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Drab Home (and Love Life)? Just Add Color

Drab Home (and Love Life)? Just Add Color

Josh and Matt pictured
Josh Jessup and Matt Moss

In the face of dark times, Josh Jessup and Matt Moss grew a vibrant relationship, decor business, and social media following.

Josh Jessup and Matt Moss met six years ago in college by going on a date with the same person — separately, that is. Each had a “failed date,” they attest, but that date luckily decided to play matchmaker and set the pair up. Lightning struck. After three weeks of seeing one another, they moved in together, which began a long-term relationship in love and design.

Home decor wasn’t initially in the cards for this Australian couple. But then the pandemic happened. Jessup lost his job at the Apple Genius Bar, and the pair “started exploring our creativity and art as a way to deal with this period of uncertainty and isolation.” They moved to Melbourne to launch “a rental-friendly art and decor business,” and a movement was born. Their embrace of color and whimsy in a dark time attracted hundreds of thousands of followers and millions of likes on their @joshandmattdesign TikTok account. Fans flock to for rule-breaking art and design — for the ceiling as well as the wall.

Ahead, the artists and content creators offer advice to renters and homeowners alike on incorporating unique, colorful design that can transform a space and a relationship.

Josh Jessup and Matt Moss

How would you describe your aesthetic?
Our style is a manifestation of what goes on in both our brains merged into one. We don’t necessarily have a clear picture of where we want to go, but it’s all about the journey. We love experimentation and being guided by how objects and colors make us feel. You’ll notice — around our house, it is very colorful and full of objects that look very different from one another. But once together, [they] create a very unique visual story. Our style is eclectic, playful, colorful, and always evolving.

Who are your inspirations?
It was the Kelly Wearstler MasterClass [from the renowned interior designer] that made us realize that [this] is the direction in life we wanted to go. We started to fill our minds with as much art and design knowledge as we could to figure out what we are drawn to and who inspires us. There’s so many amazing designers and collectives that we look up to, including Verner Panton, Memphis Milano, Gufram, Faye Toogood, [and] Patricia Urquiola.

Josh Jessup and Matt Moss

Does being part of the LGBTQ+ community inform your style?
Growing up in a society where we were afraid to be our authentic selves really made us want to create our own safe space that was entirely a reflection of us and what we love. We felt interior design was a great way to explore our own authenticity, and we hope it encourages other members of the LGBTQIA+ community to embrace every facet of themselves.

You didn’t always embrace color in interior design. What changed?
Embracing color in our home was like a light bulb moment for us! Before @joshandmattdesign, we had a color palette of gray, black, and brown. Every other area of our life, though, we loved color — from the clothes we had to the art we created. And we both realized we hadn’t applied our love of color to our own home. The pandemic really caused a shift towards color for us, as we were now inside our apartment a lot more frequently, and it became really important to us that our home made us happy and became our safe haven. And this naturally led us to a path of color everywhere.

Josh Jessup and Matt Moss

How has transforming your living spaces transformed your lives?
It’s completely transformed our lives. We wanted to share our love of color, art, and interior design but never could have imagined it would turn into the platform and career we have today. We feel incredibly blessed and grateful to be able to do this together. I think because we were together years before Josh & Matt started, it allowed us to form a very strong foundation for us to build our platform and business together. As with all relationships, we have moments we disagree, and it’s a stressful job that can take a toll. But we support one another, learn from these moments, and honestly, juggling a relationship and joint business has been a great way to continue to strengthen our relationship and love for one another.

You’ve developed quite a following on TikTok. What do fans love about your brand?
From the very start, we wanted to show our love of art, color, and design in a way that was unapologetically us and our most authentic selves — and people loved that. After a few months of posting, our platforms started to grow exponentially, and before we knew it, we had an amazing community of like-minded people who we could share our passions with and a lot of love. We have a strong focus on curating our home and collection in a sustainable way. We want to show the world the possibilities for your home when you incorporate thrifting and upcycling. I think our audience just loves being taken along our decorating and creating journey, and we love sharing our lives with them. It feels like our home we share with the world, and we wouldn’t change anything.

What would you say to someone who is curious about incorporating more whimsy in their decor but is afraid to take that first step?
We’d say research and the internet is your friend. Everybody starts somewhere, and the way to grow is filling your mind with knowledge. We use Facebook Marketplace, Etsy, and Google, and also visit as many vintage and thrift stores as we can. By doing this you start to develop an eye for things you are drawn to and also may want to avoid. Pay attention to what you’re liking. What is its color? Shape? Texture? Material? All those things help guide your future pieces you’ll curate.

Josh Jessup and Matt Moss

What was your first step?
Our very first colorful vintage purchase was Kartell Eros chairs in bright Lucite blue, and it did not go with anything in our apartment, but we loved them. As our interior journey continued, we slowly began to add other color and fun objects that grabbed our eye, and now there’s color everywhere. Don’t be put off by expectations in society of how your home should look. You know yourself best and what you like and how you want to use your space. So block out the noise and create a sanctuary that reflects your authentic self.

What are you working on now that you’d like our readers to know about?
Our latest project is taking up the majority of our time at the moment. We recently moved into a house, which is so surreal for us as we lived in apartments our entire relationship together, so this is a very exciting project! The house is huge, so there’s a lot more vintage finds, upcycling, art, and creating to take you all along on. One of the consequences of growing so big is our art and home decor brand was getting too large to manage on our own. But [we’re] so excited to let you know we’re working on relaunching, and there’s going to be some amazing designs coming up that we look forward to sharing with you all.

Josh Jessup and Matt Moss

This article is part of the Out March/April issue, out on newsstands April 4. Support queer media and subscribe -- or download the issue through Amazon, Kindle, Nook, or Apple News.

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Daniel Reynolds

Daniel Reynolds is the editor-in-chief of Out and an award-winning journalist who focuses on the intersection between entertainment and politics. This Jersey boy has now lived in Los Angeles for more than a decade.

Daniel Reynolds is the editor-in-chief of Out and an award-winning journalist who focuses on the intersection between entertainment and politics. This Jersey boy has now lived in Los Angeles for more than a decade.