Interior Design

Kit Kemp on successfully displaying art at home

Interior designer and hotelier Kit has a knack for weaving original works and prints into her room schemes

(Image credit: Photography / Courtesy of Kit Kemp)

Kit Kemp was once quoted as saying 'I don't believe in beige'. It's a statement affirmed by the unashamedly maximalist interiors that the homeware designer and co-owner of Firmdale Hotels puts together time and again. A Kit Kemp interior is always a unique treat, a polished yet playful combination of fabrics, textures and one-of-a-kind furniture.

  • See: How to display – show off artwork, ornaments and cherished finds

One key aspect of Kit's rooms is art – her style icon is Gustaf Klimt, and she's a huge fan of Chilean artist Iván Navarro. Look closely at her Instagram feed and you'll notice how prints and paintings are used frequently and in a multitude of ways, some deliberately disruptive, some harmonious.

Here, we shed light on some of Kit's most inspired uses of art in the home.

  • Love this? Take a tour of Kit Kemp's home – be inspired by her inimitable creativity


(Image credit: Mel Yates/TI Media)

1. Use art as a jumping-off point

Art is often bc perceived as the final flourish to a decorating scheme, but it can also be the statement around which everything else is designed. Kit has take the latter approach here, picking out the monochrome palette of this canvas by Grisaille in upholstery and accessories. 

2. Explore different mediums

Kit isn't afraid to try new ideas – such as curating a room at Somerset House using pieces only made from wool, in celebration of Wool Week. The scenes above the fireplace depict London and were created by textile artist Anna Raymond. Kit is such a fan, one of Anna's works takes pride of place in the Kemp's Knightsbridge home.

3. Use art as a focus when zoning a large-scale space

Kit uses this trick in her larger hotel suites and communal areas such as lobbies and restaurants, and it will work just as well in your open-plan living room. In this case, she has used a painting by Eileen Cooper as a focal point, then arranged furniture around it to create an intimate sitting room within a room.

4. Display a series

Framing a large-scale, original work of art is one way to make an impact, but it's far from your only option. A uniform display that incorporates a series of prints can be just as effective. These folk-inspired images are available as part of Kemp's Bergdorf Goodman collection.

5. It's all about the frame

Kit works closely with her long-term framer, Marcus Wells, on many of her most striking displays. 'He feels free to show me new ideas and I'm always happy to suggest unusual combinations.' Judging by the results, it's a match made in interiors heaven.

Follow Kit @kitkempdesignthread

Amy Cutmore
Editor-in-Chief, Homes Audience

Amy Cutmore is Editor-in-Chief, Audience, across Future's Homes portfolio. A homes and interiors journalist of 20 years standing, she has spent much of that time writing about technology, appliances and kitchens. While other people count how many countries they've visited, Amy tots up how many countries' washing machine factories she's toured (it's eight by the way, from South Korea to Slovenia). She can't leave the house without a decent pair of noise-cancelling headphones, and is always ready to explain an acronym – be it QLED, DAB or HDMI.