5 interior design styles inspired by the Cinema

A lot of clients ask me: what are the most common design styles? Or, they wonder how they can come up with their own personal style.

Start by asking your self this question: If you could design a room; what movie or TV show would you use to stylistically inspire your space?

For as long as I can remember I have always looked at the background settings of movie and television shows for ideas and inspiration. Especially movies filmed in a specific time period. I often take notice of the styling, color combinations, and materials. I always look to see what they have displayed on tables and other surfaces to give more insight into the character’s personality.

Listed below are some of the common answers I got when asking my own clients in order to find their personal design style.

Modern | Mid-Century 50’s thru 70’s

Madmen, 2007

 (I so want the Saarinen tulip table in far left corner!)


Twilight, 2008

(My husband’s pick the house not so much the movie)

Design Elements:

    • Form follows function
    • Rectilinear lines long and low to the ground
    • Organic and asymmetrical shapes
    • Little or no ornamentation
    • Color and texture plays a very important role
    • Details of craftsmanship
    • High-gloss lacquer finishes, exotic wood veneers, and stainless steel accents

Coastal Transitional

Something’s Gotta Give, 2003

It’s Complicated, 2009

(One of my picks)

Design Elements:

  • Relaxed sophistication with an eclectic blend of Old World European furnishings with dark finishes
  • Comfortable fabrics
  • Weather or painted finishes
  • Light added mix of blues, greens, and whites or vibrant tropical with reds, oranges, and yellows
  • Natural fibers such as cotton, jute and sisal
  • Seashell encrusted mirrors and tables and coral-form accessories and prints

Traditional / Period

Marie Antoinette, 2006

Breakfast At Tiffany’s, 1961

Design Elements:

  • Symmetrical and formal
  • Traditional wood finishes are typically dark, cherry and mahogany
  • Fabrics that work well on traditional furnishings include chintz, jacquard, damask and brocade.
  • Leather in rich brown tones
  • Crown moldings
  • Raised panel doors in kitchens
  • Columns with ornaments
  • Hardwood flooring
  • Rich materials such as tumbled marble

Futuristic and Sleek

Tron: Legacy, 2010


Ugly Betty, 2006-2010

Design Elements:

  • Ambient neon lighting
  • Whites, black, blues, grays, with pops of bright colors
  • Smooth-lined furniture
  • Steel and glass-like surfaces
  • Atypical shapes and forms


The Royal Tenenbaums, 2001

(On of my best gal pal’s picks)

500 Days of Summer, 2009

(I totally loved the chalk board wall thing)

Design Elements:

  • Neutral background color palettes
  • Antiques used in moderation
  • Collections and sets of similar pieces
  • One of a kind item’s
  • Global pieces from around the world
  • Contrast in color or finish
  • Traditional and modern elements together
  • Rough fabrics mixed with elegant textiles
  • Worn surfaces combined with refined surfaces
What movie or television show would you choose? Let me know I love to hear it!

Links and Sources:

Modern | Mid Century




Coastal Transitional


Traditional | Period


Futuristic and Sleek