Photography by Kristen Howell

Filling your walls with artwork is undeniably a key way of adding color, personality and a unique touch to your interior spaces. But when faced with the choice of what to hang on your walls, there are endless amounts of options. As an artist myself, there are two ways that I love to help homeowners add some art to their walls: with originals and prints. While both are fantastic options for all art collectors, there are some differences that should be considered when selecting your piece!

Elizabeth Sage McLaurin

Original art is the unique piece that an artist touches with their hands, and creates out of their studio. Fine art prints are high quality reproductions of that piece of original artwork. There are pros and cons to choosing originals versus prints, and I’m here to help you determine your best fit.


Pros: One of the great things about original art is that it can often be custom-made just for your home. I can build or purchase a canvas with specific sizes for a certain spot in a collector’s home, so you know it will be just right for the space. Everything from the subject matter to the color palette can be tailored to your specific space. Unlike a museum, you can get close to the piece, and see the details of the layers of paint and the artist’s brushstrokes. Original paintings are an investment that will appreciate over time. These are pieces that you will hang onto the
rest of your life, so, in my opinion, are a worthy investment!

elizabeth sage art

Cons: There are some considerations you need to make before making the plunge with original art. For one, original art can often come with a large price tag. As with all major financial decisions, it is one that should be taken with thorough review. Collecting artwork also takes patience. Custom commissions can often take months, and, if an artist uses oil paint (like me!) a piece can take quite a while to fully dry. The logistics of carefully getting artwork from the artist’s studio to your walls takes time and patience.

original artwork vs. prints
elizabeth sage art


Pros: If you have your eye on a particular original artwork, that has either sold or is out of your budget, a fine art print is the next best thing. A print is intended to capture as much of the detail of the original as possible. Print collectors have often mistaken the print for the real thing! The detail is so fantastic that you can hardly tell the difference. At ⅓ – ½ of the price of the original, prints give you the freedom to collect a larger piece at a lower price point. In my studio, I am able to take images of small pieces of artwork, and blow them up to a larger scale, so you, as the collector can choose the size that perfectly fits your space. Prints are ready-on-demand, and only require a few weeks for printing before it is on its way to you!

Cons: When I am creating a print to add to my shop, I am very particular about the quality of the image. I want my collectors to feel like they can mistake the print for the original, and never want them to feel like they are losing out. That said, there are things like the physical texture and sheen of the original that can’t be recreated with a print.

original artwork vs. prints by elizabeth sage
original artwork vs. prints

You will need to decide how to frame your piece! Some prints fit in standard frames, but oftentimes custom framing is necessary. Additionally, artists might not offer prints of every piece of artwork they create, so there are more limited selections to choose from.

Original art verse prints

If you’re an art collector, there’s a chance you own both original pieces and fine art prints, which is a fantastic way to build your art collection. Originals are an investment that will stay with you through your life, and prints are a more accessible way to collect a piece of your favorite artist.

There is no wrong way to collect art! Your art collection is going to be unique and tailored specifically to what catches your eye, what you connect with, and what works in your space. Whether it is an original piece or a fine art print, artists like myself are so proud and honored to have a small window of their world living on the walls of your home.

Happy collecting!

You can collect both originals and prints from the studio of Elizabeth McLaurin on her website! For custom inquiries, do not hesitate to contact her directly here or via her TTL Directory page.