The array of ‘Instagrammable’ interior pictures posted across social media has spurred numerous décor trends such as animal print, terrazzo tiling and statement ceilings. However, the latest must-have home accessory is neon signs.
Although neon is often associated with the eighties, in recent years neon signs have made appearances in retail stores, bars, restaurants and homes.
In a recent survey conducted by NeonPlus, almost 30% of people said adding a pop of colour is the best reason to display neon in the home. While neon signs can be vibrant and colourful, they can also be understated to suit minimalist designs.
Nearly one in five respondents said neon makes a home more modern and trendy. However, neon can emulate both vintage and contemporary styles making the feature suitable for a variety of interior styles such as shabby chic or industrial.
Elizabeth says: “We’ve slowly come to realise over the last few decades that we don’t have to follow the latest contemporary fashion to be stylish. I think we’ve learned to embrace the unusual and the quirky. We can appreciate good designs from every era and pick and choose which pieces we want in our home and combine them to create something unique.”
Where in the home is most suited to neon?
As neon signs are often used in bars and clubs, they can help create a party atmosphere in a home. A dining room, entertainment room or kitchen is the perfect placement for neon if you want to impress your guests.
Graeme Hoole, head of product development at Neon Plus said: “While phrases such as ‘Gin o’clock’ or ‘But first, coffee’ can be used in a kitchen to create a social space, a sign that says ‘get out of my kitchen’ forms the perfect place to cook up a storm.”
A sign which displays your favourite lyrics or quote showcases your personality and can create a talking point when hosting friends. Just under 16% of survey respondents said the best reason for displaying neon in the home is to add a personal touch. Nearly one-fifth of people surveyed said the top reason to have neon in the home was to create a unique design feature.
Elizabeth Parker, interior designer and founder of Parker Interiors, says: “The glow of neon light is quite unlike any other form of lighting. It can be both vibrant and subtle. These days we embrace the mood changing effects of coloured lights.”
Neon can create a cosy environment with a welcoming phrase and comforting colours.
“A sign that says ‘let’s stay home’ in yellow can form a relaxing ambience, which is ideal for an evening spent curled up on the sofa in the living room. Neon can also be used in the hallway to welcome guests on arrival,” Graeme adds.
“Simple neon signs that say ‘Shhh’ or ‘And breathe’ in white or blue can turn a bathroom into a tranquil and serene haven.”
Neon can also create a romantic setting. A pink sign above the bed which says ‘this is where the magic happens’ is perfect for intimate evenings. Some couples choose to showcase a neon sign they displayed at their wedding to remind them of their special day. Nearly one in twelve said the ability to savour a memory was the top reason to have neon in the home.
If you’re worried that neon could be fragile or expensive to run, LED lighting, known as faux neon can be used as an alternative, which is cheaper and safer to use. Using plastic tubing instead of glass, it is easy to design, quick to build and often more suitable for custom-made signs.
What decorative features complement neon signs?
Neon can be made in a variety of colours such as millennial pink, red and white. The surrounding colours in the room can contrast or match the neon. While white neon against a white wall is perfect for creating an understated look, a bright orange sign against a dark wall instantly grabs people’s attention.
Graeme says: “Homeowners are becoming more experimental and bold with their home design and neon signs provide the opportunity to express creativity and character.”
For a glamorous style, pair a neon sign with luxurious velvet furniture, marble furniture and gold light fixtures.
Elizabeth says: “Couple a wall-hung neon sign with an ornate gilt frame to create a real work of art or place it on a mirror-topped sideboard to double the effect. Neon looks great next to contrasting styles. A very elegant stone bust or a traditional ornament will look edgy sat next to neon.
“If your home is minimalist and you would prefer a softer approach, then you can buy purpose-made display boxes which have a slight smokiness to the glass. This mutes the neon slightly so that it is not so bright.”
Neon signs are versatile design features that can enhance a room. It’s the perfect opportunity to express your personality, whether in a loud or subtle way.