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Vintage Oil Painting Revival: Thrifted Finds for a Gallery Wall

If you love thrift store shopping you have probably seen about a kazillion old oil paintings lining the shelves in every thrift store you go to. Or at least a few paintings in each. Why not find one you love and freshen it up to add to your decor? You might be really surprised with the results!



Right now our Living Room is undergoing some major changes. It was all feeling a little too strong and heavy for me with the onset of spring… so the first step involved bringing up a white microfiber couch that we had in our basement family room. The dark leather went downstairs and, ahhhhh, the room already felt so much lighter.

Next came the little yellow chalk paint side table and the upcycled thrifted lamp.

DIY Chalk Paint Side Table after 2 at thehappyhousie


The old gallery was was feeling like it needed some freshening up as well. I had an amazing thrift shopping day with some of my crafty girlfriends recently and made some fabulous finds. These vintage (read: old) oil paintings caught my eye at a couple of different stores and I loved the prints inside of them. Perfect for the evolution of our gallery wall!

The important thing about using old oil paintings is to 1) make sure you like the print, and 2) make sure you like the shape of the frame. Check on both for these two babies.

The first print is an ocean scene and it of reminded me of our previous home near the open Pacific Ocean. I love being taken back to that sound of waves crashing against the shore.

Thrifted oil painting ocean at thehappyhousie

The other one was a bright beautiful peaceful scene of a river… fresh and cheerful. Perfect.

thrifted oil painting at thehappyhousie

The frames have an attractive chunky profile but were slightly damaged and very dirty. The first step was to give the frames (and the art) a thorough cleaning with a damp cloth.

Thrifted oil painting frame closeup at thehappyhousiethrifted oil painting closeup frame at thehappyhousie






Next, I got out my paintbrush and some of our latex trim paint (BM Cloud White) and went to town painting the ugly outta these puppies. Each frame got about three coats of white. You might want to prime first but I was far too lazy (and impatient) for such a step.

thrifted oil painting ocean single at thehappyhousiethrifted oil painting river at thehappyhousieMuch better, don’t you think? Since our gallery wall is undergoing major reconstructive surgery right now I had the perfect spot to place them. Here is how the gallery wall is starting to look:

Vintage Oil Painting Revival Thrifted Finds for a Gallery Wall 2 at thehappyhousie

What treasures have you found recently while thrifting or garage saleing? Any tips on what else I should be keeping my eyes peeled for??

Thanks for reading. And remember, my housie friends, HOME isn’t built in a day. Enjoy the journey!







I may link this up at some of my favourite Housie Parties

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  1. Krista, what a great idea. I know just the thrift store I want to visit for springtime art. My living room looks so ho hum at the moment. Cheap decor ideas is right up my alley.

    1. Hi Shelley! So glad you came by – art can be so expensive, it was thrilling to find some I liked so I could spruce up our gallery wall with very little money! Good luck, I would love to see pictures if you update some vintage paintings as well!

    1. Thank you Diana. I think the white is a big improvement. They look much more modern and fresh now. Thanks for your visit and comments and for hosting your link up every week!

  2. The oil paintings are gorgeous and painting the frame made all the difference! Love the gallery wall and thrift store finds are my absolute favorite way to decorate. Have a great weekend!

    Angela @ Number Fifty-Three

    1. My favourite way too, Angela! The hunt and refinishing it what makes it so fun -so much more satisfying when you create something beautiful out of something ugly/outdated isn’t it?!Thanks so much for your visit,

  3. Ohh I love these. I’m actually a terrible thrift store shopper. Shhh don’t tell anyone. But I love old oil paintings. I might have to go stop into our local store and see if I can find a few.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Hi Maria,
      Lol! What makes you terrible? That is funny:) I love how the old oil paintings are not just prints but were hand painted by someone – adds a fun unique touch I think. Thanks for your comments!

  4. You are so right about picking up old oil paintings. They don’t even have to be the best artwork. When grouped together they can look so appealing, especially with the frames all done in the same color. I think I’ll be keeping my eyes open for coastal scenes. Blessings to you, Patti

    1. Hi Patti! I totally agree, I think that grouping them with the matching frames is what puts a modern take on an old classic. Thanks so much for your visit!!

  5. I am working on a “gallery” wall of my own, painting a bunch of old frames from thrift stores and I too am way to impatient to prime. Oh well, you didn’t and yours look great!

  6. Love these paintings, Krista! And the way you revamped the frames!?!? Awesome – I don’t know that I would have thought about painting them while mounted… great idea! (I’m too addicted to spray paint. I need to remember the handiness of the little paintbrush!)

    1. Hi Tara! Thanks… they look much fresher in white. Lol…I didn’t think of painting them mounted either, I laid them on the table to paint them and hung them after. Maybe I should have just tried that though! I bet they could have been spray painted if I had bothered to take the art out first:)

    1. Hi Kelly! I was just checking out the frames too, but was quite pleased to realize that I actually even liked the prints! Bonus:)

    1. Hi Danielle! Thanks, I never have taken old oil paintings seriously before… I think I used to be seriously blinded by the usually horrendous frames. Then I started looking for them as a source of great frames… but I guess that sometimes there is even a ‘treasure’ of a painting included:)

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