There’s something beautiful about a carnival.  Yes, they’re full of over-the-top pictures, rides, toys, signs and loud noises, but there’s a beauty in the mayhem.  We went to a carnival recently and to me, when I looked at things individually, they were just rides or tacky signs or whatever, but when I looked around at the carnival as a whole, it was something better.  It was a little world of whacky and crazy and vintage-feeling fun.  And it was beautiful.

Once nighttime falls over a carnival, it becomes special.  Whatever field or parking lot that used to be in its place is totally transformed, and you forget all about what used to be there and what will be there again when the carnival leaves town.


I haven’t been to one like this is a while, but my favorite carnivals or fairs are the kind that have sideshows.  I was fascinated by these when I was a little girl and won’t ever  forget the sword swallower I once saw in a tent…  or the contortionist.

I love that sense of mystery…


I would always try to pick the prettiest horse on the carousel…  usually pink with lots of roses.  😉

…  And the food is so bad but so good…  I love the crazy vintage signs.

It was sitting here, at the counter of the carnival snack wagon the other night, that I started appreciating the details.  I mean, how perfect is it that the snack truck had this little fold-out set of shiny blue barstools to pull up to the counter?  They were just the right size for our boys.  And I love that they serve sodas in the vintage style glass bottles.  They taste so much better that way.

{my guys- Christian and Justin- sharing a funnel cake}
I love that all of these little over-the-top details and the busyness makes something that’s just right.  There’s an energy & an excitement about carnivals that’s fueled by all the bright colors and the in-your-face everything.  All of the colors and things shouldn’t work together, but they do.
And it reminds me of certain rooms & styles of decorating.  (In a very good way.)
{miles redd, house beautiful}
There are so many different bright colors in the room by Miles Redd above, that you wouldn’t ordinarily think could all work together, but they do.  It has this great energy to it.
The room below has a bit of that quirky vintage feel to it of the classic old-fashioned carnivals.
The whacky mix of patterns on the floor in the room below creates that happy feeling.  It’s so perfectly “off.” The little stack of books on the table reminds me a bit of circus tents.
The tufted turqoise sofa, below, is one of those super-saturated colors seen all over carnivals.  The vintage touches and quirky shapes throughout the space add to the excitement.
{apartment therapy}
The mix of art and patterns below totally comes off as crazy in a good way.  There’s so  much going on, but as a whole, it just works.
{elle decor}
The space in my friend Jenny’s house (of Little Green Notebook) is perfect in its mix of bright happy colors combined with the vintage gilded mirror.  It’s so unexpected but just comes together to create a truly charming space.
{little green notebook }
I’m sure none of the designers of the rooms above were inspired by carnivals, but they all managed to create spaces that, to me, are energetic and fun-feeling and are really unexpected.  Some are more dramatic while others are more laid-back but they all have that fearlessness that I think epitomizes a carnival.   I reminds me to look harder at everything I’m exposed to, because there’s inspiration in all of it, even in a place that at first glance is loud and garish and a bit sticky.
Our boys are already asking about when they can go back.  And next time they might actually reach 42″ which means a whole new set of rides!!

xoxo, Lauren

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