Brighton: Inspiring Design

When looking for design inspiration, oftentimes we forget that we don’t necessarily need to travel to the other side of the world to find it (although we wouldn’t say no to a trip to the Maldives!) The Pfeiffer Design team are in the lucky position that we have the busting coastal city of Brighton and Hove on our doorstep. Just 47 miles from London, Brighton has, for years, been a popular destination for tourists, renowned for its diversity, quirky shopping areas, cultural music, and arts scene and its large LGBTQ community. Brighton is often referred to as England’s ‘hippest city’ and is frequently voted the happiest place to live in the U.K.

In the Georgian era, Brighton began developing its reputation as a fashionable seaside resort. The Prince Regent (later King George IV) spent a lot of time here, and began construction on the Royal Pavilion in 1787. Brighton continued to grow as a major tourist attraction following the arrival of the London and Brighton Railway in 1841, meaning that it was now feasible as a day trip from London. Many of Brighton’s major attractions and much of its most beautiful architecture was constructed in the Victorian era, such as The Grand Hotel, West Pier and Brighton Palace Pier. Along with these, Brighton plays host to a large and diverse stock of buildings from the Regency and Edwardian periods and is ‘unrivalled architecturally’ among the country’s seaside resorts. Local and national government have recognised the city’s architectural heritage through the designation of listed buildings and conservation area status to many developments. Since 1969, 34 conservation areas have been created, covering areas of various sizes and eras; and more than 1,200 structures have listed status based on their “special architectural or historic interest”.

In terms of design inspiration, it’s hard to beat Brighton. The eclectic, bustling city, expansive pebble beach, turquoise water and quirky Victorian architecture and attractions make it a complete feast for the senses. The Lanes and North Laine areas are bursting at the seams with independent shops, boutiques, vintage stores, restaurants and cafes; many spilling out onto the pavement. Brighton and Hove play hosts to many annual events including The Brighton Festival and Brighton Fringe, The Great Escape, The Burning of the Clocks; a winter solstice celebration, and Brighton Pride, which attracts 450,000 visitors to the city the first weekend in August. The wealth of colour seen in Brighton is unbeatable: the sea is mirrored by the sea-foam blue Hove beach huts, seafront railings and ‘bike-share’ bicycles which litter the city. Yellowed Regency buildings tower over sprawling gardens in the Brunswick area whilst to the North East, Hanover boasts tightly packed brightly coloured Victorian terraces. The city plays host to colourful bunting, as well as a wealth of street performers, artists, musicians and creatives.

So, how exactly do we translate the inspiration gained from this wonderful eclectic city to interior design? Here are some of the biggest Brighton take homes:

Don’t be afraid to go bold

Brightonians aren’t afraid to be unapologetically themselves. They’re expressive and eccentric – and there’s no reason your home or restaurant shouldn’t be. Don’t shy away from bright colour and print, just be sure to balance it out with some more toned-down elements.

Seaside contemporary

Put down the shabby chic ‘At The Beach’ signage and ships-in-a-bottle and embrace a more contemporary seaside inspired theme. Think light, bright rooms with large windows, bright engineered wood floors and neutral textures like rattan and leather. Shells can be embraced, within reason, and vintage glass buoys strung with rope add interesting texture to a room, with a nod to Brighton’s favourite colour: sea-foam.

Independent is always best

As professional interior designers, we understand that not everyone has the time or the inclination to trawl the shops looking for one-of-a-kind pieces. But trust us, when you do find that show-stopping piece it is SO worth it. Take a leaf out of Brighton’s book and find some local vintage/antique stores near you. Finding a mid-century gem, or retro 70s vase will make your home that bit more special and unique. You won’t believe the compliments you’ll be paid, to which you can respond with a story about how you found it in a charity shop for pennies, much to the envy of your friends!

Change it up

It’s easy to get stuck in a bit of a rut when it comes to our homes. We find a style that fits and we stick to it, often to the detriment of creating interest and warmth. Your entire home doesn’t need to correlate to a ‘theme’. Think instead of creating a different little haven in each room, according to what you’d like to feel upon entering that room. For example, a kitchen or breakfast bar area should be bright and inspiring for those morning coffee moments, meanwhile a bedroom could perhaps be more minimal, tranquil and peaceful. In order to help the home remain coherent and maintain good flow, try picking out a particular colour that you love and using that in every room; to varying degrees. This will ensure that the space remains concurrent and not jarring as you move from room to room.

Eat, drink and be merry

Don’t forget when designing a home that communal spaces to eat, drink, cuddle up with a hot chocolate or invigorate with a cup of tea are one of the most important aspects. Take a leaf out of the Brightonians’ book and focus on food and drink. Whether this means investing in that special crockery set to serve your dinner on every night, or taking time to brew that perfect cup of coffee in the mornings. Try to prioritise creating a space that makes you feel relaxed and fully ‘at home’ when it comes to dining areas – regardless of whether that means a formal dining room, or a simple farmhouse kitchen table.

We think you’ll agree there’s so much inspiration to be sought on the streets of Brighton. The brightest of colours, tranquil turquoise water, eclectic people, sights, sounds, smells and humming atmosphere combine to make it a total feast for the senses. So why not take a leaf out of its book?

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