Hello all, today I’m happy to welcome back a monthly contributor, Michelle from Ten June. After all that fall decorating and crafting, I’m in the mood to take a break and read about great design, so Michelle’s article couldn’t have come at a better time. Today she’s bringing you her perspective on how television influences her design style, take it away Michelle!
“They say that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, but what about inspiration? Where does it lie for you? While I spend my fair share of time perusing shelter magazines, design blogs and creative websites like Pinterest, I also like to find design inspiration in unusual places. One of my favorite places to seek out unique home décor ideas is right in my living room – on the television!
Nora’s kitchen from Brothers & Sisters, via Hooked On Houses
One benefit of using television to inspire home design is that, as a viewer, you are automatically granted access into a million different scenes- homes of the rich, the poor, the old, the new, the traditional and the glamorous. But did you know that when you pull home design ideas from television, you can add a lot more to your design knowledge than just a few pretty, inspiring images? In fact, you can learn a lot about the way design works, just by turning on the TV.
The creators of television shows use set design to help to define and shape what you watch, such as the time period of the event, the tone of the show and even the personality of each of the characters.
In the same way that audiences understand television characters based on set design, one of the ways that visitors learn about you and your family is based on your home décor. As Nate Berkus says, “Your home should be a beautiful reflection of who you are and what you love.”
Just like in our homes, television sets allow us a peek into a character’s life and permit us to understand a little bit more about who we’re watching.
Take this living room for example. Does it look familiar to you?
Living room from Friends, via Grande Design
We all know and love this iconic Manhattan apartment living room, “owned” by Monica but frequented by the entire cast of Friends. This living room was the gathering spot for a group of young, hip city dwellers. Both the elements of Monica’s personality and the function of the space are captured in its design.
The fun, spunky colors and random, eclectic assortment of furniture reflects the young, cheerful personality of Monica (and of course her fabulous roommate, Rachel) while the worn, comfortable-looking couches, soft rug and addition of informal pillows and blankets scattered around the room give off a relaxed vibe. I can just see Chandler, Joey, the chick and the duck in there now.
Here’s another living room, but one that gives off quite a different vibe.
Draper family living room from Mad Men, via
This 1960’s era living room sets the tone on the set of Mad Men, the mid-century drama that highlights American society and culture during the 1960’s. This living room, which belongs to the Draper family, is traditional and conventional with a touch of mid-century flair.
Mrs. Draper, in an attempt to add a contemporary touch to the room during the third season of the show, makes over the style of the living room, as seen below. She adds lighter curtains and carpet, an orange sofa and patterned chairs which brighten the room while maintaining the family’s traditional vibe and reflecting the evolving society of that era.
What about this closet? Recognize it?
Carrie’s closet from Sex and the City, via Hooked on Houses
Doesn’t it just scream “I belong to a frenzied fashionista, couture-wearing writer whose wardrobe should not be crammed into this tiny New York apartment?” Oh yes it does. Hello, Carrie Bradshaw!
I think we all cheered out loud for Carrie once she landed her dream closet, as seen below, in the apartment with Big. As odd as it sounds, these spaces define Carrie’s character and sets the tone for her personality; as she grew from a twenty-something single girl into a mature, accomplished married woman, Carrie’s closet evolved and matured with her.
Carrie & Big’s closet from Sex and the City, via Hooked on Houses
One of my favorite shows on television right now is the hilarious Modern Family, a show which highlights three related families and their day-to-day trials and tribulations. The Dunphy family lives in a beautiful suburban home that is designed to characterize their traditional, middle class American family. With a touch of crazy, of course.
Dunphy family home from Modern Family, via Hooked on Houses
One of the best elements of the Dunphy home is the gorgeous blue entryway. The bold wall color greets guests at the front door and carries its way upstairs along with a gallery wall of family photos. In my opinion, this area truly defines the family – bold and loud, but always centered around family.
the Dunphy entryway from Modern Family, via Hooked on Houses
Dunphy family entryway from Modern Family, via
These are just a few examples of how you can pull inspiration and design knowledge from television shows. Isn’t it fascinating to realize how much design shapes and molds your perception of a place or the people associated with it?
While it is true that television set design teaches us a lot about designing your own home, it’s sometimes just as fun to sit back and admire the beautiful sets on television. All of these images below are in my inspiration file and for good reason – they capture gorgeous design in a space.
Carrie & Big’s apartment from Sex and the City, via Hooked on Houses
Addison’s beach house from Private Practice, via
Serena’s bedroom from Gossip Girl, via Christina Tonkin Interiors
Nora’s backyard from Brothers & Sisters, via Hooked on Houses
What’s my favorite you might ask? Oh you didn’t. Well, I’ll tell you! Currently, it’s the Chicago apartment in The Good Wife. Inside you’ll find classic styling that creates a timeless elegant interior, one filled with traditional wainscoting and fabulous use of color. Here is the entry:
Foyer from The Good Wife, Designer Dad
The master bedroom, her vanity, and the dining room
images via Casa Sugar
To see the full tour of the set of The Good Wife and read a fascinating interview with Set Director Beth Kushnick, visit Stephen Saint-Onge’s blog and read about the styling that goes into the sets on a great TV show.
What is your most favorite “home” on television, past or present?