There’s a hotel in Bloomington, Indiana where you can stay in a recreation of Joyce Byers’ living room from the Netflix series Stranger Things. It’s a carefully reproduced set from the sci-fi horror drama with superb attention to detail, right down to the burned out phone.
The room features a crochet pull-out sofa bed, floral wallpaper and the famous wall of letters. Hoteliers apologize in advance for the fairy lights — they seem to have a mind of their own. Next door is the Wheelers’ basement with wood paneling, a replica of Eleven’s Den, retro board games and a vintage tape player. The suite sleeps four people, prices start at around €300 and an overnight stay in mid-January costs around €400. Nice dreams! If there were an award for the most fun you can have indoors and I was the judge, the Graduate Bloomington Hotel would be at the top of the list.
This level of creativity works with hotel interiors because it’s a novel experience. You stay there only one night. Interpreting the aesthetic of a film or TV series for home decor requires filters. It usually works best when interpreted rather than replicated.
Lauren Kavanagh, art director at wallpaper company Hovia, has a particular interest in television-inspired interiors. It all started with Monica’s apartment friends.
“It was quite unusual at the time and expressed a lot of her personality. I’ve noticed that people are using this lilac color in their homes.” Kavanagh is an English designer of Irish descent from her mother’s side. “My grandmother is from Dublin. The Kavanaghs are from Liverpool and have worked there for generations. They must have just stayed where they landed.”
Under her direction, Hovia produced a series of wallpapers in homage to the Wes Anderson films. Each of the wallpapers is inspired by a different movie. Hovia’s Georgian-style trompe-l’oeil wallpaper, Agatha (€48 per square metre), has Hovia’s candy-sweet palette The Grand Hotel Budapest (2014). So far, so heartwarming. friends is cozy drama and Wes Anderson movies tend to be sweet.
In contrast, Only murders in the building, a mystery comedy drama series that aired on Hulu in 2021, is unsettling with unlikable characters. Nonetheless, it appears to be the most influential interior design series to date mad Men. “I’m a huge fan of true crime podcasts, so naturally I was drawn to them Only murders in the building‘ Kavanagh admits. “I loved the way the wallpaper in the apartments reflected the characters that lived there, and I also noticed that some of the wallpaper was similar to what we already had at Hovia.”
She then produced a curated selection of wallpapers to recreate the atmosphere of the various homes in the series. To mimic the exposed brick of Mabel’s apartment, she recommends Hovia’s Lambeth Brick Effect Wallpaper Mural (from €48 per square metre). The wood paneling in Oliver’s apartment can also be effectively simulated with wallpaper. To mimic the dark floral wallpaper in his hallway, Kavanagh suggests Thistle (€144 per roll), a heritage-inspired floral pattern in modern hues. It’s not the same as Olivers, but it creates a similar atmosphere. To delve deeper into the series’ floral designs, the actual wallpaper in the killer’s apartment is Belladonna Dark by Witch & Watchman (€268 per roll). If you plan to poison someone, don’t use it at home. It’s a bit of a giveaway.
Also, the aesthetic known as Dark Academia has its roots in a crime thriller – Donna Tartt’s novel, The Secret Story (1992), a sophisticated literary thriller set in an elite American college. With other influences including the 1989 film The Society of Dead Poets and the television series of the 1980s Brideshead reunion, the aesthetic took shape during lockdown on TikTok. Inspired by a fantasy of English boarding schools and American Ivy League colleges, the trend was driven by young people whose education had gone online. The aesthetic has many manifestations. Indoors, it is characterized by dark walls, preferably with paneling, antique furniture, somber 19th-century portraits with gilded frames, classical references, and leather-bound books. Materials include tweed, leather, and corduroy, with soft lighting and accents of marble or polished brass. Dark Academia can be murky. Ideally, it stops just before damp.
As always, look at the building first. Dark Academia suits historic houses perfectly, but when your building is light and airy, strategy is called for. “Dark Academia really doesn’t work in an open space,” says Susan McGowan, interior designer and director of Ashen & Cloud. “But many households have a cozy room or a TV room where you can turn the light all the way down. Dark Academia is a natural look coming for fall – it’s all about shadows and retreating into a darker space.”
You can see McGowan’s aesthetic on the main stage and in the DFS workshop at the Ideal Home Show, taking place October 21-23 at the RDS in Dublin. “Dark Academia tends to be monochrome,” she explains. “I take it a step further by using jewel colors.”
Her advice is to take a piece as a starting point – a sofa, a wall paint or an artwork – and build the scheme from there. “Keep it within the same color family,” she suggests. “The walls could be a deep dark blue with a sofa in a slightly lighter tone of the same shade and an accent chair in aubergine.” Even the curtains can follow the color scheme, with metallic accents and rattan or natural wood furniture to brighten the look.
For the Ideal Home Show, this drama works brilliantly. As stranger things Suite in Bloomington, it’s a passing experience. People go there to be impressed. But not everyone will want to devote their living room to such a full use of rich colors. This is not a half look. “It’s about making it big or going home,” admits McGowan.
For the cautious, she suggests experimenting with the look in a bathroom. “Many bathrooms in modern houses and apartments have small north-facing windows or no windows at all.” Instead of the usual white bathroom tiles, which can look very drab, she recommends dark walls and dark tiles. “You won’t even notice the lack of natural light. But you must embrace the darkness.”
See graduatehotels.com/bloomington; hovia.com; witchandwatchman.co.uk; Ashenandcloud.com; dfs.ie; idealhome.ie
https://www.independent.ie/life/home-garden/interiors/embrace-interiors-inspired-by-your-favourite-tv-shows-42046612.html Embrace interiors inspired by your favorite TV shows