Before establishing Saal Design 29 years ago, I studied Fine Art and worked as a watercolour artist and gallery curator. Art has always been my one true passion. However, I found the life of an artist unfulfilling. The hours of solitary studio time day after day were difficult and I craved human interaction and collaboration. It was this that motivated my transition into the world of interiors. As an interior designer I am able to collaborate with every client and create a different kind of art. I can apply all my artistic knowledge of colour psychology, pattern and shape and help someone create a home. This work was fulfilling and realised all of my passions.

Although my role had changed, artwork always remained one of my main sources of inspiration. Seeing a stunning piece of art wakes me up and revitalizes my mind. It feeds my work as an interior designer and encourages me to push the boundaries. I think artwork can do this for anyone, whether they have a creative mind or not. 

Paul Gauguin,  The Wave , 1888

Paul Gauguin, The Wave, 1888

Frank Auerbach,  Head of Gerda Boehm,  1965

Frank Auerbach, Head of Gerda Boehm, 1965

Bowie once said that art was “the only thing” he’d ever wanted to own. “It has always been for me a stable nourishment. I use it. It can change the way I feel in the mornings,” he said. “The same work can change me in different ways, depending on what I’m going through.” Art has a powerful ability to effect our subconscious and this makes the task of selecting artwork for the home incredibly important. 


Colour: The colour palette of a piece of art can affect us significantly. If colours contrast heavily with the rest of a room, it can make the viewer feel unsettled. It is important to take the characteristics and psychology of colour into account. Bright colours are generally happy and exciting and work best in rooms with a lot of natural light. Certain tones of blue make us feel more awake. Lighter colours and greens are calming. Dark colours create a more subdued, sultry atmosphere.

Jo Taylor , Blood Horse II  The light colours of this piece, along with the elements of blue and strong lines have a refreshing and energizing effect on the mind.

Jo Taylor, Blood Horse II

The light colours of this piece, along with the elements of blue and strong lines have a refreshing and energizing effect on the mind.

What does it mean: I find the most interesting pieces of art are ones that mean something to its owner. Whether it is an investment piece or a framed doodle, it is valuable and important. It has been selected with thought or from a gut instinct that couldn’t be ignored - it isn’t simply filling a space on the wall.  Psychologist Samuel Gosling did a study that revealed that the space we create for ourselves can tell a stranger more about us in 15 minutes than if we spent quality time socializing with them over the course of weeks. Our homes are an extension of ourselves and what we choose to put on the wall tells a story.

Dame Barbara Hepworth,  Sea Form (Porthmeor) , 1958

Dame Barbara Hepworth, Sea Form (Porthmeor), 1958

Watercolour of a twig I loved the texture of and couldn't leave behind

Watercolour of a twig I loved the texture of and couldn't leave behind

Placement: Less is more. Try to give the artwork the wall space it deserves so that the eye can truly take it in. If you have more artwork than wall space then maybe try to rotate what you have on the walls instead of cramming them all on. This is also great even if you only have a few pieces. Seeing the artwork in a new space is exciting and gives the viewer an opportunity to appreciate the piece, quite literally, in a new light.

Please enquire for details

Please enquire for details

Nancy Knight ,  Abstract Watercolour

Nancy Knight, Abstract Watercolour

Even with this knowledge, the process of finding artwork can be a daunting one. However, art sourcing for my clients is one of my favourite tasks. I love exploring galleries and discovering new artists. It is a great honor to be trusted with something so personal. I also feel very privileged when clients ask me to work with art they have already collected. I love when a piece of art is the source of inspiration for an entire project. I have had clients come to me having invested in their first piece of art and we have gone on to develop a whole scheme and room flow to support it. They loved their artwork and now a had a space that enhanced and elevated it. I feel very lucky when I get to share art with a client and collaborate in this way.

Pablo Picasso,  Portrait of Dora Maar , 1937

Pablo Picasso, Portrait of Dora Maar, 1937

Kandinsky,  Composition VIII , 1923

Kandinsky, Composition VIII, 1923

Pablo Picasso said ‘the purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.’ This is why art is my ultimate inspiration, it exercises my soul and gives me perspective. I believe it is one of the most important tools available to an interior designer and to the world.

If you are seeking any help with artwork or art sourcing, don’t hesitate to get in touch:

Some artwork that has recently inspired me: