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5 Ways to Work the Neon Interior Design Trend

As we all know, the world of design is multi-discipline. But what about trends? Do the same trends find their way across to other design-led industries? TV and movies are hugely influential and shows such as Stranger Things have brought back some nostalgic trends in both fashion and interiors. Had anyone been allowed to venture out of the house last Spring and Summer, they’d have faced an array of vivid colour in highstreet fashion stores, with neon pegged as one of the hottest looks of 2020. Perhaps luckily for all of us, the predicted trend never really took hold in fashion terms, but neon interiors are one of the most searched trends of 2021 so far.

The Origins of Neon

When we say neon, we don’t just mean neon lights, but it seems remiss not to give them a little mention as the colours associated with the neon interior design trend are directly descended from the traditional neon light.

Neon, the chemical, is actually orange-red and in a transparent glass tube it becomes classic red, hence all original neon signs being red in colour. Any sign that wasn’t red wasn’t actually neon. Other noble gasses were used to create the other classic ‘neon’ sign colours – Helium was used for pink, Krypton for yellow/green, Xenon for lavender blue and Argon for light blue. Other colours were eventually created by adding fluorescent powders or by colouring the glass.

neon guitar sign

Right, science class is over, back to the neon interiors! Here are our top tips for working with neon in your home:

Pair with Pastels

Neon can be overwhelming if you don’t pair it with more muted tones. Think 80’s shell suits, fluorescent ra-ra skirts and chunky luminous plastic jewellery. You wouldn’t wear it all now so why would you do it to you home??

Incorporating neon colours into a pastel colour palette can give the bright fluorescence room to breathe without dominating the entire space. Choose either one pastel shade and use a neon as an accent or, like Charlotte Lovey, go with a range of pastels and use yellow and vivid pink to lift the entire scheme.

Charlotte Lovey

Into the Darkness

Dark Neon Interior

Dark paint colours have been an enduring trend for a couple of years now and if you’ve started wondering whether it’s time to brighten your scheme for spring and summer, consider injecting some colour with bright neons. Shocking pink works well with dark greys, blues and even greens. Or try a luminous version of the same colour if you’re not looking for that daring-disco vibe.

Neon interiors can be a little intimidating so why not try a bit at a time? Look at feature pieces to add colour into a dark colour scheme – bright neon chairs or soft furnishings can help you ease yourself into a brighter new world.

Go Retro with Neon Interiors

Embrace your inner 80’s child (even if you were born before or after) and look for retro classic finds which will add to your neon interior without breaking the bank. 1980’s furniture and accessories are finally finding their place in vintage stores and rising in price and popularity so now is a great time to buy. Fluorescent Perspex furniture, old school lockers or chairs, wrapped or painted in vivid Day-Glo colours, you can upcycle, recycle or even find modern pieces which scream the 1980’s on their own, but when paired with whites or pastels become a modern feature in an otherwise neutral room.

Pop Art

Wall art is a great way to work the neon interior design trend without going all out! There are some great pop art repro prints by lesser-known artists and illustrators or why not hop onto Etsy and buy from a local artist?

There are also some great 1980’s patterns which, when printed and framed, could help you tie in other neon elements in your scheme. Stock image libraries are a great source of inspiration for prints, photos and illustrations – all royalty free for personal use. Some sites, like Pexels, offer free downloads or use a premium service such as istockphoto or where you buy a small bundle of images at a time. There’s such a wide array of images available you’ll be sure to find something to give your neon interior a glow!

Inner Glow

Custom ‘neon’ lights can also be a quick way to jazz up a dull and dark space without having to start the interior design process all over again. Nowadays, most ‘neon’ lights are LED which makes them much cheaper than the handcrafted, gas filled pipes of the past! You can still get the traditional neon lights but unless they’re a purist, most people won’t be able to tell the LED lights apart.

There are lots of companies out there offering custom neon lights out there and eBay can be a great place to start. Etsy is also great for customised neon lights as you know you’ll be ordering from a small supplier and helping to support independent craftspeople. Watch out though – some of the bigger firms are starting to use Etsy so check out the seller’s profile before purchase if this is important to you.

LED strip lights can also transform a room and often have the added advantage of being able to change the colour without changing the lights. You can add a fluorescent glow under furniture, fixtures or curtain rails and windows which you can then swap between neon colours when the mood strikes!

View Our Neon Interiors Pinterest Board

Like 80’s fashion, neon interiors may not be here to stay but we hope that these five tips have given you some ideas to test out the trend without having to break the bank.

We’ve also created a Pinterest board of some of our favourite Neon Interiors. Take a look here. 

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