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Why interior designers are adopting a mob mentality in 2024

Defined by conspicuous signifiers of wealth earned outside the rule of law, for the latest interiors’ trend on the radar, say hello to loud and flashy – yet tasteful – home luxury.

In an Instagram post earlier this year, Francis Ford Coppola wrote: “I hear the ‘mob wife aesthetic’ is making a comeback…”. And when The Godfather director is on to something, you know he’s likely to be right. Initially taking the fashion world by storm, influenced by the style of female characters from mafia dramas such as The Sopranos (which this year celebrated its 25th anniversary) and Goodfellas, as well as hit Netflix show Griselda which saw Sofía Vergara transform into a real-life mob wife, it came characterised by fur coats, animal prints and patterns as a juxtaposition to the subdued and minimalist ‘quiet luxury’ trend which dominated in 2023.

Where fashion goes interiors follow, and now this flashy opulence is quickly making its way into the homes of many high-net-worth individuals who, while most likely aren’t funding their latest renovations through organised crime, are embracing a new taste for assured maximalism that is brilliantly extravagant.

“It’s not a crime to love luxury and dramatic interiors. I believe we are tired of minimalism and rationality, and this trend is the antithesis to the ‘clean’ homes we have been seeing as of late. It’s as maximalist as it gets,” Olimpiada Arefieva, founder of Well Done Interiors, tells Effect. “Yet while there was no real thought behind the original mob wife aesthetics, today it is 100 per cent more compound, suggesting a more complex mix of elements in both fashion and interiors.”

There is, of course, the danger of the final result looking vulgar, so ensuring a tasteful finish will require a designer with plenty of experience when it comes to complex interiors. “We can learn to mix and match from great masters of maximalism – Tony Duquette, Iris Apfel, Alberto Pinto, Juan Pablo Molyneux and many more,” she adds.

A texture trail

Offering an effective element of drama to bring this look into your home, a smorgasbord of textures is a key part of the mob wife look, with fur taking pride of place. For a more subtle finish, employ faux-fur throws, or alternatively, opt for a high-pile fur rug in the living room. Another interesting idea is to use a wallpaper with print of astrakhan fur, which you can find at the likes of Arlette Ess

A smorgasbord of textures is a key part of the mob wife look – employed to great effect with this house in Antwerp, Belgium, interior designed by Stephanie Barba Mendoza

“I would opt for fur, velvet, suede, shagreen, lizard and crocodile embossed leather,” advises Arefieva. “Long fringe, tassels and all kinds of trimmings are also defining features, and lacquered walls and furniture are a must. Deep purple and deep emerald colours are more elevated and complex than more-expected hues like black, magenta or red. And they look great with fur.”

Gilded glamour

Just as gold statement jewellery is a crucial component of the mob-wife-aesthetic wardrobe, gilded interiors also define the trend at home. Gold fixtures can be a good starting point, before extending into the likes of metallic velvet sofas and metallic paints that are both luxurious and warm. “For clients who don’t want to splurge on the likes of a sofa fully covered with Swarovski crystals [see Edra], you could try adding some shimmer with sequined pillows on a more traditional sofa,” suggests Arefieva. “We also love using foiled wallpaper to give a rich effect.”

Mirrored, plus silver- and gold-plated furniture is another great addition, as are crystal chandeliers. “Don’t be shy when choosing the size of one, and it doesn’t just have to be hung over a coffee table,” adds Arefieva. “Try placing it in the corner of a room and go for the biggest one you can find. It can be a great conversation starter for sure.”

Tancred Vilucchi, founder of Maison Vilucchi agrees, adding: “Combining voluptuous lines and soft tones of colours works wonders with shine and glamour elements. It creates a fabulous energy and balances the overall atmosphere to become vibrant and elegant rather than loud and tasteless.”

In the red

There’s nothing neutral about the mob wife aesthetic, just like there’s nothing neutral about the colour red, making it an ideal hue to bring warmth and a touch of glamour to any room. “I like to use deep, warm and rich reds for their presence and intensity,” explains Vilucchi. “Matte or eggshell are preferable to ensure a classy and elegant finish.”

“My choice is Million Dollar Red by Benjamin Moore,” adds Arefieva.

Animal attraction

Animal prints can “go with everything”. (above) Oliver Proudlock’s living room with Mylands paint

There’s no better way to embrace an inner Hollywood mob wife than by recognising that animal prints can go with everything, so expect to see an array of different options making an appearance, from zebra and leopard to tiger and snake. “I adore animal print and believe that a wise designer can integrate it decently in almost any style of interior,” explains Arefieva. “Using print wallpaper is one great option – Pierre Frey has great leopard print in both wallpapers and fabrics – while for a more pared-back take on the trend, opt for black and white prints like zebra. Even something as simple as using animal print as a lining for your curtains with tiebacks will also do the job.”

Animal print from the Ruggable Faux Hide Collection

Laying down animal print on your floors in the form of a rug is an attention-grabbing move, and don’t be afraid to jump in at the deep end with a larger design. Go too small and it will just look like you are playing it safe. Ruggable’s maximalist Iris Apfel On Safari Sapphire Rug – a Persian-inspired design layered with large animal imagery that merges sophisticated eclecticism with drama – is just one of a number of great options.

Mix and match furniture

The mob wife aesthetic celebrates mixing and matching eras and styles with abandon. Pictured: Maison Vilucchi

Being all about embracing maximalism as an expression of personality, there are very few rules when it comes to furniture choice for a mob-wife-inspired home, although a good eye is necessary to get the right mix of items. “I picture a traditional sofa in leopard fabric mixed with an extremely furry bergère armchair and a loveseat shaped in the shape of red lips, all in a room covered with silver foil wallpaper and golden classical mirrors on top of them,” says Arefieva.

As to be expected, Italian brands are often a great fit for this theme, with both designers name-checking Edra for its iconic, opulent and timeless designs. “Francesco Molon, Rozzoni Mobili and Angelo Cappellini are also great furniture brands for Italian classics, but French brand Moissonier is my favourite for classic seating and chests of drawers. They have a huge selection of finishings, including gold, silver, bright pink, magenta, emerald, purples and more,” she adds. Elsewhere, look to Shagreen Art for shagreen furniture and wallcoverings and Jakob Schlaepfer for eccentric fabrics for upholstering.

Read more: Interiors | Trends | Living Rooms | Dining Rooms | Bathrooms  | Design