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The past few years have led to a renewed focus on own homes. If we’re spending all of this time inside, shouldn’t our homes be comfortable and inviting? Maybe even have some personality? I’d argue that these things are essential regardless of whether we work from home or not.
There will always be a strain of intense focus on minimalism and functionality in furniture and design. And those aren’t necessarily bad things. But I’ve lately found myself pursuing a bit more whimsy, color, and joy for my home. One of my favorite home decor brands encapsulates those elements in a beautiful, eye-catching way.
I first discovered Cold Picnic through the New York-based Coming Soon. I was in the market for a bathmat that didn’t scream “college student discount bin” when I stumbled upon the abstract and playful options from Cold Picnic. Now nearly every guest who visits my home comments on the funky shapes adorning my bathroom floor.
Meet Cold Picnic
Cold Picnic is a collaborative effort from life and work partners Phoebe Sung and Peter Buer. The pair have a background in both fine arts and the corporate fashion industry. As Sung describes it, they started Cold Picnic in 2010 “as a way to blow off steam.”
“It was very different from the brand it is today,” explains Sung. “It was like a hobby where we would go to the library, read old craft books, and then try to make things. In a way, through making things with our hands, we really discovered our style and what it was we wanted to create.”
Today, Cold Picnic competes with and is showcased alongside plenty of large scale interior decor brands. What started as a passion project for a young couple has evolved into a serious, yet still whimsical, business. What sets Cold Picnic apart is that it’s still managed with that same passion from both Sung and Buer.
Cold Picnic actually started with fashion accessories like jewelry and bags, but shifted toward homegoods like handmade rugs, bathmats, and quilts. “We just kept experimenting until we arrived at our very specific niche,” shares Sung. “But we continued to work with a lot of the stores we had already been working on, who at that point were mainly buying fashion and accessories. So it just happened that when that particular market started to turn towards home goods, we were already there.”
Elephants and Alligators and Zebras, Oh My
Cold Picnic’s offerings tend to lean toward either the artful and modern, like the abstract bathmat currently in my bathroom, or the playful and silly like a zebra print rug ($636) or a pillow with a pair of boobs ($65) stitched on. It sounds like those two ends of the design spectrum would be in conflict, but they actually work together quite well. By using relatively muted colors and simple illustrations, Cold Picnic creates a cohesive design language that continues to draw new folks in.
“I think there is a tendency for some brands to offer color in ways that can box it in–fun or grown up, or to point to a specific era,” says Sung. “I think we are most interested in the way colors interact with each other, and possibly some people find this easier to work with in their homes. Because then they can supply the meaning or the impression they want to give in the way they design their room, without having the rug arrive with some of that messaging already built in.”
By allowing their customers to tell their own story with Cold Picnic’s pieces, Sung and Buer open up a personal sense of interior decor. And that style is increasingly leaning toward fun.
I asked Sung to offer some help when designing a blank space in a home: “Officially I have to say that rugs help, and luckily it's true! We rarely have rugs in our own house because we're always waiting for the next collection, and then the next. Finally, we picked a few and the right one really does help complete a room... or start it! Plants and light – both maximizing natural sunlight but also overhead lighting or lamps. Once we started looking, we realized how difficult it was to find lighting. And of course you need someplace comfortable to sit!”
Interior Design Can Be Fun
When asked about the role that “fun” can play in interior design, Sung offered, “In some ways it seems like a backlash to minimalism, though it also can feel like a compliment to minimalism. We generally decorate in a bit more of a muted fashion, because all the color and the fun stuff finds its way in anyway. But some people are able to make it work altogether, and that is always exciting to see.”
A Cold Picnic rug or pillow can be the centerpiece of a living room or hallway in one’s home. Your eye might be immediately drawn to a giant tufted rug with a unique landscape or a pillow with a crocodile print. Or, these pieces can complement an overall aesthetic that embraces color and whimsy. It’s not all fun and games, and Cold Picnic is certainly a serious brand, but there’s a clear personality present in the Cold Picnic aesthetic.
“There are obviously the boobs and the animals, those are kind of fun,” Sung remarks. “But aside from that, we use a lot of color and that automatically puts us into a more lively category.”
Looking ahead, Cold Picnic is launching some new design products this year. “Upholstery is the next thing we are very excited about,” shares Sung. “We're also going to be releasing matching baby adult sweaters next fall. That's been a long time in the works.”
5 More Reasons to Love Cold Picnic:
1. Cold Picnic will occasionally run sample sales and discounts on its bathmats, rugs, and more. You can head to the sale section for a deal on a new piece of interior decor.
2. In addition to rugs, quilts, and pillows, Cold Picnic offers a limited selection of wallpaper in patterns matching some of their handmade pieces. They’re bold and beautiful.
3. Looking for interior design inspo? Cold Picnic’s Instagram page is full of stylish rooms featuring Cold Picnic pieces.
4. Want to test out some Cold Picnic rugs in person? They are stocked at several retail stores around the world. Find one close to you here.
5. Need a specific rug design in your home? Cold Picnic allows you to customize certain pieces. Pick out a template design and then change the size, shape, and colors on your rug.