Starting an original art collection can feel like a out of reach luxury. Private galleries, auction houses and art shows can be intimidating and expensive. But when faced with bare walls, filling your home with intentional decor can be empowering and uplifting – and really, you don’t have to spend a fortune to collect like an art curator. Here are our favorite tips for curious collectors looking to get their feet wet.

Start Slow

Clearing a wall or moving into a new space often sparks a flurry of purchasing. With art, it’s better to start slowly. Instead of snapping up piece after piece, aiming to fill the walls as fast as possible, set limits on how many pieces you get a month. Showcase your art with a quality frame, UV protection and a good lighting. Take time to remove distractions, dust and other items that might take away from the overall aesthetic. After a few weeks, start building around the piece, adding, and taking away additional décor. That way you can appreciate it on its own, as well as part of a whole vignette.

Refine Your Tastes

Once you’ve obtained your first piece of art, mount or hang it on the wall and really look at it. Over the course of the next few weeks, consider how it makes you feel. How does it appear in the space? What is the vibe of the piece? Consider why it fits in your home. Does the color speak to you, does it give you energy, is it calming, does it evoke an emotion? Finding your taste in art is one of the hardest parts of collecting, but once you determine what you like and why it will become easier to narrow your search and find your favorite artists.

Search For Limited Editions

Just because you can’t afford an original, prints, lithographs, and limited editions are opportunities to own art from your favorite creators at a fraction of the price. These pieces are created in limited run of anywhere from 10 to a few hundred pieces. This not only allows the artist to increase the reach of their work but permits a larger number of collectors to enjoy the piece as well. If you have the chance, aim to buy pieces with low run numbers, close to the start of the print series.

Focus on Emerging Artists

Everyone knows that breaking into the art world is no easy task. So where can you go to find new artists? A great place to look is on social media. Over the past few years, Instagram has become a robust platform for artists and creators to showcase their craft. You can find information about shows, sales, and upcoming collections with just the swipe of a button. Non-profits focusing on art and community can also lead to promising results. Another good place to look is at Master of Fine Arts (MFA) exhibitions. A good indicator of potential success is the amount of press coverage a student might receive. Take that as a good sign that their work could be a good investment then don’t hesitate to purchase.

Minor Works by Major Artists

Finally, if you have your heart set on a Picasso, but think it is out of reach – don’t fret. There are many opportunities to own classical art from major players but on a smaller scale. Auction houses and online galleries often showcase small works, like sketches, studies, and informal small-scale pieces for a fraction of the cost of larger known works. From a few hundred, to a few thousand dollars you can own a piece from the masters whose work has been known to sell for millions.

No matter what your taste or budget, there is art out there for everyone. Knowing where to look is half the journey. So next time you find a piece you like, whether it is a print, original or student work, do your part in supporting the artist and bring that treasure home.