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turtle catching a frisbee

Laughter is everything, for some of us.

Growing up? Not on your life. The old Tom Waits tune “I Don’t Want to Grow Up” is somewhat of an anthem for folks like me.

I don’t wanna grow up
I’d rather stay here in my room
Nothin’ out there but sad and gloom
I don’t wanna live in a big old Tomb
On Grand Street

Some people want their home breathy and light, others want it bold and stylish. And still others just want to sneak some whimsy and humor into their space.

If you want to get past the collegiate antics of whoopie cushions and beer bongs as “goofy decor,” how does a grown-up embrace humor at home?

Art & photography

From “Dogs Playing Poker” to parodies of great art, like Homer Simpson doing the famous Edvard Munch “Scream” there are many ways get a chuckle with mass produced images, but all kinds of options abound.

Look for quirky art, oddball photography, unique street scenes — anything that makes you smile or give a laugh. Strange animals, ironic compositions — humor’s where you see it, so where are you seeing it?

If you’re a parent, hanging the funniest, goofiest photos of your family will keep your space light and funny, but also remind you daily of the fun you have together.

Knickknacks

Whether it’s something nostalgic that makes everyone laugh with memories and shared stories, or something funny you found at a great shop, knickknacks bring a lot of personality to the picture.

The best way to find the funny is just to have fun and let go of propriety a little. I found a great little tin retro coin bank I keep with my martini glasses, flanked by a framed print from Hunter Thompson’s Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas. The coin bank reads “I’m saving up for rehab!” It gets giggles from friends and I love it. It’s irrelevant, but when you’re looking at a shelf full of drinking materials, why not have a chuckle?

If you can’t poke a little fun at yourself, you might find achieving humor at home a tricky feat.

Accessories

Look for quirky plant-holders in unexpected shapes, oddball benches and ottomans in funky styles or playful forms, things which just make you chuckle at its interpretation. Like the famous “hand” chairs.

There are lots of strange and unique lamps out there, and you can make your own quite easily with a lamp kit too. It’s all about picking interesting pieces and just slipping them in, here and there. A wink over here, a nudge-nudge over there on the bookshelf, and suddenly you’ve got quirks and quips all over the place.

Shapely shapes of shapey things

From drawer chests to coffee tables, there are a lot of creative, funny adaptations of everyday furniture. A tallboy inspired by the wobbly world of Alice in Wonderland or Dr. Seuss, for instance.

Take your inspiration from anywhere you can, like with Holly Golightly’s bathtub sofa in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It’s when something is unexpected and whimsical that we find our giggles. Or think about weirdly creative reinventions of standard items, like the PQTier funny yet aesthetically-pleasing toilet paper tree.

Changing the context

With that “unexpected” aspect, humor comes from putting normal things in unlikely places. An activity rug with a hopscotch grid makes perfect sense in a child-focused room, but when you put it in a 30-something adult’s living room, it says a lot about their sense of humor and fondness for fun.

Converting a suitcase into a chair, that’s fun. Making a piano into a workdesk, that’s pretty fun too. Putting an aquarium in a TV and putting your cat’s bed in front so he can watch? Totally fun.

Relax, it’s not brain surgery

Comedy is the toughest job in show biz, because humor is entirely subjective. I’ll laugh at different things than you. And that’s “A”-okay.

This is your home. What makes you laugh? Where do you see humor? From artwork to accessories, from wall clocks to throw pillows, there’s funny stuff everywhere, and how you put it together is where the subjectivity of humor blends into personal taste. Don’t worry about whether other people giggle when they see it. This is all about you. Go forth and have silliness. What a wonderful thing to surround yourself in.

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Steffani Cameron

Steffani Cameron is a Victoria BC-based writer on a variety of topics. Here on the BuildDirect blog, she specializes in writing about smaller, urban spaces. How do you make the most of your smaller space? How do you decorate it to suit you? And how do you wage the war against clutter and win? This is Steff’s specialty.