5 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Artwork Online

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Buying artwork online is a great way to find pieces that are not available in your local area and will save you the hassle of driving everywhere. Before you purchase anything, though, make sure that you know the following 5 mistakes to avoid when buying artwork online:

  1. Buying artwork that is too large for your space
  2. Buying the wrong size canvas
  3. Buying an artwork that you don’t like
  4. Overlooking the frame quality
  5. Purchasing from a non-reputable website

The art world is a bustling industry, with auctions and gallery shows constantly happening across the globe. But what happens when you want to buy an original piece of artwork without venturing into the wild? 

Several mistakes can be made when buying artwork online including not considering your budget or even purchasing in haste because it’s too hard to find. In this blog post, we will discuss these 5 common mistakes people make when purchasing artwork online so you don’t fall victim!

1. Buying Artwork that is Too Large for your Space

The first thing you should think about before buying any artwork is how it will fit in your space. 

When considering size, don’t forget to factor in whether the painting or print needs to hang on a wall or be placed on an easel, as well as where you might want to place other furniture and accessories.

It is a common misconception that if you buy artwork that is too large for your space, you can shrink it down to fit the size of your space. This idea may seem like an easy fix, but shrinking artwork will change the dimensions of the work and also result in some loss of quality.

So it’s important to answer the following questions:

  • Are you looking for an intimate piece that will be just one element in a larger living space? 
  • Or do you want the artwork to take up most of the wall, and make it feel like your own personal gallery?

If you’re buying an artwork specifically to fill a large room or cover multiple walls, consider whether there are any pieces by well-known artists who work with scale (larger than life) and color patterns as part of their philosophy.

Otherwise, choose paintings or prints that complement each other – some with similar subjects but different colors or textures; others with complementary shapes and compositions.

It’s also important not to have too many competing focal points within the same composition: instead, try striking balance between symmetry and asymmetry when arranging your photographs on the wall.

2. Buying the Wrong Size Canvas

When it comes to buying a canvas for your room, there are many things that you need to consider. The size of the canvas is one of the most important considerations when deciding what kind of painting or drawing you want to do.

If you’re shopping for canvases online, take care to measure the chosen area to make sure that you get the size you need.

Big canvases can be more difficult to transport than smaller ones. If you’re not sure what size canvas is right for your space, the safest bet is probably 24×36 inches or 36×48 inches – they offer enough room without being too large for transportation concerns in most cases.

The standard size for canvases is 16×20 inches. If you’re shopping on Amazon, that’ll be represented as “16X20”.

You should also consider the thickness and type of material

  • plastic canvas is a good choice if you’re looking for something that’s easy to clean and won’t warp over time.
  • cotton canvas may be more expensive, but it will also hold up better than other types like polyester because of the natural fibers in the material.

Every person has their own preferences when buying canvases, so we’ll leave it to you to decide what’s right for your needs.

3. Buying an Artwork that you Don’t Like

We’re sure many of you have been in this situation before. You’ve found an artwork you love, and then find out that it’s not available in the size or medium you want.

So what do you do? Do you give up on that artwork and search for something else? Well, maybe not!

The first thing to do is to ask if your preferred size or medium can be found in different artwork. For example, you might get lucky and find that the one piece of art you really love was just bought by someone else – but they’re willing to sell it for less because they want their money back now instead of waiting until after the artwork is delivered.

However, if you can’t find anything in the same style or size that you’re looking for, then it’s time to think outside of the box and be creative! 

You might decide on a different medium altogether because there are so many options out there now (oil paintings, watercolors). Or maybe you’ll go with different sizes – many people love the look of large, dramatic pieces that pack an emotional punch.

If you’re still not getting what you want no matter how far out of your comfort zone you go, it’s time to ask yourself why are you looking for this particular piece? If it’s because it reminds you of something or someone special then consider framing a photograph instead and saving some money!

Quick Tips:

  • Be creative with mediums (oil paintings, watercolors).
  • Be flexible on sizes (large artworks can be more expensive than small ones).
  • Consider other types of artwork like framed photographs.
  • Ask friends and family to help you find artwork that fits your style.
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4. Overlooking the Frame Quality

Frames are one of the most important aspects of a painting. They not only protect the artwork from dust, moisture, and other elements but also add to its visual appeal. 

Frames come in all shapes and sizes and can be made out of a variety of materials such as wood or metal. The frame you choose for your art will depend on what type it is (i.e., landscape vs portrait) and what style you like best (i.e., modern vs traditional).

There are four main types: metal, wood, painted (or art deco), and canvas.

  • Metal frames are the most popular choice for contemporary artwork but they can be expensive due to their high-quality construction. The metal is heated, stretched, then cooled in a mold; this process creates a tight seal between the two pieces of material that makes it perfect for artworks with sharp edges or corners.
  • Wooden frames come in many different styles including traditional (with moldings) and modern (flat). They have an organic look which sets them apart from other materials as well as being cheaper than metal so if you’re working on a budget wood may suit your needs better.
  • Painted frames are usually more ornate and consist of gold leafing around the surrounding area while also having some details such as gold or silver highlights.
  • Canvas frames are hands down the cheapest option. They come in a variety of colors and styles, so you can find one that matches your vision for your art piece.

The choice of one among the others is up to you. Each material has its own benefits and drawbacks that you should consider before making a decision.

5. Purchasing from a Non-Reputable Website

There are many different websites out there that sell artworks. Some have a reputable history and can be trusted blindly, but others may not be as honest. When you’re looking to buy an artwork online, it’s important to know the difference between the two and how it will affect your purchase in the long run.

Some websites are not trustworthy and have been known to steal content from well-known artists without giving them any credit for their work, which can range from featuring a small watermark on an image that they created years ago up to posting someone’s entire gallery as their own.

You should instead only buy from artists or galleries that have been in business for many years and are well known within the art world. Sites like Etsy provide both sellers of original artwork as well as custom prints from other sites at a high level of security with strict guidelines for the artists to follow.

It’s not uncommon for big-box stores like Walmart, Target, and Amazon to have their own in-house photography departments or outside photographers that they contract with as well. You can always rely on these sites because you’ll see a contact email or information about how many years of experience they’ve had under their name on the site.

Key Points:

  • The possibility of purchasing artwork from an unreliable website is high because some sites do not require any information about the artist or their credentials, which could lead to people using false identities to create fake works (and make money).
  • When buying original artwork online it’s best to buy from reputable websites with strict guidelines in place, like Etsy. Sites like Walmart, Target, Amazon also provide quality control measures such as contact email addresses and/or years of experience under their name on the site.
  • When purchasing original art it’s always best to meet with the artist in person.


As you can see, purchasing artwork online is not always as simple as it may seem. There are a lot of risks involved with this type of purchase and the potential for fraudsters to take advantage of unsuspecting buyers is high. 

For this reason, we recommend you do your homework before buying anything from an unfamiliar seller or website. This article has given some great tips on what to look out for when shopping online so be sure to keep them in mind next time you make a purchase! 

Happy hunting!

Print On Demand World Staff

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