Subtle Shine: The Beauty Of Pearl

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smoky pearl glass mosaic

Considered unfashionable since the 1950s, pearl is making a strong comeback with tiles and home accessories.


In French, we have a word for the subtle iridescent shine of a pearl: “nacré”. A popular color texture in the Roman empire and during the Tudor reign, it went out of fashion in the middle of the 20th century.

Linked with luxury, social elites and wealth for centuries, the iridescence of nacré materials were used in extravagant decors of the 1920s, which explains why more conservative decades have shunned it since.

But one thing I love about today’s home design is that pretty much anything goes. Popular styles range from Victorian to futuristic. As long as you like it, there’s no wrong way to do home decor. It’s not wrong to use in home decor either–so let’s have a look at some interesting ways you can integrate the subtle nacre of pearl and mother-of-pearl in your design!

Pearl on the walls: mosaics and tiles

The shine of pearl is a great texture to add to small spaces with good lighting. It’ll reflect the light without being too sparkly, and it’ll add a touch of beautiful luxury to the room. The best way to get that effect is to add a pearlescent tile mosaic to the wall (or even floor!). Go all-in with a full tiled wall, or use it as your backsplash.

Beach Style Powder Room by Charleston Interior Designers & Decorators Melissa Lenox Design

Whether you add a little pearl or a lot, you can be sure that the tiled texture will add richness and beauty to your space.

Also, with the technological advances of wallpaper, you can now add the effect of mother-of-pearl tiles, without all the installation trouble. Wallpaper companies are adding lots of interesting textures and styles that imitate the look of more expensive materials, so keep an eye on that if you’re more budget-conscious.

Contemporary Powder Room by Minneapolis Architects & Building Designers White Space Architecture

Glitz and glam: pearl lamps and chandeliers

If you like it a little more subtle (and also like a feminine look to your decor), you should look into getting a lamp that features pearls or mother-of-pearl textures.

A beautiful mother-of-pearl lamp will reflect light just so, giving your room the feel of a 40s starlet boudoir (if that’s the thing you like to go for!). I love how these lamps stay neutral in color, so you can actually add them to any color scheme you already have without disrupting it.

Contemporary Bedroom by San Francisco Interior Designers & Decorators Niche Interiors

Standing lamps not enough for you? Contemporary chandelier designers have recently been working quite a bit with mother-of-pearl textures and colors. The chandelier is definitely a daring choice, one that can’t be ignored and really sets the done, especially in the dining room.

Contemporary Kitchen by Sidney Cabinets & Cabinetry Splinters Millworks

But don’t be afraid to use the chandelier in other rooms of the house too: a living room or even a bedroom can use it well.

Pearls on a budget: accessories and fabrics

If you want to add some pearl luxury without having to take your walls apart or install a new chandelier, you can do it simply by adding some small, more affordable accessories. Even the smallest item can make a big difference.

Contemporary Decorative Pillows by Other Metro Bedding & Bath The HomeCentric

Contemporary Decorative Pillows by Other Metro Bedding & Bath The HomeCentric

Contemporary Decorative Boxes by Tulsa Furniture & Accessories IMAX Worldwide Home

Transitional Vases by Gilbert Interior Designers & Decorators Pizzazz! Home Decor, LLC

There are many types of accessories: cushions and embellished throws, precious boxes and vases with nacré paint or tiles. Add a tiny bit of glitz, and the room is completely transformed.

Victorian Living Room by South West Interior Designers & Decorators VSP Interiors

 Of course, you can go all-in with pearlescent furniture and rugs (yes, they exist), seashell pendants and coffee tables, even platform beds with pearl-colored tufted headboards.

Pearl’s hypnotic shine

I’ve always found the shimmering colors and textures of pearls and seashells quite fascinating, and as decor items, they do add femininity, glitz and a little touch of innocence that I love. I’m not going to be clutching my rows thinking about whether I should use some pearls in my home decor!

What do you think about this trend? Are you totally bored or absolutely taken in? Let us know in the comments!

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Anabelle Bernard Fournier

Anabelle is a freelance writer, writing teacher and blogger. She spends a lot of time at home, so she likes to make sure that it's cozy and nice, especially in her reading nook. In her free time, Anabelle knits, walks and learns how to write stories.