Interior Design and the use of Photographs

Interior design is all about style, quality and personal preferences; but finding an inspired ‘look and feel’ to suit a client’s brief, and delivering precisely what a client wants even when they can’t describe it themselves is never easy. We sometimes need a few clues:

Most people want their homes to mirror their own personality. They look for features which echo their likes, loves and longings. Pictures, and specifically photographs, can play a huge part in ‘scene setting’. Holiday snaps, family portraits, familiar landscapes all come together to create an ambience that reflects the home owner.

Traditionally photography, in the form of framed matt or gloss images has always had a place in our homes but many interior designers are now keen to see what digital technology can do to enhance the versatility of displayed photographic images.

The obvious route is to take an appropriate photograph, digitally enhance it and then enlarge it to poster size. Evidence of success can be found in any teenager’s bedroom. Let’s face it; size is definitely important when it comes to interior design.

Many interior designers have already experimented with giant photographic prints produced in strips with a large format printer. This technique, pioneered by hoarding sign printers and developed further by exhibition and display companies has also given us full drop floor to ceiling banners – just visit any major exhibition to see examples.

Floor to ceiling banners as an interior design accessory have actually been around for a long time. Full drop brass rubbings mounted on hessian, made by hand and very popular in the 1970s, are a good early example of people personalising their homes using big, bold images. A number of design houses were quick to bring a range of full ceiling height, photographic reproduction ‘rubbings’ to market.

Photographers simply can’t resist the opportunity to enlarge their work. One enterprising London photographer has actually built an incredible giant ink-jet printer, housed in an old warehouse by the Thames, which can reproduce his avant-garde digital images on genuine canvasses bigger than a house. Great for massive corporate atriums but it could be a tad excessive in suburbia!

The issue is simply one of scale as the ‘photographic image on canvas’ issue is definitely worth exploration. Portrait painters and landscape artists have traditionally used canvas as a foundation for their work. A glorious painting on canvas is rightly perceived as an expensive, luxury item and far removed from the same image painted onto board or paper; but can the same be said for photography on canvas?

Of course it can because, despite critic’s protestations, art is always ‘in the eye of the beholder’. The added dimension offered by canvas media and additional perceived value of a canvas photographic print lifts it out of the realm of simple photography and into the art print arena.

So what are you waiting for? Next time you have a client who doesn’t know what they want, simply digitise a selection of their own photographs and have them converted to canvas. Use appropriate images to lift dull areas and bring light to dark corners. Family group and favourite pet pictures can be an amazing resource.

Finally, don’t be afraid to commission a special image for a particular location. Photographic costs are relatively low and the same image can be used as a foundation for a number of related features.