Today’s TV shows are scintillating, not just because of the scripts and the actors’ prowess, but also because of how they’re styled. From the actors’ wardrobes to the sets they’re on, every little detail is painstakingly researched in an endeavour to create memorable visual treats for the viewer. With all the work that set designers put into each scene, perhaps it’s a good idea for us to take a few style tips from some of our favourite shows!
Olivia Pope is a Washington DC ‘fixer’ and leads a team of ‘gladiators in suits’ to manage unimaginable crises faced by the capital’s elite; including Olivia’s lover, the President of the United States of America.
“The space is based off of apartments in the El Royale in Los Angeles, designed by William Douglas Lee of the Chateau Marmont in 1927,” says production designer Corey Kaplan. “We loved the mouldings and the embellishments, but we made it a little bit larger scale with larger arches.”
Each set has been thoughtfully designed to reveal the characters' personalities and relationships. Like Olivia, her apartment exudes femininity with ease, through classic lines and timeless elegance. Her living room has a neutral colour palette, accentuated with soft, warm colouring and functional yet comfortable pieces. If she is home, Olivia is always armed with her dark and mysterious sidekick, red wine. Her wine glasses have been widely applauded by wine aficionados, and you can find something like them here.
Olivia’s living room exudes an air of simplicity and style while remaining relaxed enough for her to put up her feet after a tough day of gladiator-ing. You can replicate this look with paints or wallpapers of muted cypress olives, misted yellows, and bright cobalt blues; use oversized furniture, delicate throws, rugs, and lots of cushions to complete the look.
Mad Men brings a vision of retro cool to our homes every week. This was the age of the three-martini lunches, unlimited cigarette breaks, and unabashed consumerism and counterculture; the furniture speaks volumes of this era. The creator, Matthew Weiner, highlights the Scandinavian influence in the mid-century modern décor of the time. The design sentiment is clear through the retro costume design. The bright and cheery interiors often hide a darker side, much like the characters on the show.
Looking at an office space from the show, we can see a clear geometry in the tables and sofas while a retro-cool style runs through the accessories and accents. Though mid-century may seem out-dated, invest in pieces that combat monotony with pops of colour and stark design. Focusing on one or two central features like tables and chairs can add that extra element of retro fun to an otherwise modern room.
Not many are blessed with a home like Downton Abbey, but we’ve taken some design cues from the Crawley’s to bring a selection of Edwardian interiors to you. The Edwardian style speaks of a bygone era of rich woods, glowing crystal, silk brocade, velvet fabrics, gilded Louis XVI furniture and layers of texture that evoke images of watching the rain pour down in blustery England from your fireplace-warmed salon.
Downton Abbey is set in Highclere Castle, a real-life Victorian castle in Newbury, England. The grand architecture, lavish tapestries, rich adornments, and magnificent ‘High Elizabethan Style’ form the backdrop for the ups-and-downs of the Crawley family and their army of help. The design is almost reminiscent of the English romance, wit, and drama that envelop the cast members. You can tell a lot about the lifestyle of the period through the décor, the difference between ‘upstairs’ and ‘downstairs’, the equestrian nature, the large open spaces, and the emergence of conspicuous consumption.
Get an Edwardian luxury look by focusing on a few key pieces for a high-impact effect. While this 10-seater dining table in the dining room may be excessive, look for pieces with dark wood and heavy moulding. Crystal was also very popular at the time, and you can pick up crystal adornments for a touch of old-school glamour. More than the paintings, you will notice that the frames are especially elaborate and often finished in gold and black. You can find similar-looking frames on mirrors and Victorian photo frames. The tapestries are incredibly rich: they alone can convert the entire feel of a room. Consider damask patterns for some extra Downton oomph.
Production designer Richard Berg has created three great American homes for Modern Family. Claire and Phil’s typical upper-middle class American home is simple and family friendly. The décor features a mixture of striped and floral fabrics, warm Americana style pieces, and a generally sunny vibe.
Jay and Gloria’s sophisticated lifestyle place them in a palatial yet minimalist residence outfitted with neutral furnishings and punches of colour to mimic Gloria’s vivacious personality. For Mitchell and Cameron, the team conceived a Spanish-style duplex apartment with clean-lined furnishings and contemporary art. Each family brings a unique sensibility and style to the show, but the common theme is the overarching sense of modern America. Clean lines, functional design, and bright colours dominate the décor in all three households.
Here is a scene from Jay and Gloria’s kitchen-cum-dining room. Notice how the open kitchen adds a wholesome and comfortable feeling while the contemporary, structured furniture sets a more mature tone. Look at elegant Mebelkart porcelain dining sets to give your home a minimalist and modern look, which is both timeless and easy to maintain. The monotone furniture gives you space to add colourful (abstract) accents such as artworks from the Dawn Canvas collection from UrbanLadder, or fun pieces of lighting from FabFurnish created by Jainsons Emporio David Trubridge.