Design inspiration from the creative silver screen

“I’m cheating on fashion with furniture” (Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City II).

Furniture has become amazingly stylish and chic – long past the days of comfort and practicality. We are almost going back to the Elizabethan era of furniture where opulence and luxury prevailed over function.

While watching the movie I was enthralled with the décor that filled the screen as they journeyed from New York to Morocco. The furniture, chic tile, abundance of wallpaper and glorious fabrics attracted my attention and almost distracted me from the movie! It gave me an idea for design inspiration – we always go to show homes and magazines for design ideas but who ever pays attention to movies or TV?

Television shows and movies have set designs created by the most sought after designers and often we miss their creation even after watching a program over and over again. TV shows like Gossip Girl, 90210, and even certain daytime soaps have fabulous design which is worth paying attention to.

The sets will always work with and match the character who is ‘living’ in that space whether contemporary, casual or traditional. Movies like Sex and the City and classics like Jane Eyre give us insight into both modern and turn of the century style in both fashion AND interior design.

The set for Carrie and Big’s apartment in Sex and the City II was designed by Designer Lydia Marks who created a space for the ‘couple’ which combined both the masculine and the whimsical and opulent. These sets are not designed by accident and are a perfect backdrop for story and character. If you find yourself relating to a character in a movie or aspiring to be like that character, check out their living space while you watch them on TV or at the theatre. Your perfect chance to become a voyeur into that character’s personal design style!

If you have a preference for a certain style of home or furniture, try renting a movie which will give you set designs to inspire you in those styles. Drapery is always present and becomes more opulent the more they are trying to portray wealth or power. Remember Dynasty? The fashion was all the rage for that show but the set design and decorating also told us quite a bit about the characters.

Colour is often used to create mood. Pay attention to how often the antagonist of a story lives in a very dark apartment or house. Crime scenes in shows are often portrayed in rooms with black or grey walls, all to create an atmosphere of heaviness and dread. The more important the character of a show is, the more creative the set designers get with their visions – take a long look the next time you are watching your favorite show!

If you need inspiration for furniture, drapery and interior design – try renting your favorite movie or even better, go see it in the theatre where it is larger than life! The scenes in Sex and the City II which captured my attention most were the fabulous wall tiles in Carrie and Big’s kitchen, they were stunning!

I hope you find some new and exciting inspiration while enjoying some relaxing movie/TV time with your family. They will wonder what you are doing as you make notes on the set design instead of paying attention to the dialogue!

Kim Lewis is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre. Feel free to contact her at 343-7711 ext. 227, email her at or join her facebook group called “Ask a Designer”

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