The holidays are behind us. Or are they? Maybe they’re just about to get good. Because it’s that time of year again. A time to let loose, celebrate life, and just generally let the good times roll. That’s right, it’s carnival season! Happy Mardi Gras!
Whether you celebrate full-on New Orleans-style or just watch from afar wondering what all the fuss is about, Mardi Gras is worth exploring. Today we’ll talk about carnival season and more specifically about decorating for the season.
Because one of the inspiring things about Mardi Gras is how it’s so deeply about you letting you be you. That’s true for both the festivities and the decor. Today we’ll talk about Mardi Gras basics and use carnival season as a stepping-off point to look at how quick and easy it can be to use fabrics to decorate for whatever you’re celebrating. And how to transform any space — any time of year — your way and within your budget.
A Quick Guide To Mardi Gras: Fun For The Whole Family (No, Really.)
A lot of folks don’t realize that Mardi Gras is actually a religious holiday. True story. All that decadence and indulgence is rooted in the ramp-up to the Christian season of lent. Mardi Gras itself means “Fat Tuesday” which is the final day of the festival season followed by Ash Wednesday and the start of the Lenten season leading to Easter.
And Lent involves a time of reflection, fasting, and reverently sacrificing indulgences. So Mardi Gras season — kicking off on the Feast of the Epiphany, aka the 12th day of Christmas, and running through Fat Tuesday — is in many ways about getting all your “sinnin’” in before it’s time for a season of piety. (And you thought the 12th day was all about those drummers drumming. Nah, they’re just kickin’ off the parades!)
One last thing before we dig into carnival decorations through fabrics. Here’s something you kinda have to know someone from New Orleans to learn (someone like the writer of this post, for instance). Mardi Gras is a huge family holiday in New Orleans. Yes. It’s a family holiday.
While it’s true that there’s a decidedly adult side of Mardi Gras, for the vast majority of locals the whole season is like a big ole backyard barbeque with friends and family. It’s just the backyard is a whole city and the barbeque takes place along a parade route.
Because of that, there’s quite a lot of decorating and dressing up to show your holiday spirit. Like all those other holidays, but even more playful.
Purple, Green, And The Golden Way To Give Your Home Mardi Gras Magic
It’s time to talk about ways to add a little — or a lot — of carnival to your home decor through fabrics. And you’ll immediately notice our little DIY journey has a particularly Mardi Gras color scheme: purple, green, and gold. (Standing for justice, faith, and power if you’re curious.) Each idea will work for Mardi Gras, for sure. But also for any other occasion you’d like to celebrate. More on that later.
There’s no hard-and-fast rule about what shade of purple or the other color is the “required” color. (Rules aren’t exactly a big thing at Mardi Gras.) But suffice it to say, saturated and bold is a fair rule of thumb.
Let’s start outside. Porches are a thing in New Orleans. A big thing, actually. So a super easy decorating win is to take an outdoor fabric and drape it or wrap it around porch railings, pillars, the doorway, or even shrubs.
Set yourself up for years to come with something like a concord purple Sunbrella fabric, durable enough to be used time and again. Pair it with forest green and lemon gold fabrics (also Sunbrella) to really make it pop.
Bring this same strategy indoors with table runners in a similar way as you might use garland over the early winter holiday season. And, since you’re indoors, you can use more elegant fabrics without sacrificing performance.
Like faux silk in raisin purple, emerald green, and golden custard yellow. Use them together or apart as table runners for your dining room table and/or living room coffee and side tables. Run them across the mantle of a fireplace. Wrap them around stair railings. Or run them along ceiling molding and draped in chandelier lighting.
Wherever you choose to add some flair will offer a little joy of the holiday without a lot of set-up or take-down time.
Throw It And Slip It
Then there’s the joy of throw-pillow shams. We love them because they’re such an affordable, simple, and relatively easy way to refresh the look and energy of your home at any time. (And we’ve often talked before about a whole spectrum of DIY throw pillows ideas, find those articles here when you’re ready to dig in.)
Again, sticking with our Mardi Gras colors. Roll with whatever textures strike your fancy and then pick your favorite shades of purple, green, and gold. Like large throw pillows in a subtle diamond-patterned grape purple velvet with smaller pillows in maize gold performance tweed and lumbar throws in green and white striped fabric, evoking New Orlean’s famous beignet spot, Café du Monde.
Now, you may be thinking adding throw pillows in carnival colors sounds great but those colors really won’t work with your furniture. That’s where slipcovers come in — another simple and easily storable decorating solution.
Try dressing your sofa and armchairs in slipcovers made from pearl white Cryton denim fabric or another neutral color like a sand beige tweed. Or go big and take let your furniture slip into the colors of the season themselves. Slip your sofa into plum eco-friendly denim and chairs into juniper or marigold — or both.
And slipcovers are another excellent chance to DIY or to let us do it for you to make having custom slipcovers quick and easy.
Now You Get To Dress Your Home For Any Theme You Can Dream
On Mardi Gras itself, costuming is a long-standing tradition. While today’s post has focussed on bringing a bit of carnival costuming into your decor, what it’s really been about is how to bring a bit of any theme you want to celebrate or honor into your decor.
Of course, like costuming, you can always get super elaborate and detailed if you want. But sometimes all you really want is to be able to playfully mix things up when an occasion arises or you just feel like a temporary refresh.
You can get there quickly, easily, and with virtually any budget using fabrics to wrap outdoor features in colors and patterns, add runners to tables, mantles, and more, festoon railings, molding, and lighting, use throw pillows to add detail and pop, and even slipcover furniture to make it a blank canvas or to make it positively radiate with your theme.
All with fabric. Which just so happens to be our thing. So whatever holiday or celebration you’re cooking up, we can help. Give us a call today. Laissez les bons temps rouler!