How to Sell Art to Interior Designers

Dear Visual Artist,

If you are like most artists, you’ll agree with one of your most significant challenges to sustaining your career is finding a steady source of qualified buyers. Quite often, the difference between real success and struggling mediocrity, or worse, is in how well artists develop active sales channels.

Sell Art to Interior Designers

Traditional sales channels often are not enough.

Generally, visual artists pursue art sales in galleries, online sites, in non-gallery retail stores, or direct to buyers. Unfortunately, too many miss the profitable opportunity to make easily repeatable sales to interior designers. Most fail to recognize the vast size of the market, (There are four times more designers than galleries in the U.S.), or they don’t try the design market because they don’t know how to get started.

No insider secrets selling art to interior designersThere are no insider secrets in learning how to sell art to interior designers.

Success is all in the knowing what to do, what to say and where to go. Now, you have a resource you can use to help you start selling your art to designers.

My name is Barney Davey. My good friend and co-author, Dick Harrison, and I have put together a useful guide with practical information on how you can start successfully selling your art to interior designers. You will tap into Dick’s personal experience. With no special skills or previous sales expertise, Dick launched and enjoyed a very lucrative career selling his art and that of artists he represented to interior designers. During his 20+ years as an art rep, he built a house with a studio from his earnings. Dick is living proof you too can make a very comfortable living selling your art to interior designers.

Designers’ needs for new art never stops.

Once you realize designers have an ongoing need for new art and an open budget to buy, we believe you find the encouragement to stake out your share of this enormous market. To make it as stress-free and doable as possible for you, we have broken the process into manageable steps for you to follow.

Here is an excerpt is taken directly from the book where Dick tells you precisely what to say when you call on designers.

Now, I know every artist wants to know, “What did you say?” I did not complicate things. I always asked to speak to the owner or designer by name if I knew it. As mentioned in the book, many firms have the designer’s name right in the business or corporate title. That made it simple and straightforward.

Here’s a near-verbatim rendition of my trusty phone script: “Hi, I’m Dick Harrison and I have some beautiful art I think may be a resource to you in your design work. Are you working on anything you need to see art for now?”

If the answer was “Yes,” I asked: “Is there a convenient time I could come and show the art to you? You’ll know in less than 15 minutes if what I have will help you.”

If the designer wasn’t in or the receptionist couldn’t connect me at that time, I’d just say, “My name is Dick Harrison. Could you ask so-and-so to call me back at this number?” I found over the years that I was more likely to get a return call if the “decision maker” thought I might be a potential client, and not a vendor.

If I did speak to the designer and the answer was “No, not at this time,” I’d say, “If you have something coming up that may need art, can you suggest a convenient time I might get back in touch?”

If there were a suggested date or general time given, of course I’d make a note and be sure it was on my calendar so I’d remember. If no possible later date were given, I’d end the conversation by asking, “Is it all right if I get back to you from time to time when you may have needs for some really nice art? I think you’ll like what I have to show.” Usually the answer was “Yes.” I’d make a note of that conversation and with whom I’d spoken, along with the date. That entry constituted “permission.”

Using that simple phone approach, on my very first day as an art rep, I set up appointments with five local designers at convenient times for them. I then drove a few minutes to each one, showed them my available work and made five sales.

My success wasn’t due to my excellent salesmanship. Rather it was because of the art I brought for them to see. Essentially the art sold itself. I admit that was a very lucky day for me. The reality is if I had only gotten one of the five to buy art, it would have been a good start.

Your small investment in knowledge today will pay you dividends for the rest of your career. 

You can also order the book on Amazon and Kindle. Get a free copy of the book in audio format from Audible here

How to Sell Art to Interior DesignersWHO SHOULD READ THIS BOOK?

Visual artists who create paintings, photography, sculpture and other fine art who want ongoing success selling art into the interior design market should read the book.


Interior design professionals buy millions in art sales annually. Whether for single residences or large commercial projects, they have constant need to include art in their finished designs.


Readers will learn low-stress ways to find and approach designers. You will find easy-to-follow instructions, so you know what to say, and what to expect when you make contact.


Making work that sells well in the design market comes from understanding designers’ needs. You will learn how to gain invaluable insights on what kind of art designer’s need by after the authors’ suggestions for establishing mutually respectful, and profitable relationships with them.


Selling art to designers is different from selling to galleries and collectors. They are usually are quite busy, know what they need, and are quick to decide. You will gain insider knowledge and pick up useful tips on how to become proficient presenting to designers.


Knowing how the entire design market works to help artists choose the best prospects for their business model. Corporate art consultants often place multiple works in commercial design projects. Design centers have businesses that cater to designers and offer potential wholesale sales opportunities. If you have the wish and can produce the work, you can enjoy success selling your artwork in all these channels.

You can order the book on Amazon and Kindle

Get a free copy of the book in audio format from Audible here



Barney Davey began advising artists on business and marketing in 1988. He worked in a design center art gallery that catered to designers. He is the author of four bestselling books on art marketing. As a full-time art rep for more than 20 years, Dick Harrison successfully sold his and the art of other artists to interior designers. He is the author of Sales Tips for Artists and other books and services for artists.

Three decades of art business experience in pictures.

bestselling books by barney davey

Bestselling art marketing books by Barney Davey  - Click the books to purchase.

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