TV Shows That Influence Home Design Trends

Tuesday Sep 14th, 2021



There’s no shortage of design shows packed with before and after shots to keep us coming back for more. But reality TV aside, there are plenty of popular TV series that have impacted the way we design and decorate our homes. From the resurgence of mid-century modern thanks to Mad Men or the iconic ‘90s Friends set, the on-screen spaces we see on television offer endless design inspiration. Today, we’re looking at some of the most influential design trends from some of the TV series we know and love. 


Mad Men 

The long-running TV series Mad Men is known for its characters and drama as much as its meticulously staged sets. Every episode is packed with sleek lines and veneer wood found in 1960s vintage furniture (original pieces were often sourced for the show). While an original Eames chair might not be in your budget, Mad Men’s eight-year run has been credited with bringing affordable mid-century modern styles to many big box stores. The style is still widely accessible and popular today with hairpin-leg tables, low sofas, starburst mirrors, and bar carts present in many homes to create a sophisticated, vintage look. One way to achieve this Mad Men style is to opt for wood paneling in the living room, then find some low sofas for seating. Make it a little more modern by adding in some pops of colour in the furniture or area rugs, and glass tables to bring the look into the 21st century. 

Image via Flickr, Rob Young, CC BY 2.0



Monica Gellar’s kitchen is probably one of the most recognizable TV sets of all time. Friends set designer John Shaffner said he wanted to create a space that looked like it was pulled together by 20-somethings on a budget. Mission accomplished. The result is a flea market chic look with a mix and match of pieces that might have been found on the curb or given away for free. No matter its origin, each piece packs personality and comes together to create an original and colourful space. With the popularity of thrifting, the Friends set is still a source of inspiration for creating a space that’s all your own. Recreating the exact Friends set may not be an option in your space—purple walls don’t work in every home—but the growing popularity of grandmillennial trend means you can really lean into the maximalism and vintage look the show inspired. Don’t be afraid to show off your personal mementos, whether it’s cookie jars, family photos, collectibles, or thrifted décor!

Image via Flickr, zen whisk, CC BY-ND 2.0


Downton Abbey 

Like Mad MenDownton Abbey is a period piece where the sets are just as important as the storyline! With its epic staircases, grand dining room, massive art, and printed wallpaper, the lavish early-1900s sets take a leading role in the show. While an exact Downton Abbey living room might not be suitable for everyday life lacking butlers and ladies-in-waiting, elements of Downton Abbey’s sets like antique pieces, gilded finishes, oil portraits, and dramatic beds still have their place in homes designed with Edwardian elements. Try executing the Downton Abbey style in your living room or sitting area with ornate décor, dramatic furniture, and thrifted pieces for a conversation-starting space that will transport you back in time. This style is guaranteed to make any dinner party feel more elegant.

Image via HGTV


The Brady Bunch 

According to research based on Google search data, The Brady Bunch is the most inspirational show for interior design. The show aired from 1969 to 1974 with sets featuring formica counters, an iconic floating staircase, and wood panelling galore. You might also recognize the ranch-style exterior which was recently revamped to match the original design in HGTV’s A Very Brady Renovation. While wood-panelled walls might not be on your Pinterest inspiration board, design elements like rattan, velvet fabrics, and brick walls seen on The Brady Bunch set still remain popular today. The industrial look of exposed brick walls has become popular, but doing a full reno in your home may not be an option. Don’t worry, though! You can get the brick look in your home using wallpaper—we promise we won’t tell your secret. 


The Undoing

The popular HBO miniseries starring Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman left viewers wondering about more than just “whodunnit.” According to Money, there were thousands of Google searches regarding the 2020 show’s interior designs. The Undoing takes place in New York City, with stunning designs and furniture in every set. In the show’s beach house, the colour scheme featured cool blue and green tones, which is in line with Benjamin Moore’s colour trends for 2021. Perhaps it was the lavish-yet-lived-in look of the homes in the show, or the carefully curated selection of art that drew people in, but the research clearly shows The Undoing made an impact on viewers and their design choices! 

So, the next time you’re watching your favourite TV series be sure to check out the set design for ideas. Whether you’re looking for current design trends or style ideas from bygone eras, you’re sure to find inspiration.    

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