will be living with that piece for quite a while. Make sure you love it first and foremost."

For those entering the world of art buying, Bellringer suggests making sure there is a wall in mind and that the measurements are known while looking for a piece.

"There are definitely collectors that buy art even if they don't have the wall space," she says. "I've heard sayings that you're a true art collector when most of your pieces are in storage because they don't have the space for them.

"But I think it is a good idea to have a place for it. I myself have made the mistake where I bought a piece that was so big I didn't have the space for where it was going to go in my house, and I had to live without it for a while because I had nowhere to put it."

Galleries are a common place for art buyers to see and purchase great art, but Bellringer said there are a variety of places homeowners and art collectors can see art, from websites to artist studio tours.

"You can also find great pieces of art at events like the Eastside Culture Crawl in Vancouver, which is a great place to meet artists directly and purchase artwork from them," she says.

"There are also a few websites out there where you can look up work by style and place."