There is also lots of options to buy architectural elements from buildings and re-purpose them as art. As you might suspect, auctions have some creative offerings!
Designer: Lars Bolander
The column in this bedroom designed by Lars Bolander divides the sleeping area from a sitting area. Also if you look closely on the left, there is a wonderful carved wooden garland that I suspect was originally built in to paneling at a wonderful grand house.
Designer: Vicente Wolf (both photos)
Vicente Wolf can always be counted on to find interesting architectural pieces to include in his decorating schemes. In the top photo he turns an elaborate cornice in to a console table to fabulous effect. In the bottom photo, he uses window screens as art on the wall - wonderfully chic!
Kamelot Auctions in Philadelphia often has a good selection of architectural, industrial, and garden pieces in their auctions. Their next auction October 22nd includes a number of intriguing and fun items. Columns are terrific architectural additions to a space. Use them to frame a doorway or to divide a large space like Lars Bolander did. This set of four 98 inches tall marble half columns with gilt capitals are circa 1890 (Lot 2). Kamelot has an interesting way of doing the bidding. They show an estimate - in this case $400 - $600 - but that's for one. You, in fact, have to buy all four, so they call it 'times the money'. A bit confusing in my view. Anyway, I think these would add fabulous detail to a room.
I can think of all sorts of ways to use this cast iron window cornice, circa 1870. This lot actually includes six of these, but it is being sold 'as many as you wish'. Use it to frame a fireplace, use two to make a head board, or place it over a doorway. They are Lot 3, and measure 35" tall and 49" wide. They have an auction estimate of $300 - $600 each.
Copake Auction in Copake, NY is a bargain hunters treasure trove. They have their next auction October 22nd. They have this wonderfully carved wood architectural ornament (Lot 400) on offer. It measures 30' x 30", and would be a great piece of art on your wall. This has an auction estimate of $40 - $60.
Christie's for $2,750 off an auction estimate of $2,000 - $3,000. These measure 13" tall and 13" wide.
For comparison, this pair of carved wood architectural brackets sold at a New Orleans Auction for $584, off an auction estimate of $250 - $400). The are not nearly as detailed, but I like the chipped paint effect, and would leave them just as they are. They were made in the 1st quarter of the 20th century in the Southern United States.
You can have a lot of fun looking for architectural elements on offer at auctions. Let your mind be creative in how to use them, and you will create a distinctive look for your home. No cookie cutter designs for you!