To create a Pop Art interior design you need to be bold, irreverent and funny. Pop Art is instantly recognisable and rarely tasteful. This is probably the most recognizable artistic style in the world and it never muted. In this post, we are not going to go over “what is Pop Art”, but rather how can we apply this Pop Art style to create a comfortable and stylish Pop Art apartment.
A bit of Pop Art history
As we said, we’re not going to bother you with historical facts. You can learn more about Pop Art History in so many other sites. We just want to contextualize our thoughts. When we’re decorating our apartments we think of every little detail and we like them to be in tune to the style we were inspired from.
In our Cozzy opinion, Pop Art emerged as a combination of a couple historical events. The economic prosperity after the war, probably for the first time in human history, created the highest disposable income for middle classes and lower classes. Combining this extra money with the massive factory infrastructure and mass media advertising, consumption saw exponential growths.
This new obsession with material goods and advertising reached its peak in the United States. Pop Art glorified this “feasting frenzy” to an extreme that was, at the same time, a political and social critic.
Pop art applied to interior design
What about today? Did Pop Art evolved through the past decades? The answer is no. Pop Art didn’t mute at all and is still about colour, humour and taking the pop consumer culture to the extreme. Pop Art interior design is not common, but certainly distinguishable.
It is quite easy and cheap to adapt this art movement to an interior design style, turning a standard home into an art gallery with colourful furnishings.
Don’t get us wrong. There’s nothing wrong with an accent colour (or three), but don’t feel obligated to add colour to a neutral room. Shades of white mixed with metallic, mirrors, furniture, and accessories in a variety of textures and materials can have as much impact as a room full of bright colours. In our Pop Art Apartment in Porto we hanged a bicycle on a white bedroom wall. If the wall was red, this piece of art would not stand out as we intended. Moreover, the human eye gets easily tired from bright coloured spaces, so we have to use them wisely.
But having said that, Pop art is a combination of colour and art. Do not be afraid of colour and do not limit yourself to express your emotions.
Having said this, where do you start?
Have a Pop Art attitude
Pop Art is attitude. If when picking you Instagram filter people say, that’s not that realistic, then you’re pretty much on the right track. It’s not about realism. It’s about Pop. And Pop can be as much a derivative from popular as well and standing out. So, your attitude is what makes something ‘pop’. In fact, Pop Art isn’t really about cartoons and plastic at all. It’s about making the familiar look different. You can go subversive and over the top, but you can’t forget that colours remain crucial.
Pop is never polite and never beige.
So just paint your bed yellow and orange and have a huge ‘boom!’ mural in the living room if you’re in the mood. Warhol would have liked it.
Don’t be boring
Taste? Who needs it? Pop Art is defiantly against “good taste”. Better yet, it defies those who create the “good taste” label. The boring and dull houses, where the creeping beigeness transforms a home into a military uniform.
Take this style to extremes and you’re still half way to go. Remember that this contemporary art was designed around cartoonish murals and startling, colourful and completely over-the-top consumer objects or popular icons. We all know that ‘bad taste’ appears when something is shaking up the status quo.
From why looks at advertising like Richard Hamilton’s 1956 collage Just what is it that makes todays homes so different, so appealing? and Dorothee Selz’s recreations of pin-up girls, Pop Art was wry, irreverent and funny. Make a statement with a satirical poster and embed in true Pop style, when bored of it, buy another.
Decorating when your renting
If you’re renting and can’t make profound modifications, don’t worry. Pop Art interior design is more about adapting the style to the structure than the other way around. If painting walls is out of the question, there is plenty of paintings and pictures you can hang. There is furniture you can use and misplaced accessories to give the humorous touch. If you want to save money you can just paint a bright pink over a cheap wardrobe and place it in the spot light of your room.
How to choose colours in Pop Art Interior Design
From what we’ve written so far, we learned that it is okay to push and test your colour boundaries. The colour palette in Pop Art style is bright and clashing. Choose two bright contrasting colours and a neutral to balance them out. For example, Roy Lichtenstein’s work renders that comic book style by using thick black lines.
Applying this to interior design we can use colour blocks in furniture as well as in walls with prints and patterns. For example, a couch can become a white canvas turning some pillows the paintings.
Using 60′s style furniture will look great in a Pop Art style interior design. Retro-futuristic chairs, minimalist sofas and egg armchairs can be used in any living room and any combination.
Since colours are often vivid, you can’t go wrong using primary colours. Red, blue and yellow were predominant colours seen in different pop art works. These colours were used to reflect the state of pop culture aesthetics and not the artist mood or emotional state.
Be creative and think out of the box. More than that, leave the box and let this pop art interior designs open your mind and your heart.
Therefore, you can go beyond colours by using contrasting elements. In a painting you’re restricted to shape and colour. But in Interior Design you can use your elements in space like a 3 Dimensional canvas.
Neon lights impacts a certain environment. They help to create a more abstract and unusual world. Neon can have that retro-futuristic that never occurred look that screams Pop Culture. Lamps with bright glossy surfaces and lamp shades, LED spotlights and a coffee table decorated in Pop Art style define interior decorating in pop art style with a fantastic aura and extraordinary light.
Optical illusions are a pleasant and captivating way to give that different look to the familiar element. You can create optical illusions and stunning lighting effects using plastic surfaces, furniture and decor items, of course, big mirrors in wall panels add that image repetition, giving your apartment that fabulous and original look.
If you want to play it safe, use wallpapers with pop art images, like portraits in the style of Andy Warhol or Roy Lichtenstein. But if you’re feeling artistic, you can use graphics, industrial images and stylized female images and giving them your personal combination. Remember, all that is not appropriate in the “normal” home interior design is probably a cool Pop Art scene. The main goal is to create a spatial illusion, making the space bigger or smaller that it is.
Prints and images and paintings
Paintings and prints are the elements most associated with Pop Art Style. It’s common to use famous people pictures, brand logos, prints from comics and pretty images. This gives unique touches and creates a personal design style.
If you have a print that you love, become a Pop artist yourself. Just print it several times and repeat it along your walls. Repetition of the same image (or similar pictures used in chronological order) or even a mixing themes with other attractive images are a simple and creative interior decor idea for your Pop Art style apartment.
Best furniture for a pop art interior design style
This is where some times we can make the biggest mistakes in this style. Sometimes a piece of furniture that we love does not fit, literally or aesthetically, in our Pop Art Style plan.
If you have a cheap boring Ikea coffee table, you can ask yourself “what would Andy do”? Would he paint it yellow? Would he saw it in half and place it against a wall? Would he do it all of this? If at the end of the day you don’t like the result, you just lost a boring Ikea coffee table. Probably you did yourself a favour anyway.
If you’re thinking of buying furniture check the Memphis Group, because their trend looks like it’s making a huge comeback.
Look at this art historian quote, about the Memphis Group movement in the 80’s:
“Good taste was the bad thing they were fighting against”
Isn’t this familiar with Pop Art in the 60’s.
You can find a lot of furniture and other interior design elements at the Memphis Milano website.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of money or you don’t find the piece you’re looking for, just do it yourself. For example, you can create a cheap metal wardrobe by printing some wallpaper stickers and gluing them to the doors and side panels.
The Pop Art furniture is original and retro and futuristic at the same time. As a rule, it is bright with rounded shapes. Such a geometry and colours can give plastic (the main material used) more exuberant characteristics in Pop Art furniture and other elements. The 60′s style furniture will look great in a pop art style interior design.
Materials used in Pop Art Design
Sometimes having no rules, regarding materials, can make it harder to create a good Pop Art environment. Any material as long as it’s not polished wood can either be the enlightenment or the fall of a Pop Art designer. You can use plastic or leather in your elements. You can even mix and combine them. Most of the Pop Art artists used materials derived from new technologies that emerged in the 50’s like foam rubber, polyester and acrylic, so plastic is more commonly used.
Look for curvy elements. Ergonomic furniture, designed for your body is always more in sync with this style. Since this art is a bit ageless in modern terms, vintage becomes more futurist that old.
Maybe the only rule is: Go round! Hard squared shapes are for other more “square” styles.
The shape and colours are the most important thing. They need to be exaggerated but never loosing the comfort. They can be exaggeratedly comfortable.
Some try a more minimalistic style while others go for a more overwhelming exaggerated use of elements. They’re both fine.
The latest big use of Pop Art was in the Barack Obama campaign “Yes, we can!”, for the presidential race in the US. It represented innovation in visual communication of political campaigns, highlighted the youthful aspect of Obama as opposed to that of John McCain.
If you want to make the same impact with your home as Obama did for US politics, Pop Art is the best interior design for your apartment.