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Favorite Film Interiors: Interior Design in Movies

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Sometimes you love a movie because of the plot and sometimes you love a movie just because James Franco is no where to be seen. For design lovers, our attachment to films is often based around the interiors as they offer inspiration of design & architecture, the innovation of materials or the primal longing to wake up in a luxurious penthouse all your own.  If you’re experiencing a drought of ideas for your own clients or your own living room makeover, a quick fix is to crack into your Netflix account and push these favorites to the top of your queue:

I Am Love is the 2009 Italian film directed by Luca Guadagnino.  While the fragile and fierce Tilda Swinton leads the cast in a rocky and steamy tale of love, loss and passion, the real star of the show is the the family’s villa in Milan.  Built in 1932-1935 by architect Portaluppi, the villa is now a museum.  The interior is packed with expansive marble, original furnishings, soaring ceilings and chandeliers chandeliers chandeliers.

(Thanks to Habitually Chic for the photos.)

I love the graphic floor pattern and elevator doors.

A Single Man by fashion designer Tom Ford is the film based on Christopher Isherwood’s novel.  The impeccably groomed and first-time director, Tom Ford, chose architect John Lautner’s 1949 Schaeffer Residence in Glendale, California for the protagonist’s stunning house.  For a plot focused around ideas of masculinity, this home has plenty of wood, stone, glass and sharp angles.  It has a clean, crisp design that perfectly captures the style of Southern California and compliments the characters’ expertly tailored fashion.

(photos courtesy of Arthur Matthew Gray)

The woodsy, minimalist feel of the Schaeffer home is a great contrast to the ultra glam style of Julianne Moore’s character and her heavily textured and patterned house designed by Amy Wells the set designer for Mad Men.


When you think of Jack Black do you think of elegant, sophisticated design?  Well, he’s guilty by association in the 2006 movie The Holiday.  The plot line may have been the predictable ole switcharoo but the two opposing interiors were captivating.  Cameron Diaz’s character lived in a modern Los Angeles home with muted tones and long angular lines creating a spacious and sleek feel.  This style is a great juxtaposition to Kate Winslet’s character and her rustic, cozy English cottage decorated in mismatched prints, warm tones and exposed beams.

(great photos from Hooked on Houses)

A few of our fans added their favorite movie interiors to the mix.

Under the Tuscan Sun

Sleeping With the Enemy (beach house)

Sex in the City Movies 1 & 2 :  These were on my list, too.  The penthouse of Carrie and Big includes a sofa upholstered in blue wool-mohair.

(photos by Craig Blankenhorn)

Did I miss a set design you love?  A classic?  Be sure to add your favorite film interior in the comments below!

7 Comments

  1. Well… I kinda love super love the original Wall Street movie with Darryl Hannah as interior designer. It’s a guilty pleasure – the montage where they re-design his apartment with faux exposed brick and hunter green everything – like a train wreck that I’ll watch every time it’s on. I tried to find pictures, but couldn’t. Maybe that’s for the best.

    • Shannon, of course! How did I miss that one! I couldn’t find any photos either so I guess I’ll have to re-watch the original to get my fix.

  2. You’ve shown some great examples of beautiful interiors… some of them I was unaware of!
    One of my favorite movies that featured fabulous interiors… ‘Sex and the Single Girl’ with Natalie Wood and Mel Ferrer! All that black and white is just incredible…my must have in my own interior space!!
    Diane Keaton’s character in the film ‘Something’s Gotta Give’ has an amazing space! White, crisp and beautiful!
    Thanks for sharing! :)

  3. I love the interior from Susan Mayer’s house’s ground floor (Desperate Housewives)

  4. Beautiful homes here! I haven’t seen A Single Man – wanted to but my husband kept veto-ing it…I’m renting it tonight! I really loved the apartment in The Break-up with Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn…lots of great details to check out in their place… Just found your blog and I love it! I’ll be back. :)

  5. Love your blog, most of all I love the fact I’m clearly not the only one who gets completely distracted from a plot by drooling over and noting the most important details the movie set design! LOL. I drive my husband nuts with my quips “what just happened?!” Maybe you could help me actually, I wanted to get my hands on the lace paper that was used behind SJPs bed in the first movie, never saw the film but came across a feature a couple of years ago on the set design and there was the paper! I’ve trawled the net for it but no joy. I can’t remember the name of the designer for the life of me, any ideas? x

    • Hi Anita, thanks for your comment and I’m glad you’re enjoying our blog. I haven’t come across any info on the SJP lace paper but if you ever find out, please let us know. I’m curious myself. Thanks!

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