I'm a child of the mid '80s, which means I'm quite familiar with the less than stellar connotations that neon possesses. When done wrong, I get twitch-inducing flashbacks of the head-to-toe neon fashions that were so common in the early '90s. It was as if everyone was just ready and waiting for the black light to come out so they could shine as bright as possible. But when shocking, electric colors are done right (i.e. in very, very small doses), they can take an interior's decor to the next level.
I'm a firm believer that there should always be something in a room or vignette that doesn't quite belong. That's what makes things interesting and unpredictable. Those moments that make people do a double take. That's what a flash of purposefully placed neon does to a space.
In this current climate of pastel everything, it's not popular to profess your love for anything other than blush and other hushed hues. Sure, I like some pastels here and there, but you know what would really shake up a room full of whispering shades? Some neon. A neon tray...a neon lamp cord...maybe even some neon pom poms on a throw pillow (on a blush velvet sofa, no less!).
Go wild, let loose, bust out of your pastel happy place and try some home decor that would make the highlighters in your desk jealous. It might seem scary, like things could get kind of crazy, but we promise with just a little restraint, you'll get a big style pay off. Read on for a little inspiration to get you going:
The Edinburgh home of interiors blogger Emily Murray is my happy place. Her addition of hot pink trim on the blue spotted arm chairs, as well as the "play" neon sign adds just enough modernity to this traditional room to make things really interesting.
Another image from Emily Murray's home (also shown above), this bright green glass bowl injects some energy into a soft, sweet vignette.
From Design Milk, the office of Latvian interior and product designer Anna Butele is a study in juxtaposition: rustic, worn wood doors and lots of white come alive with the neon orange and yellow trim of the moldings and mirror. I want to note that adding a touch of neon to a mostly neutral room always works wonders (and doesn't feel insane).
In this Amsterdam home featured on Vtwonen, classic furniture silhouettes transform into something totally new with a simple neon paint job. The bright hues manage to bounce your eyes around the image.
Here's a great way to incorporate neon and pastels. Adding just the tiniest dash of neon yellow to the legs of this bed spotted on cotemaison breaks up the white between the bedding and the floor (and it plays nice with the softer colors throughout the room).
Sure, the owners of this kitchen from Real Simple could have opted for a more subtle light fixer (and fruit bowl...and art), but they didn't, and all those shockingly colored elements totally shake up this mostly neutral space.
The Los Angeles home of designer Amber Lewis was bound to be gorgeous (I'm a huge fan of her work). So when I spotted this shot on Style Files of her living room, I was pumped to see that she broke up the vintage and worldly textiles with a jolt of completely unexpected neon acrylic chairs (they appear to be petite and perfectly sized for a child...lucky kid!).
Sometimes, all it takes is a little neon pink tape around an uber traditional piece of artwork to completely change the vibe of a room. I just love that use, seen here in the bedroom of Eyeswoon's Athena Calderone.
Blogger Jeanne Chan of Shop Sweet Things found inspiration while picking up some macarons at a chic bakery; after seeing a white piece of pottery with one handle painted hot pink, she sought to bring the same look to her own home. This is such a simple idea and easy to recreate for yourself. A pitcher like this would be perfect for flowers, or simply on its own.
And finally, a little fluorescent orange, via Planete Deco. This vivid piece completely makes the all-white room, elevating the space from simple and neutral to showstopping.