I was so excited to open the October issue of House Beautiful and see an article on "Happy Prints". Because you see, this is totally me. As I'm writing this post I'm sitting in my bedroom, and it's depressing me terribly. The walls are coated in wallpaper primer which make them look cold and sterile. I am counting the days until my wallpaper- yes, a print- arrives so that my bedroom can be transformed into a room that makes me feel chic and happy. In the meantime, I have to get up and run into another room to look at color and my other prints for a temporary lift.
I adore prints that have pep and spunk. I love prints that make you stand up and take notice. Of course I do believe in the old adage to beware of too much of a good thing. In fact, my love of prints has forced me to be a ruthless editor. I've got so many that I would love to use but... not enough space and too little time.
The way I work with happy prints is by toning them down a bit with the use of sophisticated color. Because my other love is color. I absolutely cannot live without it. The irony of it all is that I don't wear color. Occasionally a little pale blue, but mostly blacks and grays. Not only is this practical, but it makes me feel elegant too. But in my home I prefer prints with pizzazz combined with rich color. And when I say rich I don't mean bright, because that's not me either. I'm thinking creamy blues, mossy greens, aubergine, even powdery pink.
Now, I'm not immune to the charms and the quiet elegance of a neutral room. In fact, one of my very favorite Billy Baldwin rooms is one that is rather monochromatic and neutral. But for my own home? It's all about color and prints. Because at the end of the day, that is what makes me happy.
Chinoiserie prints always make me sing, especially those that are not so serious. I have two chairs upholstered in "Ping" (Scalamandre), and they make me very happy.
And all of Sister Parish Designs' prints are upbeat, especially "Chou Chou"
How about Meloire Reverse from Quadrille/Alan Campbell? This might just get your mind off of the economy- at least temporarily!
"Asparagus Plaid" by Brunschwig is such a funny print. While it's not my style, I can definitely see where it might make others smile.
Again, not a print for everybody, but it might be just the thing for a porcelain collector. "Imari Trophy Plate" by Carlton Varney
Prints don't have to bold, colorful, or whimsical to make you happy. I used this Tyler Hall print- "Exeter"- in my old powder room, and it gave the room some flair... which in turn made me happy!
Image at top: A room designed by Albert Hadley- in my mind, the pied piper of the happy, handsome, and understated print. His fabric and wallpaper for Hinson is by far my favorite.