Pretty much everyone loves it and knows it’s important, but hardly anyone is comfortable talking about it.
It’s that other three-letter word: ART. Interior designers love it more than most, but often leave the “art talk” to the end of a project when both budgets and patience are depleted.
“She loves the art but it is the thing that puts her over budget.”
I’m on a bit of a mission to change this, to make it as easy for you to incorporate art into the design process as you would, say, window treatments or rugs.
Although first posted over a year ago, this article is no less relevant now. But it just scratches the surface, so look for more to come soon about this And, as ever, I welcome your input at email@example.com.
Most interior designers know the challenge of helping their clients choose a work of art. Although the issues vary from project to project and designer to designer, several say that success hinges on their role as educators—introducing their clients to pieces they may not have otherwise considered and helping them understand the value a work of art adds to a space.
“Art mystifies most of my clients,” said Jill Kalman of Bella Interiors in Westport, CT. “They’re educated and sophisticated but have so little idea about what to put on their walls. So I love to help them, because once you put up that picture, it all comes together.”
Designers’ own connection to art, and what they’ve learned about their clients’ personality and process, colors each of their approaches. Satomi Yoshi-Katz of YZDA, in Montclair, NJ, tries to encourage her clients to choose something different, something they might not have considered before.
“I like to offer them something unique, something that will come to feel like an important piece to them,” she explains. “I help this along by learning the story behind a piece of art before I bring it to a client so they can appreciate it more and see beyond the price tag, whether it’s $2500 or $10,000.”
Gabrielle Raven of Gabrielle Raven Interiors in Woodstock, NY takes a different tact. “Sometimes I’ll drop a piece off with a client without saying anything. Just putting something in front of them allows them to have a visceral reaction. Later I ask questions that help them begin to understand their response and start seeing it differently. But it has to be in situ if you really want to sell it.”
Like most innovative designers, Raven tries to steer her clients away from more generic pieces that many of them gravitate to out of comfort and familiarity.
“It’s our job to help encourage people to take aesthetic risks, even if we have to hold their hands a little so they can make the leap.”
Hilary Unger, of Perianth Interior Design in New York City, finds that her clients are relying more and more on her to buy art. “They usually begin with a particular space in mind and I’ll show them a range of things so they’re not making a decision in a vacuum.”
Unger also steers her clients to works of art that she feels suit a particular space. “Even the most beautiful piece can be lost if it’s not properly placed,” she says. “But when it is, it finishes the room. I say to people, “When you hang your art, you’re home.’”