As the world gradually emerges out of lockdown, the world of interior design’s array of colourful rooms serve to provide reassurance amidst the uncertainty ahead, positivity when there’s anxiety in the air, and a playful spirit to get the nation in the right state of mind as our favourite bars and restaurants prepare to welcome back one and all.
Here, LuxDeco interior designer Joanne Quinn divulges some of her favourite design choices that will put a spring back into your step.
Image Credit: Summer Thornton
Playful Colour Palettes
Whether it’s a colourful living room that always helps the party to last a bit longer or zingy bathroom that takes you to the Tropics with its emerald green gloss tiles and palm print wallpaper combination, the hues in a room are the perfect place to start having some fun.
Colourful rooms come in all shapes and sizes, so don’t be fooled into thinking that only the large living rooms can take a dramatic dose of pigment. In fact, a prudent piece of advice often offered by interior designers is to really go to town on one of the smallest spaces in the whole home—the downstairs guest bathroom or cloakroom. It’s in here that many clients test their bravery, experimenting with colourful wallpaper that they might never have dared to try in their bedroom. If this scenario rings true, think about how it makes you feel and whether that playfulness could be taken into an additional room to maximise on the spirit. After all, colour is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal to dramatically alter the character of a space.
Take bubblegum pink and ochre into a dining room and chances are, the company you keep in here and even the food you serve will be radically different to a straight-laced regency blue scheme. Nothing says cocktail hour more. Or see the Summer Thornton Cerulean blue and raspberry sorbet shade sitting room (above) in her client’s 1929 Rosario Candela designed building in Chicago. Imagine walking through this on your way out to work each day—spirits soared, no question, and a bright living room idea to steal, no question.
Image Credit: Greg Natale
Upbeat Patterns to Mix and Match
Pattern clashes are a surefire way to change the pace of your decor. A home that combines contemporary geometrics with Art Deco pineapple motifs is a home that is dynamic and gregarious. It’s a conversation starter—a reminder to not take life too seriously, to let our hair down and to have fun.
As with colour, go as zany with your pairings as suits your personal style.
But a heady mix of pattern doesn’t have to be in the realm of wacky to have a mood-boosting effect. For a gentler approach, make sure your prints have points in common, such as colour, which will make them sit together far more naturally. A sherbet-shade of floral fabric can sit surprisingly well aside an oversized 1920s fan motif coloured in the same tones, and won’t dominate your room. But rest assured, when noticed, design kudos will be duly presented.
Image Credit: Kelly Wearstler
Unexpected Furniture Pairings
Next up, furniture choices.
It’s important to distinguish that happy rooms don’t necessarily equate to tantalisingly experimental interiors. Boldness is of course not the sole route to achieving beauty.
One of the most dependable ways to ensure your furniture selections will bring a smile to your face on the regular is to really take the time to satisfy some sort of nostalgia. That could be sourcing an antique armoire and dressing table for the bedroom that brings up the memory of you playing dress up as a child in your grandmother’s bedroom. Or perhaps homing in on which exact aspects of that hotel room you stayed in once upon a time were the source of your greatest admiration. Was it the Mid-Century side table and coffee duo in the suite you splurged on for your honeymoon? If so, when pride of place in your sitting room, they will transport your mind back to a very special memory, time after time.
In essence, memory lane is your key to unlocking the most meaningful furniture pairings.
Image Credit: Sasha Bikoff/Francis Sultana
Experimental Art Installations
For many, art is a source of everlasting pleasure. Collectibles, heirlooms, pieces to take with you from home to home and appreciate in a new light as the years go by.
Bright wall art, whether cubist, surrealist or even renaissance (where brightness is more typically experienced through the glint of gold leaf or through the glint given by oils), is guaranteed to breathe fresh life into any room.
It all comes down to colour psychology and how brightness, shade, tint, tone and overall colour temperature can alter your experience of a given hue. Warm colours such as red, orange and yellow are especially linked to happiness, optimism and energy, as are bright, light pastels such as peach, soft pink and lilac. Studies show they all release the happy hormone, dopamine. Colour theorists also suggest that blending multiple primary and secondary colours—be it in an outfit, a colour scheme or indeed a painting—will produce a happier outcome, so if you're working with an art buyer, suggest they hunt high and low for works that tick these boxes.
Take the approach of Sasha Bikoff—the New York designer known for her vivacious, maximalist handwriting—who chose to design in the extreme with her addition to the Kips Bay Decorator Show House. Rococo meets Memphis Milano best describes her subversive blend of zig-zags, polka dots and pyramid shapes seen from walkway walls to staircase carpet.
Image Credit: Young Huh
Immersive Wall Murals
And finally, taking the colour palette and pattern conversation one level up, all hail the heady effect of the wall mural.
By paying homage to one of the world’s oldest decorative art forms, you grant your home a sense of theatre and opulence. There’s the classic Chinoiserie look, the old-world map-style mural, or trompe l'oeil panelling as a more pared-back take on the traditional mural.
Bear in mind, because wall murals and a room’s interior architecture are intrinsically linked, they might not suit every space. Consult with a designer for advice here or if commissioning a bespoke creation, a muralist will be able to provide the green light (or not, as the case may be). On the whole, dining rooms, hallways and bathrooms particularly suit this painterly style of decor where there’s a little less to distract by way of furniture and accessories. Or, if you opt for a more minimal mural wallpaper, a restful bedroom space might make for the perfect setting. This is where the hand-painted mural can give rise to pretty rooms such as cute bedrooms for girls, with a delicately-does-it illustration serving as a bedtime story that shall always result in a very happily-ever-after ending.
Header Image: Peter Mikic