Is it Art or is it Design?

Image above from Bron Strofberg (

Art is an important decorating element within the interior design practice, and yet they share a far deeper connection, in fact, art and interior design are intrinsically linked. Society associates interior design as being a form of art, therefore people’s valuation of art is also tied to their perception of the interior design discipline.  Meanwhile, society’s valuation of art is influenced by the economy, personal belief systems, current politics, and the media’s influence.  Hence, it is always shifting!

Martin (1998: 20) explains that “a positive public opinion of the arts underlies support of a healthy interior design community”. Interior design, a discipline concerned with the technical elements of an interior space that ultimately results in the creation of an aesthetically pleasing interior spaces, can be considered the design behind the art.

A well-executed interior design project brings an idea to reality with precision, accurate specifications, while carefully considering human movement, ergonomics and living requirements.  True success lies in the finished product which involves the placement of those finishing touches to achieve “the look”.  Like garnish ensures a dish is elegantly plated so interior decorating is essential to create a final interior aesthetic and art is an essential element.  The art selected for the interior should not only complement the room’s colour palette, but it should also have meaning; capturing the personality and authenticity of those who inhabit the space. Art is meant to stimulate thought and dialogue while inspiring our imagination.

By adding warmth, texture and expanding perceptions of reality, art can create a sense of culture and sophistication.  A single piece can address worldly issues, a personal journey or bring status to a home and homeowner.  Absorbing us into an often-impossible world of imagination and fantasy through the appreciation of colour, texture, detail and technique so very different from our everyday lives. Through art we create new ideas, explore and experience new perspectives.  Most importantly, it inspires us to achieve more.

Thus, let’s take a moment to fully appreciate ‘art’ because in doing so ‘interior design’s’ true value and status without our society can be fully recognised.

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