How to Sell Art to Interior Designers: Book Review

Girls Botancials Black background red blue, whiteBook Review:  How to Sell Art to Interior Designers

Authors:  Barney Davey and Dick Harrison

Have you ever read a “how to” book that started off all clear and helpful with steps A, B, C, –maybe D, and then skipped over the really deep and weedy parts of E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W to magically arrive at X Y and Z?

I have, and they leave me cold, and scratching my head.


How to Sell Art to Interior Designers combines authority on the subject with a friendly, humble tone and actually wades through the weeds with you!

Barney Davey’s Décor Magazine marketing and social media savvy combined with Dick  Harrison’s down to earth gumshoe experience provide rich material on such topics as making a portfolio, where to find interior designers, and how to talk once you arrive at your meeting. 😉

Here are 11 of the many things I learned:

  1. Build or purchase an inexpensive portfolio–not one of those heavy leather ones– that is easy to open and will not dog ear your paintings.
  2. Start researching in the most accessible places: look for prospects (design firms) in the yellow pages and color trends by googling Williams and Sonoma, Crate and Barrel, and Benjamin Moore, etc.’s
  3. “Don’t apologize for yourself.”  This is a lesson I needed years ago before cold calling with my first print.  My opening sales salvo to the frame shop owner: “You’re probably not interested in buying my new limited edition Morning Walk, but here it is.” My good friend who went along for moral support me gave a gentle talking to after we left the shop.
  4. You don’t need a  fancy”spiel” to begin the convo with the busy professional interior designer–just some brief small talk about the weather and jump right into  “What kind of project are you working on? What colors are you using? What sizes will work best?”
  5. Designers think differently about composition than I do as an artist. The designer looks for art that “reflects and enhances every other component of the overall design.” I am reminded that my art, as lovely and wonderful as it is,  is going to be one detail in the overall design– as well as a smaller item in the budget. Of course I would love for the art to be a hefty item in the budget–who needs all those sofas and drapes and credenzas anyway?!
  6. To frame or not to frame—that is the question. “The reality is that taking that step (framing) often makes the sale more difficult.” I love this–I have spent so much $$ on framing and the truth is that “if the ID doesn’t like the mat or the frame” then I would lose the sale. Furthermore “ID’s are used to seeing art in the raw.” I don’t have to fancy it up like you might do for the retail customer.
  7. ID’s love multiples.–This one lights my fire because I just painted 100 6×6 paintings of florals, landscapes–all similar in feel but each different. 🙂
  8. Think in terms of creating different lines of my work.
  9. Do carry my fellow artists art with me in my portfolio when calling on ID’s. And have them do the same for me.
  10. Don’t try to sell snow scenes to Floridians!
  11. And one of my favorite subtitles “Stay Flexible, Calm and Diversify.”

I highly recommend this charming book–How to Sell Art to Interior Designers.



Author: Margaret Huntley Harrison

I’m a painter using my gifts to transform the seemingly ordinary into the beautiful and extraordinary. What I love more than anything is tracking down, creating, and spreading the beauty in our amazing world! And I LOVE helping you find and spread your beauty into your home, your family and your world. Art for sale: Margaret Huntley Harrison

6 thoughts on “How to Sell Art to Interior Designers: Book Review”

  1. A wonderful review! Thank you. Did you post it on Amazon? Reviews there are very important. They help prospective buyers decide if they want to buy. Like a good review of your work by an art critic they are pure gold.

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