I thought I was a fan of colour and extremely adverse to the use of beige until I picked up Happy Home by the founder of Danish homewares company RICE, Charlotte Hedeman Gueniau. It clearly states from the get-go that not all Danish design is about cool and calm interiors and I must admit, the whole ethos of the book being fun, colour and enjoyment speaks to me like the new Pope speaks to the man upstairs (and I sometimes talk back)!
A forward by the glorious Holly Becker (whose book I have also reviewed) teases that “If you’re ready to have a little fun, colour outside the lines and introduce a fresh perspective to your decor, Happy Homes… will capture your heart from page one”. The gal speaks truth! From the moment I flicked through the book the hallway below caught my eye. I love the bold use of blue and the way the smaller rugs are used to decorate the hall, as opposed to using a long runner-style rug. It immediately injects not only colour but quirk too (and Lord knows I like me a large ladle of quirk).
The first chapter on living, loving and laughing was perhaps the most impacting for me. What this book did for me was teach me that my home should be tailored to me and the way I live. “Your living room should cater for you and your needs. If you love having friends over, make sure that there are enough comfortable seats. If you like to hang out by yourself, you need a different set-up. Decorate it so it emphasises your personality to the max”. I know this is a simple concept but it took me a long time to get to that place!
I absolutely love the chapter on Smiling Spaces. Again, it speaks to my love of playfulness and whimsy in a home. I love that it celebrates the kitsch and encourages us all to get out our momentos, to let them shine, to showcase the goofy and to let our homes be a true reflection of the happiness in our hearts. “Who does not wish to be remembered in connection with a smiley, happy feeling?” I hear you loud and clear, Charlotte!
The chapter on Mixy Matchy is another clear standout, because it’s often so hard to mix old with new or soft with harsh or masculine with feminine pieces. This section tells you how to make it work, gives you a tonne of inspiration and really encourages you to embrace hand-me-downs from family (or second hand finds) and dress them up with some more modern items. It’s personally my favourite type of decorating because I love a piece having a story and a history.
I swear Charlotte is my long-lost sister from another mister, because her section on transforming old pieces into new ones using paint or fabric or easy and inexpensive techniques speaks directly to my own love of home projects and DIY.
Now I do love me a paper pom pom. I saw them recently in my store tour at Little Paper Lane and again they are looking at me from this book. They feature in Charlotte’s chapter on Sleeping, Bathing and Dreaming, which details fabulous ways to make your bedroom and bathroom look and feel amazing. There are also practical tips on storage and how to achieve some good Feng Shui, along with some must-have bedroom items (lighting and bedding and decor – oh my!).
What I love most about Happy Home is not that only that it celebrates colour, humour and a sense of adventure in home decorating, but that Charlotte speaks from the heart. She doesn’t tell you what you need, she tells you what worked for her, what she believes in, how she lives and what she adores. There is an abundant sense of heart in this book, not to mention boundless inspiration. If you’re colour-curious, please get this. If you’re obsessed with brights, this book is the life companion you’ve always dreamt of.
I think Holly sums up the book best in her foreword when she says “When you put aside fear and just decorate, so many possibilities await”. This is precisely what Charlotte has done with this book. Bring on the colour!