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Fear and Loathing: Las Vegas “Gonzo Decor”

If Gonzo Journalist Hunter S. Thompson had applied some of his “Fear and Loathing” principles to interior design, he might have come up with retro/fun/eye-catching room designs of psychedelic proportions that you’d love, not loathe.

It’s hard to live in Las Vegas and not be at least familiar with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. “Buy the ticket, take the ride… and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well… maybe chalk it up to forced consciousness expansion,” wrote Hunter S. Thompson in his seminal road book.

Imagine if the original Gonzo journalist had applied some of his “Fear and Loathing” principles to interior design. Fortunately, we don’t need Thompson’s personal advice to extrapolate pieces of psychedelic imagery and circa-1970s design sense into context for some Las Vegas decor you won’t loathe at all. Here’s a quick guide to decorating your Las Vegas home “Gonzo style” if you’re looking for retro, fun, and eye-catching room design that doesn’t have to cost very much. 

“Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.”- Hunter S. Thompson

Before you can undertake a serious room revision, you must do as Thompson advises and quash your more sedate instincts. Let the whimsical take hold and get into a 70s-style, free-wheeling, anything-goes state of mind. Visualize the fast-moving cornucopia of Vegas lights as Thompson must have seen them. “The Strip at Dusk” wall graphic from Walls360, a company based right in Las Vegas, depicts the darkened strip with lights in a colorful blur, as though whizzing by in your favorite vintage land cruiser.

Accessorize with the Rikki Knight Psychedelic Purple Peacock switchplate for a nod to the 1970s craze for anything bird-inspired. Scour eBay, garage sales and Las Vegas downtown shops such as Retro Vegas or The Funk House for key furniture or statement pieces from the Fear and Loathing era. Dominant shapes and lines of the times favored those found in nature. 

“Yesterday’s weirdness is tomorrow’s reason why.”

Hallmarks of the 1970s include:

  • Bright yellow, orange, green, turquoise, and brown color palettes offset with areas of white.  Avocado and pink were common for bathrooms and kitchens.
  • Bold patterns with large, bright flowers; graphic or geometric patterns; paisley.
  • A wide variety of materials, including Lucite, glass, vinyl, leather, chrome, plastic, and wood.
  • Clean, space-age style design themes or a Bohemian shabby-chic design aesthetic.

Throwback kitsch such as bean-bag chairs, beaded curtains, swag light fixtures, and lava lamps might actually work into your yesteryear designs for today. Shag rug also hearkens back to Thompson’s heyday, and a portable bar in the corner would have the intrepid journalist feeling right at home. 

Making your retro decor up-to-date, though, requires a certain re-purposing of these motifs. For instance, you may have unpleasant memories of Grandma’s oddly green-colored refrigerator, but using a brighter version of that shade for a pillow gives a “pop” to your room that lends just the right tip of the hat to your Fear and Loathing-inspired decor.

“Buy the ticket, take the ride.”

Like many Thompson quotes, you can interpret that however you like. However, a real Gonzo decorator would probably say it means there’s no limits to this playful theme, aside from your own imagination.

Image Source: Flickr

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