The art of interior design – creating the picture-perfect home

The art of interior design – creating the picture-perfect home

  • “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see” (Edgar Degas)
  • “Art plays a fundamental role in interior design – no scheme is complete without it” (Alexander James Interior Design)
  • Use art to echo a room’s theme and balance it perfectly with lighting for maximum impact (Alexander James)
  • Damien Hirst print featured in London’s Landmark Place show home (Alexander James)


Art lovers are in for a treat this year, with London’s Lisson Gallery celebrating its 50th birthday with a magnificent series of exhibitions and events. The National Gallery – the UK’s most visited gallery, with well over 6.2 million visitors in 2016, according to the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions – is also offering something special, with Cagnacci’s Repentant Magdalene, the Michelangelo and Sebastiano exhibition and a Rubens and Rembrandt feature all running concurrently.


However, if we are to believe the words of Edgar Degas, then “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” It is a concept that is familiar to every successful interior designer – those with the powers to make others see an overall vision that is greater than the sum of its parts.


 “Art plays a fundamental role in interior design. Paintings, prints and sculptures are essential to completing a decorative scheme and have to be planned in as part of the overall look and feel of a property. These are not things to be left to chance and then picked out at the last minute.”


Stacey Sibley, Creative Director, Alexander James Interior Design


Having worked in interior design for 24 years, Alexander James’ Stacey Sibley is well versed in finding the right artwork to tie together all the elements of a room, from fabrics to colour palette to furniture.


Art can both echo the theme of the room and inspire it. This Beaconsfield family home, dressed by the Alexander James team, displays the concept beautifully, with artworks reflecting the colours, textures and themes of the rooms in which they feature.


For those looking for a uniquely artistic home, engaging the services of a local artist can be a wonderful way to obtain bespoke artwork. Furnishing the artist with a swatch of cushion fabric, key colour samples or a mood board can allow him or her to draw together all aspects of the design.


In the Beaconsfield home, for example, the open plan living room features beautiful, bespoke artwork designed to fade from bold to light and inspired by the accent cushions, which feature a bold oil painting inspired fabric designed by artist Jessica Zoob for Romo.


Nor is it just private homes in which art plays an important role. Working closely with developers has emphasised to the Alexander James team how essential artworks are when dressing show homes. At Landmark Place in London, their interior designers embraced the use of art by purchasing a limited edition Damien Hirst print for the show home.


‘The Souls III’ is one of a 15-piece signed edition purchased by Alexander James Interior Design as part of their dressing of the stunning new show home. The print is currently on loan to Landmark Place’s developer, Barratt Homes, enabling art to be taken to the next level in show home design.


Whether it’s a Damien Hirst print or the work of a talented, up-and-coming local artist, placing art perfectly is almost as important a skill as choosing the right pieces, according to Alexander James’ Stacey Sibley. She recommends balancing art and furniture by aligning artwork with a sideboard or console table and bordering it with side lamps to highlight it. The right framing is also essential, as is balancing the frame with the lamps and other furniture around it.


Hanging artwork at the right level is also essential. The centre of the image should ideally be at eye level. However, for informal seating areas, hanging the artwork low will make the space feel more cosy and intimate. Hanging artwork in clusters can also work well.


 “Gallery walls are a great way to occupy vast and open wall spaces, especially stairwells which are usually quite bare. Grouping several frames in various sizes, styles and orientations gives a really creative look and allows you to add more whenever you like.


“You can also take inspiration from the environment around your home. If you live in a rural area, seek inspiration from the surrounding trees and greenery, with botanical prints or natural paintings. Likewise, if your home has an interesting history, this can inspire the artwork. If the house has been rejuvenated, perhaps use old architectural drawings to accessorise the scheme.”


Stacey Sibley, Creative Director, Alexander James Interior Design



For more information, visit Alexander James Interior Design at, email or call 020 7887 7604.