I started drafting this post a little while ago, but hadn’t quite gotten around to finishing it. However, after the awful attacks in Brussels this week, I felt the need to write something about the city that I called home for almost three years. A city that prides itself on its diversity and light-hearted approach to life, and which has had its soul ripped apart in two horrible, cowardly attacks. Whilst Brussels, along with the rest of the world, has been in mourning this week for those that lost their lives or were injured, I know it won’t be beaten. This is the city that brought us pictures of cats on twitter when it was in lockdown, and that has a small boy peeing into a fountain as one of its major tourist attractions! And so I know that its just a matter of time before it bounces back with good humour and stoicism.
It’s because of Brussels’ upbeat attitude and its inability to take itself too seriously that I’ve kept the content of this post the same as I had initially intended. And that is to showcase Brussels’ obsession with comics, as well as to provide you with some super-cool shopping ideas to enable you to recreate the comic-book look in your own home.
If you’ve ever visited Brussels, you’ll have seen the numerous cartoon wall murals dotted throughout the city. There are quite a few in the centre and I love that you never remember where they are until you turn a corner and suddenly spot them once again! This one below was round the corner from where we used to live in the Ixelles area of the city – they really do pop up when you least expect it!
The fabulous Tintin mural at Stockel metro station is also well worth a visit and provides a clear demonstration of how much of a connection Brussels has with its comics and their heroes. And you may not have ever noticed but if you check out some of the street signs in the centre of Brussels, you’ll see that they have been given comic book names as well as the usual French and Flemish ones! It’s marvellously potty.
Tintin is definitely a national hero, but you also have to make sure that you don’t miss out The Smurfs (de Smurfen) – another Belgian creation of cartoon genius. They too are celebrated throughout Brussels as you can see from the photo below.
Even Belgium’s national airline, Brussels Airlines, has introduced a special Tintin plane which flies on certain routes. We were lucky enough to fly on it on the way back from our visit to Copenhagen, and I was like a kid in a sweet shop when we spotted it!
So I guess that gives you a pretty clear view of how fundamental comics and their characters are to Belgium, and to Brussels in particular. Have you ever given much thought to using comics-based inspiration in your interior design schemes at home though? No, me neither. I bet you’ve thought that the only place for comics and comic-book imagery is in kid’s rooms right? Well, I’m here to try to convince you otherwise. I’ve had a bit of a look around and found some excellent ideas for embracing your inner nerd and for creating a kick-ass home whilst you’re at it! Pow!
First up, prints are a super-safe way of introducing pretty much anything that you’re not sure of into an interiors scheme. If in doubt, stick something in a frame, put it up and see how you get on with it. Best case, you love it and can then go a bit further and bring in other elements in larger scale. Worst case, you don’t love it and you can switch it out for something different and no harm has been done. I’ve found these UH-MAZING prints from one of my perennial fave online stores, MADE.com, and I challenge you to pick only a couple and not all of them. My personal faves are Spiderman and Batman as shown below, but Superman, Wolverine and the Incredible Hulk are also available. They’re designed by Dutch artist, Chungkong, and are a super-stylish piece of pop-art for the home.
If you’re feeling just a touch braver, how about this Marvel wallpaper mural that I spotted on Graham and Brown? Not for the fainthearted I’ll grant you, but wow, what a statement this would make in a living room (I’m thinking this would rock behind a mid-century modern style sideboard) or a downstairs loo (cover EVERY wall)! This mural measures 276cm wide by 190cm tall and comes in three strips for only £55! A steal! And can I have extra credit for not referring to it as Marvel-lous!?
Ok, I’m going to be honest with you, even I would probably wimp out at covering a whole wall in the mural above (and I’ve painted huge chunks of my living room matt black….). Not because it wouldn’t look awesome (it so would) but because I’m fickle and I worry that I would tire of it quickly. But don’t worry because I’ve also found this beautiful Marvel wallpaper that is much more understated without losing that comic-book vibe.
I really, really like this one. Billed as a ‘colour your own’ wallpaper, its got monochrome style with a cheeky comics inspired punch. I would definitely NOT be colouring this in, but generally marvelling (sorry, I can’t resist a good pun) at its black and white graphic printed glory. What a treat! And its only £13 per roll. Check out the extra bonus in the photo above too that contains the red and white rocket from the Tintin classic, Objectif Lune. Another fabulous style statement that is in no way just for kids.
Because I don’t like writing a post without including a cushion or two, I found this wonderful pop-art cushion on Etsy which ties in nicely with this theme of comics-based inspired interiors. Reminiscent of the 1960s Batman TV show with the very excellent Adam West – and with the most camp villains you’ve ever encountered – this is a real hit for me and would look fabulous on a light coloured sofa or chair. Another graphic colourful punch for the home that should definitely not be confined to kids’ bedrooms! It’s a perfectly affordable £29.95 and there’s a POW, and a SNAP, CRACKLE and a POP also available.
Well now, this next item is not something I was expecting to feature on this post, but now that I have discovered these amazing wondershelves from Israel-based Artori Design, there was absolutely no way I could miss them out. There’s a more traditional superhero shelf and bookend available, but I couldn’t resist the new Supergirl version in the photo below that was released to celebrate International Women’s Day! These comics-inspired shelves are wonderfully whimsical, making it look as though the character is holding the books up. I love their quirkiness and would certainly have these proudly on display in my home. The shelves are only $25, as are the bookends, making a fabulous bargain.
That’s my round up of interiors ideas inspired by comics, as so loved by our friends and neighbours in Brussels. I hope you’ve enjoyed my tribute to the wonderful city of Brussels and to its inhabitants – to whom I wish all the very best for the future.
Could you be tempted to inject a little comic book-based style into your home? Are you ready to embrace your inner geek? I know I am! Talk to me in the comments below.
Happy travels, and shopping,