Ever since Tracey Emin made neon lights chic, they’ve become a fixture in the most Instagram-worthy abodes. Taking inspiration and typography from old-school fonts (and the odd love heart), they instantly add a bit of quirky individuality and humour to any space, from a modern home to an edgy office. Our team of interior addicts tells you how to do it best…
We love how cool a neon sign makes a room, but do they cost an arm and a leg?
“The cost varies quite a lot depending on whether you are making a bespoke sign or buying a second-hand one on eBay – prices on eBay start from £12 for a branded neon sign or £1,500 for a bespoke sign. Each one has a transformer – so you need to think about how to hide this when you mount it on the wall. If you’re going for a couple of neon letters, you need to consider whether each one is going to have its own plug or if all the letters are connected together using one wire – this is a more expensive but preferable visually.” — Mel Massey, Founder of Mel-Massey.com
“Today the options are endless with neon lighting, which ultimately reflects the price and value: you can order a bespoke sign online, salvage a vintage piece or invest in a Tracey Emin. Remember the energy demand that these buzzing installations need. If you have them on constantly you might see a noticeable difference to your electricity bill!” — Rachael Davis, Founder of Rococo London Interiors
What’s better, pre-made signs or custom-made?
“If you can find a pre-made sign which ticks all the boxes, I would buy that. However, if you have a very specific idea of what you want, I'd go to a good neon sign maker – ideally having a face-to face meeting with them at their studio. Then you can see examples of their work as well as the different shades of neon. They should be able to guide you through the process of customising your sign, paying particular attention to how your neon will look on the wall once it's finished, including hanging and mounting fixtures.” — Mel Massey, Founder of MelMassey.com
“You can certainly buy pre-made ones which, if you were after something simple, would probably work out to be cheaper. Custom-made is of course more personal and so might be nicer in the home, or as a special present. If you’re getting such a statement item then it’s worth spending that little bit more time and money to get something truly unique.” — Letty White-Spunner, Assistant at Jane Churchill Interiors
Where can you buy them?
“Based Upon design beautiful neon light installations and I’d also recommend Carousel Lights and Neon Creations - a UK-based company that offer signs to buy and hire, or they can do custom-made.” — Karen Howes, Founder and Chief Executive at Taylor Howes Designs
“The vintage signs tend to be expensive, but you never know what treasures you might come across at a reclamation yard or on eBay. If you do want to invest in something special then head to God’s Own Junkyard, a den of blazing, buzzing neon signs in a grey industrial shed in Walthamstow, north-east London.” — Rachael Davis, Founder of Rococo London Interiors
“Creative Neon has some truly beautiful pieces which are great if clients have a clear idea of what they want.” — Mel Massey, Founder of MelMassey.com
Where would you put them?
“Neon lights look fab in dens, games rooms and private bars and in basements where there is no natural light. They make a lot of impact above a doorway too.” — Karen Howes, Founder and Chief Executive of Taylor Howes Designs
“They look great in any type of interior but with a couple of considerations. I think neon looks best floating on the wall unless it is an industrial-style setting where the wires add to the overall look. You need to make sure the neon has significant blank space around it, and to decide how you’ll hang it. Another tip is to paint wires so that they blend into the wall.” — Mel Massey, Founder of MelMassey.com
“Keep them on their own for maximum effect. If possible, style them with simple interiors – white walls, brick and lots of fabrics to avoid the space feeling too cold.” — Letty White-Spunner, Assistant at Jane Churchill Interiors
Inspiration credits: TheGlitterGuide.com, NYTimes.com, TheDecorFix.com, Centren.blogg.se, SFGirlByBay.com, Flat15.com, YellowFields.blogspot.com, ElleDecor.com, EatUpButtercup.com, TheTimes.co.uk, TheDesignFiles.net, HouseAndGarden.co.uk, RetroSonja.com, AislingRising.tumblr.com, ApartmentTherapy.com