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“Very few things evoke more emotion than original art,” says Kelly Wallace, owner of A Rare Bird Antiques. That’s why she showcases vintage art in a range of styles and across eras in her Minneapolis shop. Art helps homeowners create a feeling of calmness or energy or whatever mood they want to live in, she says.

Now, as we spend a lot of time at home, loving what’s on our walls is more important than ever, says Hayley Stoen, owner of The Atelier Collection.

“People are investing in their interior spaces,” she says.

Finding affordable one-of-a-kind vintage art is achievable if you know where and what to look for. For bargains, Wallace and Stoen suggest scouring estate sales, secondhand stores and flea markets. Selections may be damaged or poorly framed — but there are also hidden gems.

Or you can turn to curators like them. Most of the art they sell is in the $200 to $1,000 range, but prices go higher. Wallace relies on her eye, but also her gut when choosing work for her store. Stoen, who earned her master’s degree in art history from the University of St. Thomas, looks at a painting’s texture, tones and subject matter, asking if she could picture it on a wall in a museum.

“Is it pleasing to your eye? That’s the main thing,” she says. “And that is very personal.”

Stoen imports the majority of what she sells from Europe, with more coming from America’s East and West coasts. Wallace and Stoen agree that paintings tell stories and can prompt conversation and reflection. They also agree that if you see something you love, don’t hesitate.

“These are one-of-a-kind things,” Wallace says.

“Do you feel a sense of urgency?” Stoen asks. “If you do and it’s within your budget, buy it. I have let things fall through my grasp and still have visions of pieces I missed out on.”

Shop around

The Atelier Collection, 202 Water St., Excelsior, appointment only.

A Rare Bird Antiques, 3016 W. 50th St., Mpls.

H & B Gallery, 2730 Hennepin Av.,

Succotash, 781 Raymond Av., St. Paul

Mill Antiques, 410 Main St. N., Stillwater,