11/10/2014 11:00 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

7 Real Art Ideas for a Cultured and Sophisticated Home

Nothing will make your home look more grown-up and cultured than art. At this point, you can do so much better than cliche, college dorm staples of "Starry Night" and "Marilyn Diptych" posters. When it comes to giving your abode a grown-up, cultured look, you have way more options than the overdone marquee letters and air plants. Spice things up with these stylish ideas for actual art pieces that won't break the bank! You can order prints of many of these pieces online, or just print them out onto computer paper yourself (hey, you didn't hear that one from me!) The secret sauce to these chic suggestions is that many of these beautiful pieces are lesser-known works by famous artists, so they'll definitely make you look like one heck of an impressive artophile!

1. Picasso's animal line drawings


Easily one of my most favorite, little-known art series. Picasso did quite a few adorable and chic minimalist line drawings of animals including dogs, doves, owls and butterflies. Take your pick! The Picasso signature in these drawings is nearly as stylish as the works themselves.

2. Mondrian squares, in real life


The Mondrian squares (like "Composition No. 10" or "Composition II") may be quite well-known, but turning your kitchen or dresser into a themed work of art is something else entirely! My grandmother turned her kitchen into a homage to the Mondrian squares by painting everything white, outlining all the drawers and counter edges in black, and then including the signature pops of color. It impressed every person who ever set foot in her house.

3. Matisse's etchings and sketches


While Matisse was famous for his late modern art pieces, he would create minimal sketches and etchings just for fun from time to time. His portraits of faces and girls are some of the most beautiful and feminine pieces I've ever encountered. Check out "Black Sketch, Face of a Woman, La Superieure" and "La torsem et native nue."

4. Surprising early works


Many artists famous for their late works actually began their artistic careers in a very different style. Many modern or impressionist artists began with quite classical painting styles. Featuring an early painting by a modern artist will make for impressive-sounding small talk when your guests comment on the painting.

Great artists that fall into this category include Kandinsky, Monet and Andy Warhol's early sketches and drawings.

5. Art gone meta


The Great Wave off Kanagawa, get it?

Take any famous painting with a strong shape and turn it into a silhouette. This can be done relatively easily with more photo editing softwares. This artwork concept works best when it's something people will recognize, like "The Creation of Adam," "American Gothic" or Monet's "Giverny Garden" pieces (the bridge is perfect). Your new black and white print will go with nearly any decor style.

6. Chic word art


Rene Magritte is famous for some of his wackiest paintings, but he also did a series of very stylish word art pieces. As french expressions are so in vogue in fashion right now, capture the original word art style for your home!

7. When in doubt, stack frames.


This is an easy one! Head to your nearest craft store, and you'll likely find several backless frames on clearance (cheaper and more stylish when they are backless.) Grab a few different sizes with interesting details and colors, then lean them against the wall. It'll look fabulous, and you won't even have to bother with a hammer and nail!