Minnie Mouse Is the Design Icon We've Been Sleeping On

Hadley Mendelsohn
·3-min read
Photo credit: PAUL RAESIDE; Graphic: Alice Morgan
Photo credit: PAUL RAESIDE; Graphic: Alice Morgan

From House Beautiful

Minnie Mouse: beloved fictional rodent, sweetheart of Mickey, and...style icon? As far as design blogger Bri Emery is concerned, absolutely! This weekend, Emery (you may know her as @designlovefest) is serving as a speaker in the Disney Polka Dot Summit, a digital festival presented by Disney and Create & Cultivate. To understand Emery's connection to the event, you're going to want to hear her take on the most underrated design icon—yes, Minnie Mouse.

Photo credit: Flicker
Photo credit: Flicker

It may seem silly to celebrate a cartoon as a style icon, but, I have to give it to Emery, she kind of has a point. First of all, I'm a sucker for anything bubble gum pink and red, which are Minnie's signature colors. And beyond color scheme, Minnie epitomizes sweetness, confidence, and whimsy, three qualities that I admire in both mice and interiors. Oh, and bows—don't forget about the bows.

If you're at all familiar with Emery's bold, playful style aesthetic and her bubbly, approachable personality, it's not surprising that Create & Cultivate tapped Emery as a partner; she's somewhat of a modern-day (and living, breathing) Minnie Mouse muse. Read on for my conversation with Emery where she makes the case for Minnie as inspo and shares her tips on decorating with polka dots, bows, and pink and red color palettes. Then click through a curation of the best Minnie Mouse-inspired rooms to inspire sweeter interiors in your own home (like designer Anne Hepfer's living room, which we just couldn't resist adding Minnie to—she looks right at home!).

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House Beautiful: How would you define Minnie Mouse’s style in three words?

Bri Emery: Timeless, playful, and then, obviously, sweet!

HB: If you could decorate Minnie Mouse’s dream home, what would be in it and why?

Emery: Well, she seems really quirky to me so I wouldn’t shy away from big colors. I'm obsessed with artists just painting all over the walls and I think she'd find that really fun, too. So a fully painted mural, whether it's polka dots or a spin on it, definitely. And then I love the pink and red combo. Mixing those colors is always fun, especially in a fun modern way that feels chic. Like a red bathtub!

HB: And what’s your favorite way to decorate with polka dots?

Emery: I'm definitely drawn to polka dots and always have been. This is true both in accents in decor but in fashion, I always love a dot in there. But I would say my favorite way is to mix different scales of dots. Say, a polka dot pillow with a more organic polka dot wallpaper. I also saw someone the other day who did a cool cut out with a stencil. It looked like they did a hole punch (2 inches) and cut out a bunch of different color cards like from construction paper and they just Mod-Podged them all to the ceiling in their nursery.

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HB: How fun! Speaking of which, polka dots are typically considered whimsical and playful—how can that be used to their advantage? Can they ever be “serious” in the design world?

Emery: I think keeping the more traditional dot is fun for kids obviously but there's a way to have a more serious quality if they mimic nature patterns so they aren’t exactly circular or aren’t placed in a grid but an organic pattern—like a pattern you’d see in nature or animal print. A toned-downe color palette with black in it will be more sophisticated, too.

Inspired? Tune into the summit for more Minnie Mouse(and Emery)-approved inspiration.

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