September 2nd, 2014

Courtesy of Decorator Kishani Perera, on, this interview offers advice on decorating for and around fine art. At Gallery MAR, we often are brought in as the “finishing touch” to a new home’s decor. But when you begin with a work of art, and base your decorating decisions around the painting,,the results are spectacular.

Los Angeles-based interior designer Kishani Perera is not only an author, boutique proprietress, and decorator to the stars, she’s also an art lover. Perara works with celebrities such as Rachel BilsonMolly SimsJosh Duhamel,Kate BosworthBen and Christine StillerJason Statham and Rosie Huntington Whiteley, and Emily Deschanel to create youthful yet tasteful interiors—but she keeps an eye toward her clients art collections as well. 

When working with art collectors, what are some factors to keep in mind when planning a room? 

Non-art-collectors focus first on the interiors, thinking on the patterns, colors, and textures of the textiles, the overall look and palette, then consider adding art in to complete the space. But when working with serious art collectors, I find that the art is their primary focus in designing the room; the furnishings are secondary. If they have a valuable piece, in particular, we develop a palette that doesn’t compete with the piece, neutrals and solid versus patterns and vibrant colors that might overpower it. As a designer, I don’t feel that art has to match an interior, or vice versa, but it must compliment. Art should be its own entity within a room. My best advice is to allow the art to breathe, not to clutter the space around a special piece in particular, and to let it shine.

What decor advice would you give to those looking to enhance the presentation of their art collection? 

I find with art there’s strength in numbers, so I like to group a smaller pieces together for effect. Often there is a concern that by grouping several pieces together, each will lose its individual impact, but in fact the opposite is true. When grouped with complimentary pieces, the collection can tell a story, or at the very least create conversation and interest, drawing the viewer further in than if displayed independently. Framing is also not something to be ignored, and I take great care to select just the right frame for each piece not only to bring out the beauty of the artwork itself but to add a component to the design of the space.

Your book shows how to mix old and new, high and low all within the same surroundingshow does art fit into that equation?

My design philosophy is based on the idea that layering creates a unique space, and art is one of the most important components of the layering process. I find art in a variety of places, in galleries near and far as well as online. The provenance of a piece is not as important to me as the emotion it evokes, so if I find a beautiful piece at a flea market, it’s just as valuable to me as one that I purchase with a noteworthy pedigree.