A well-designed space, while intentional, doesn’t have to be serious business. Warm, inviting, or serene aesthetic is often the goal, but joyful touches make all the difference in a way that feels whimsical and fresh. Think: hilarious objects, unexpected textures, or unconventional furnishings to spark conversations with guests. At the end of the day, life is sweeter when you don’t take yourself so seriously. So shouldn’t your home décor follow suit?

Image: courtesy of Bailey Li Interiors

EBONY enlisted the help of interior designer Bailey Li, artist and founder of Bailey Li interiors, to share a few tips for creating a space that exudes joy, laughter, and playfulness.

Cheeky messages that make your guests do a double take

Jonathan Adler Vice Canisters, from $30, jonathanadler.com

Whether it’s a mural, hand-painted signage, or quippy words on decorative accents, fun messages woven into your interior design are a great way to spark conversation and create an easy-going atmosphere. “I often include phrases, words and or symbols into my hand painted wall murals,” says Li. “The idea is to subliminally inspire those who catch a glimpse. My Queen of Love 23ft hand-painted wall mural has grown to be a coveted accent of mine.” Don’t worry if you can’t hand-paint a full mural to get your bold message across. Try a fun neon sign, either customized with your favorite word or phrase, or pick out one from Neon Beach, like this tongue-in-cheek We Should Hang Something Cool Here sign. For something more subtle, but with a quirky punch, opt for decorative items with unexpected messages like these fun Jonathan Adler canisters. 

Creating fantasies with indoor nature installations

Photowall Tropical Unity Wallpaper, photowall.com. Image: courtesy of Photowall

Nature is often a source of joy and serenity. According to Li, there’s no reason why you can’t bring the lush essence of the outdoors inside your abode. “We can create fantasies in our own home, we are not limited to only experiencing these things outdoors or in art exhibitions,” Li says. “If we want to access a flower garden, why not create something like that in our own spaces?” For one of her clients, Li created a large silk flower arrangement that scaled up a stairwell and surrounded a window, to produce an indoor garden-like atmosphere. Try a faux flower garland like this one at Urban Outfitters, draped on a wall above a bed or credenza. A large-scale mural can achieve the same effect, like this Tropical Mural from Photowall, a transportive, playful way to impart a jovial, refreshing moment into your decor—like a breath of tropical ocean air, each time you enter the room.

Levitating furniture and decor

JU&MU Magnetic Levitation Air Bonsai Pot, $60, amazon.com. Image: courtesy of Amazon.

What better way to inject a bit of whimsy into your décor than gravity defying furniture that gives the illusion that it’s floating on air? Li says one of her favorite pieces in her home is a floating, custom-made bed by Butterknife & Hammer that hangs from four ropes which are anchored to the ceiling. “When people come over, they find it really relaxing, like a cradle,” says Li. The Lago Bed Air Replis, designed by Daniele Lago for Lago Brand is an elegant bed frame and headboard that gives the illusion that your bed is hovering above the floor. Not ready to commit to a bed upgrade? This floating bonsai pot will inject a touch of surrealism to your décor. 

Mixing lighting and texture

Decor Faure Kalimera Feather Floor/Table Lamp, $699, decorfaure.com. Image: courtesy of Decor Faure.

Creating an ethereal atmosphere can be achieved by using lighting to enhance fabrics and textures. Li mentions that one of her favorite ways of adding drama to a room is by using colorful fabrics with natural lighting. “Adding color tinted sheer fabric to windows & skylights allows you to integrate a form of chromotherapy – the use of light and color for wellness – into your design to create ambiance and healing.”You can also intermingle lighting and texture to create unique vignettes in your home, with items like this Ostrich feather floor lamp. The playful feathers create a filter for the light, while being an eccentric, standout piece.

Funny welcome mat that will get your guests laughing before they step foot inside 

Etsy Knuck If You Buck Door Mat, $11, etsy.com

While some quippy welcome mats can come off as cheesy or try-hard, there’s a middle ground between boring and basic that will get your guests snickering before stepping one foot in. Like this Knuck if you Buck mat from Etsy, sure to make guests-in-the-know crack a smile.