March 4, 2018
Botanical prints of butterflies are ready to frame from the Instant Wall Art series.

When it’s time to think about those bare walls in your home that you would like to say something other than blah, you can go with a colour change, or add some spirited wallpaper. Guaranteed, a new hue will wake up your walls. And wallcoverings, with all their contemporary offerings, are a natural for heightening interest and character.

Another option is to embellish your walls with art. This is a broad term that is used to describe everything from poster art to classic fine art and so many wonderful styles that include photography, calligraphy, watercolours, oils, prints and mixed media to name a few. If you choose this route, your taste and your pocketbook are big considerations. Do some scouting. Visit your local art galleries and see what’s on display. Artists who are starting out are reasonably priced, and it is so important to support their work. Poster shops aren’t just for dorm rooms. You’ll have fun with movie land, pop music themes, eclectic designs, wild animals, oversized florals all ready to hang with or without a frame.

Nature prints were hugely popular in the 18th and 19th century. Drawn and hand-coloured by botanists, all types of flora and fauna were replicated in fine detail. The prints known as botanicals were a source of cataloguing and educating those interested in the natural sciences, transcending language barriers. These colourful pictures did not simply remain in the hands of those studying birds, flowers and insects. They were also collected and displayed in homes for all to appreciate. Botanical wall displays are enjoying a return to popularity. While original, hand drawn pieces are expensive, there are prints that do the style justice for a fraction of the cost.

Adams Media has put out a series of three books under the title Instant Wall Art. In Butterfly Botanical Prints, there are 45 separate prints of butterflies, some perched on flowers, others in a collection or standing alone. The 8” x 10” pages are perforated so that you can easily remove your favourites for framing. These illustrations are from the Biodiversity Heritage Library and are now in the public domain.

A second title in the series, Vintage Patterns spans a variety of cultures and time periods. This array of 45 prints captures detailed examples of Mexican textiles, Japanese screens, French fabrics and more. The size of the pages gives ample opportunity to show details of the designs while keeping them to a compatible size for framing and hanging in a collection of two, three, or six.

The third in the series is Vintage Map Prints. Images range from maps of the stars, to big cities (New York and Paris), the London Underground, and a view of the North Pole. These maps are fascinating and span time periods and locations. At 8” x 10” the labelling on each map is tiny. They would make a fascinating collection as long as you have a magnifying glass to study anything more than the shape of the land mass.

The prints in each of these books are captivating, full of detail and colour. However, I do wish there was at least a caption for each print to describe what you are seeing and the date the print was drawn. It would add a great deal to the enjoyment of each piece and offer a place to start exploring the subjects.

Written by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Please email decorating questions to Follow Debbie at,,