• Anna Proctor

A flash of neon

A colour is as strong as the impression it creates.’ Ivan Albright.

Bright colour is life-enhancing. It lifts the spirit on a sunny day as well as on a gloomy one. It is visual music for our eyes. Neon is the colour of youth and vitality; it’s the chromographic equivalent of a can of energy drink. Just thinking about it is getting me excited!

We crave colours that can be found in nature’s exotic blooms and feathers but which we much more readily associate with the fast changing modern world; bright packaging advertising, hip-hop fashion, plastic and neon city lights.

Fluorescent colours are a bit like chilli peppers; a little goes a long way. Not everyone has a large tolerance for 'chilli' as such but it’s not as hard to incorporate into an interior scheme as you might think. Use accents of neon brights with a more subdued palette to give extra impact. Using a smidgen of these shades against a muted backdrop, such as bluish grey or perhaps adding a touch to window reveals or the back of a book shelf will look modern and effective. Paint the inside of your drawers in fluorescent colours- a little secret to enjoy every time you pull open them. The inside of display cupboards will benefit from painted colour to throw the contents into relief. Neon paint is not widely available but can be sourced from the UV centre. It’s Fluorescent brushable paint glows under UV light as well as remaining vivid in normal conditions.

Neon Saltwater, a Cornish College of the arts trained Interior designer a young up and coming artist, has amassed quiet a following with her digital renderings of clean pastel rooms with fluorescent lights bouncing off their reflective surfaces. When describing her work, she says she has very viviid dreams of architecture, the structure comes naturally as it’s so real in her head. The interiors she creates just glow with such vibrancy, almost like art installations or dreamy film sets. Take me there now!

Interior render by Neon Saltwater

Although I have never visited ever since I first set eyes (digitally) on the interiors of Tonight Josephine, where the interiors of the cocktail bar are filled with neon edge and slogans, making the most eye popping venue. With the current situation I'm just dreaming of going out to a cocktail bar full of people dressed up right now!

Interior of Tonight Josephine

Although when decorating your home, its best to not go completely ballistic with neon everywhere; it will quickly look tired and be less than easy on the eye. As neon may not reflect well on human skin first thing in the morning (!!) it is best avoided in great expanses. Small doses will look fresh and have more power. The synthetic quality of neon contrasts well with neutrals; beiges, greys and off-whites, acting as true highlights, giving a vibrancy and freshness. The E8 table by Mathias Hahn illustrates this balance perfectly with its hot yellow edge.

E8 table by Matthias Hahn

Cushions are the perfect way of dipping your toe with neon - I absolutely love the Fez Circles cushion by Bombay duck. I particularly like how it works with the beige background colour and contrasts beautifully with the turquoise. One (or three) would look right at home in my kids bedroom!

Fez circles cushion by Bombay Duck

Of course the obvious way of incorporating some neon into your interior is with an illuminated sign; a trend that shows no sign of going away. Try Rockett St George for various designs including personalised ones. For a more budget friendly option you can opt for battery operated faux neon lights from Flying Tiger for example. I recently bought a fluorescent heart for my kids room.

Personalised neon sign Rockett St George

This is a look to be employed with caution. A flash of neon is pretty but funkily punky. Too much is tacky. Neon works best in strong graphic shapes, to draw attention to certain features. Like your fluorescent highlighter at school, use it to pick out key features. Like a visual exclamation mark punctuating the space!

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