This month EZ Living Furniture is celebrating the birthday of a world-famous interior designer - Iris Apfel. The 29th of August 2021 will see Iris turn 100 years old which is quite an achievement in itself. But it can be seen as an even bigger accomplishment when you consider what Iris has done in her 100 years on this earth. Although she is most notably recognised for her eccentric clothing, interiors are where she really shines. Iris has dedicated her life to the interior design industry and even managed a luxury textiles firm with her late husband Carl. Her portfolio is extensive and impressive, with decor redesign work completed for American presidents Reagan and Kennedy to name a few. So, it’s safe to say that this New Yorker knows a thing or two about home decor.
Most recently, in 2018, Iris co-created a homewares collection with a US online furniture retailer, and it encompassed everything about her. With striking colours, dramatic patterns, and rich animal prints, we couldn’t help but fall in love. Taking inspiration from her vibrant style, famous quotes, and unmistakable eye for design, we decided to put together some of our most zany home accessories and pieces of furniture that we know Miss Iris would wholeheartedly approve of.
1. Iris doesn’t mince her words, in fact, she has spoken openly about how she doesn’t believe there should be any set interior designer rules. She simply suggests embracing your originality.
"Express yourself, not what your neighbour has."
The Tuka Dining Chairs perfectly captures Iris’ love of colour and combines this with a chic and retro design.
2. Iris is a firm believer in high-quality furniture. She recommends buying items that are well made and fabrics that are of lasting quality. And we couldn’t agree more. You know what they say, buy cheap, buy twice.
"Buy the best possible quality you can get because furniture is made to last."
The Adare Sofa and Footstool (pictured) are not only durable and comfortable but include Iris’ fondness of the colour teal.
3. The biggest interior design mistake that anyone can make is to purchase something cheap just to fill an empty space. Iris has said if you can afford to wait for the perfect and better-quality piece, do.
"If you can’t afford something it’s better to leave empty space than to have a shoddy piece."
This framed heron canvas and elephant lamp incorporate Iris’s liking for wildlife. She has famously included a great deal of animal-inspired interiors in her previous designs.
4. "When people come into my home they know that I live there."
Your home should be a collection of your favourite items according to Iris. Home accessories and furniture should reflect and display your personality to everyone who enters your home.
Iris is a huge fan of patterned dinnerware and even designed her own eye-catching version previously, which closely resembles the Kali dinner set (pictured).
5. Don’t let others influence your decor decisions. Iris has learned this from her own personal experiences.
"I never had a coffee table and my grandmother, every time she visited, drove me crazy. Finally, I bought a coffee table I didn’t really like just to take up space and I hated it, and it really cost me more money in the end because I had to get rid of it and buy another one."
The Bird and Toucan Candle Holders show Iris’ flair for distinguishable and striking home accessories.
6. Iris doesn’t do ‘minimal’ when it comes to interior design or fashion. While Coco Chanel is cited as saying “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off. Iris says to put another one on and she has used this same technique with her home styling.
"I don’t do run-of-the-mill stuff and I don’t do minimal".
"More is more, and less is a bore".
Iris prides herself on making big and bold statements. Use patterns such as the White Flower Cushion (above) to draw attention to the finer details.
7. Iris is no stranger to texture either. It can be seen in everything from her clothing, jewellery, to the textiles she has used in her previous homeware collections.
"My husband used to say I took a piece of fabric and listen to the threads. It tells me a story... I have to get a physical reaction when I buy something. A coup de foudre - a bolt of lightning."
The Arbanasi Table Lamp infuses texture and colour with its tree bark base and yellow lampshade. Iris’ talent for mixing colour with unique textures brought her instant success.
8. You only have to take one look at Iris to know that she isn’t concerned about fitting in or following trends. She likes to mix it up. Her love of vintage decor and antique detailed pieces are the final piece to Iris’ home decor puzzle and can be seen throughout her very own home.
"I love high-end designers, but a head-to-toe designer look for me is extremely boring. I've always mixed it up."
The antique detail on the frames (shown) would add the perfect finishing touch to any home. We’re sure Iris herself would approve of the Laura, Julia, Alma, Myrtle photo frames.
If Iris’ 100th birthday has inspired you to become creative, then check out our full range of stylish furnishings here.