Neon aesthetic: how to use neon decor in your home

Take a look at our guide to 2021's hottest new decor trend, the neon aesthetic

5M LED Strip Lights, £30, Urban Outfitters

At the beginning of 2021, décor experts reported a surge in the popularity of earth-toned interior design. As people exited 2020 seeking a sense of stability and comfort, neutral coloured accessories became hot property as people everywhere turned to nature-inspired décor to create a soothing effect in their home. So why are we suddenly getting obsessed with neon?

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Now, Pinterest has reported soaring demand for a very different décor trend, which also aims to soothe, but in a much more unusual, futuristic way. The neon aesthetic is tipped to be one of the biggest décor trends of 2021, but what exactly is it? And how can you embrace the trend in your own home?

Iggy Green & Gold Metal Coffee Table

Read on to find out more about the neon aesthetic and ideas for bringing the look into your decor scheme.

What is the neon aesthetic?

Put simply, the neon aesthetic is all about using fluorescent colours and lighting to create maximum impact in a room.

Neon Tube LED Light, £45, Nest
Neon Tube LED Light, £45, Nest

Typically, the trend will see the use of neon bar and strip lighting in order to give a space a soothing, sci-fi inspired glow, but it also includes the layering of traditional neons and neon pastels in soft furnishings, paint and accessories to create a soft, dreamlike look.

The aesthetic is usually associated with modern interiors, but designers also use it to create an interesting contrast in period properties.

How to use neon decor

The great thing about the neon trend is that you can take as little or as much as you want from the aesthetic, and your home will still look sophisticated and cohesive.

5M LED Strip Lights, £30, Urban Outfitters
5M LED Strip Lights, £30, Urban Outfitters

You can make a subtle nod to the look with a simple neon sign on your bar cart, or you can go all out and bathe neon furniture and furnishings in a neon glow for a retro-futurist feel. How you interpret the trend is totally dependent on your own personal taste, but here are some décor ideas to give you some inspiration…

Neon décor ideas

Neon signs

Neon signs have been a décor staple since the 1920s, and they’re certainly not going anywhere anytime soon.

Whether it’s in the form of a chic cocktail sign or a glowing motto, neon signs will instantly elevate a space and give it a unique edge, especially if you opt for a custom quote or design.

neon aesthetic decor ideas

Traditional neon signs (crafted from neon) look super effective but are very expensive, so if you’re after something a bit more budget friendly, look out for neon-inspired LED lights. They’ll give your space a warm, colourful glow and are less fragile than real neon.

'Be Kind' Neon Sign, £189, The Neon Sign Co
‘Be Kind’ Neon Sign, £189, The Neon Sign Co

If you do end up buying a wall mounted design on acrylic backing, just make sure you install it with the recommended fixings.

Neon lights

Interior experts suggest that every room should have at least 8 different sources of light for it to feel complete, and while neon signs make a great focal point in a room, it’s also worth considering more subtle forms of neon (or neon-inspired) lighting if you’re keen to fully embrace the aesthetic.

Neon Tube LED Light, £45, Nest
Neon Tube LED Light, £45, Nest

If you want to enhance the dreamlike feel of your room or fill it with a neon glow without actually investing in a neon feature light, LED adhesive strip lights are cost effective, easy to use, and can usually be programmed to emit a soft glow in the colour of your choice.

You can put the strip lights almost anywhere in your home so be creative with the installation for maximum effect. You can fix them to the bottom of your bed, sofa or cabinets to create the illusion that your furniture is floating, or along the length of your walls at the point where it meets the ceiling for a fun, futuristic vibe.

5M LED Strip Lights, £30, Urban Outfitters
5M LED Strip Lights, £30, Urban Outfitters

Strip lighting can also bring life to little alcoves, light up uninspiring staircases and accentuate artwork. It’ll look super effective when teamed with retro bar neons or sleek, contemporary furnishings.

Along with strip lighting, you can also get a number of different neon feature lights that will give your space a futuristic, cosy feel. We particularly love wall-leaning options as they look relaxed but effective.

For something a little more natural, why not try a sunset lamp? These clever lights mimic the tones of the setting sun, from rich reds to golden yellows – check out our round of the best sunset lamps to find out more!

Neon wallpaper

Unless you like your home décor to be extremely daring, the thought of neon wallpaper might initially feel quite daunting. However, whether you’re a maximalist, minimalist or anything between, there’s almost definitely a neon wallpaper that’ll suit your space and allow you to embrace the neon aesthetic in your own way – you just have to know what to search for!

Chromatic Peel and Stick Wallpaper, £112, Etsy

If you’re keen for your space to make an impact, opt for something like a neon ombre wall mural or a fluorescent geometric print.

Flamingos wallpaper in Olive, £105 per roll, Cole & Son
Flamingos wallpaper in Olive, £105 per roll, Cole & Son

If  highlighter-bright colour isn’t your thing, look out for wallpaper designs that feature just a splash of neon in their design – this ‘Flamingos’ wallpaper from Cole & Son (pictured above), for example, has just a touch of neon on certain parts of the design, giving it a contemporary feel.

Neon feature wall

If you want to dip your toe into the maximalist neon décor trend without the commitment of a full room makeover, a feature wall is a great way of giving your room a little bit of life without having to makeover the whole space. Either choose a neon paper that you love and use it all over one wall, or use fluorescent paint to make a focal point.

Prism Coral Wallpaper, £55 per roll,
Prism Coral Wallpaper, £55 per roll, Graham & Brown

If a straightforward feature wall isn’t your vibe, why not get creative? Use neon paper or paint to accentuate the architecture in your home by covering alcoves, ceilings or the space under your stairs with bright colour, and leave the rest of the space white or neutral.

Pocket doors separate the home office and living space from the rest of the basement level. A fitted desk made from oak fits neatly into one corner. ‘We often study and work from home, so we needed a dedicated space. We fitted our home office into our living area with garden views’ with garden views’
Copy Shrez’s decor style and add a splash of neon colour to interesting places on the walls

If you want to experiment with this on a smaller scale, you can wallpaper or paint certain parts of your existing furniture to create a unique, statement piece. Applying neon wallpaper to the back of a cabinet, for example, will give it a fresh new look and bring neon into your space without overwhelming the overall scheme.

Neon wall art

Painting or papering your walls with a bright neon shade is a big step, so if you’d rather introduce a splash of neon colour into your space without the long term commitment or cost, hanging some neon prints is a great way to go.

Abstract Art Neon Print, from £10, Etsy
Abstract Art Neon Print, from £10, Etsy

Etsy is a great place to search for all types of wall art, but it has a particularly good selection of neon poster prints from independent makers. From contemporary abstract artwork to reworked period pieces, it has such a vast range of prints that there’s guaranteed to be one that’ll integrate perfectly into your existing or planned scheme.

Tangerine Clouds Abstract Art Print, from £18.75, Etsy

If framed prints aren’t what you’re after, there are a number of Etsy makers who craft macramé wall hangings using the colours of your choice, or you can even get your hands on UV tapestries.

Wall plaques also make an interesting addition to a gallery wall or blank canvas, and if you find one you like but it’s not neon, you can always spray it with neon paint (Rustoleum do a great neon range here).

If you’re considering investing in a neon sign but you’re unsure about the cost, Etsy also offers a selection of customisable neon quote posters that are high quality but budget-friendly.

Neon Sign Coffee Print, from £11, Etsy
Neon Sign Coffee Print, from £11, Etsy

Styling one of these in your space for a few months is a great way to work out whether you want to invest in a custom neon and what word or quote you’d choose for your space long term – if you find one you like for months then chances are your investment will be worth it, but if you get tired of the style or saying then at least you haven’t splashed out on a custom neon!

Neon accessories

No home is complete without a few finishing touches, and styling neon accessories into your space is the quickest and easiest way to embrace the neon trend.

Home makeover: 'I knew it would be the perfect home'
Lindsey has included a splash of neon in her dark decor scheme by styling a lamp with a neon lining in her snug

Think outside the box when it comes to this part of the décor scheme – neon cushions and throws will make your home feel warm and inviting, but you can also find some really interesting neon-lined lampshades, intricate photo frames and fluorescent candles that’ll make your home feel unique and vibrant.

Neon paint

If you want to embrace elements of the neon trend but you’re not keen on the idea of investing in a whole new set of furniture and soft furnishings, upcycling what you already have with neon paint is a clever way to refresh your home for minimal cost.

‘My dad made this table and bench out of varnished OSB board, which is really hard-wearing. The wooden legs are his own design, which I then painted in Rust-Oleum Neon Pink. The dining chairs are from Søstrene Grene’
Liz’s dad made this table and bench out of varnished OSB board, which is really hard-wearing. The wooden legs are his own design, which she then painted in Rust-Oleum Neon Pink. The dining chairs are from Søstrene Grene

Many well-known paint brands stock a neon range, and you can use these paints to give what you already have a makeover – this neon pop cabinet tutorial will give you some inspiration.

In the kitchen and throughout her home, Shrez has installed shelves which gives the illusion of more space
In the kitchen and throughout her home, Shrez has added pops of neon paint to keep the space looking vibrant

Again, if the idea of painting one of your favourite cabinets with neon paint is slightly daunting, why not be creative? Paint the inside of the drawers to give it a bespoke feel, and if you like how the colour looks in your home, you can always add more.

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For more decor inspiration, check out our Latest Trends section!