Neon Themes in Decorating

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Neon Themes in Decorating

Eva R. Marienchild · Mar 22, 2016

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What, exactly IS neon and why is it so popular in decorating circles?

Neon is a bright idea whose time has come. It’s the use of effervescent color, whether on your furniture, as a paint selection or in the form of actual neon lights. The result? An eclectic and mood-enhancing décor which is ahead of its time.

Neon – The Mood Is Dramatic

When you use neon colors, you are making an undeniable statement. “This is a piece I feel confident about, and I want you to not only see its function, but its panache” is what you might be saying.

What Neon Isn’t. The antithesis of neon in decorating would be a couple of all-purpose beige or plaid La-Z-Boys or traditional couches.

Now, there is nothing WRONG with traditional or old-fashioned themes, but think of the feeling you get walking into a rustic cabin in the woods, one furnished with an upholstered settee. You feel comforted and welcomed – sort of like a visit to grandma and grandpa’s house. As wonderful as that feeling is, that’s nowhere near the effect which neon creates.

With neon furniture, you’re all about dramatic tones and simplified lines. You seek comfort, yes, and you certainly wish to welcome your guests, but the neon décor itself is vibrant enough to serve as a backdrop to the arrival of the guests.

Think of neon décor as theatre in the round…with your visitors and yourself as the protagonists.

Complement and Balance

First and foremost, you must keep the surprise of color in perspective. An image that potent both needs a complement and balance.

To complement the neon theme, where ever you place a splash of bright neon-colored furniture or drapery, arrange something nearby in a similar hue which the eye can be immediately drawn to.

For instance, if you have a long recliner in hot pink, a print in the same color a bit further back, perhaps on a wall perpendicular to the recliner, will enhance the piece. (Not too close, or the effect is lost.) This allows the tone to “sweep” over a distance.

To balance the scheme, add muted counterparts. You might select a secondary and a third color to transition to a slightly subtler mood. Want a primary neon color of hot pink? You can underscore the treatment with a softer caramel beige and snowflake white to “transition”onto a muted note.

A Few Decorating Tips

Ready to wend your way through neon? Here are a few hints.

Avoid Overdoing It. A color which is pulsating with color—like tangerine orange (or black cherry purple, or lime green), only BRIGHT as a disco ball—can’t be wallpapered all over the place.

The essence will totally be watered down if you make it a mono-theme.

Rather than splashing the neon hue on your four walls, position color-charged pieces, like a lampshade, or a pillow, here and there. Note: You’ll need more than one or two objects to pick up and carry the theme.

How about making it five or seven objets d’ art? Find matching baskets, a framed watercolor, a rug with neon stripes, a few flowers and a bedspread with a bit of the neon color in the design.

Select Your Neon Pieces Carefully. You might wish to stay away from buying a wastepaper basket in your neon color of choice, as you’ll want to draw the eye to integral pieces. Wastebaskets are seen as removing items that one has no further use for. A see-through or wire mesh wastepaper basket might work, however.

Let One Wall Shine. We’ve already touched on how you shouldn’t splash your four walks with your neon theme, but let’s not forget the oomph of one single neon wall.

Lights, Camera, Action. If you’d like to make a smashingly persuasive color statement, go for neon lights…which are, after all, where neon, the concept, originated.

Care to aim a piercing neon light at that Japanese lantern-style window shade? The slats will come alive, and the neon color will stream onto the wall above or behind it, depending on where you’ve positioned the light.

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