Movie Design Inspiration: “American Hustle”

20672687_SThe film “American Hustle” is set in Atlantic City in the 1970s. For many people, this era is still too recent to bring back into your home, but there are elements to this style that may be worth a second look.

First, remember that this is Atlantic City – an East Coast version of Las Vegas. Therefore you’re looking at not just 70s décor, but over-the-top décor. Consider the luxurious evening gowns worn by the women in this movie – it’s all about glamour.

This hotel hallway carries through with that imagery. Patterned wallpaper, red carpeting and dark wood all combine to create the mood of the film. Notice the use of shaded sconces on the walls. This adds an old-world feel that spells money. This hotel was designed to give you the experience of a high-end hotel with a look that is much more common in the Eastern U.S.

4550128_SWhile you may not want to carry the theme this far in your own home, capturing a bit of the design of the film is possible while still developing a décor that is glamorous without looking campy or dated. Take a look at the bedroom below.

The patterned wallpaper has a hint of the 70s style, but choosing a matte brown and white paper tones down the gaudiness present in the photo above while still capturing the best of that era.

Dark wood furniture also matches the style of the film, and the furniture selected here is rich with an authentically luxurious appearance.

Finally, by using shaded sconces with a light color to coordinate with other furniture in the room, this bedroom moves from furnished to thoughtfully decorated.

You don’t have to totally leap into a film’s style to use some elements from it to make a room in your home more interesting or inviting. Just select those ideas that work well for you.

Thinking about Walls: Pattern

Wallpaper seems like an old-fashioned concept, but today’s patterned walls are anything but dated. Take a look at the image to the left. These oversized leaves create a dramatic and original accent, which is emphasized by the more traditional art.

In most homes, walls serve as a background to the furniture and accessories, but your walls can play an active role in your decorating plans. You are only limited by your imagination.

The room shown to the right demonstrates how walls can take over a room, creating the basis for the total design. This is difficult to do well, but in this case everything works.

To begin, every bit of architecture has its own highlight. The coffered ceiling receives special attention thanks to the dramatic large crystal chandelier. The window nook also has its own wallpaper; the black, grey and white offer an effective but curious contrast to the soft beiges 0n the walls in the rest of the room.

One thing that makes this wallpaper feel more contemporary is the large format of the patterns. The two choices on the back wall – separated by some white molding – complement each other because of the size of the patterns and the colors. Using two different wallpapers emphasizes the separation created by the molding.

Notice how the simple furniture keeps a focus on the walls. The clean lines and pure light tones allow the patterns to shine. The only other pattern comes from the cushion and rug in the foreground – which are also large format and bring some pink and green into the space.

How do you feel about bringing pattern into your home this way? Are you willing to be this creative with your walls?

Be Daring with Wallpaper

How courageous are you willing to be when decorating your home? Would you be brave enough to use wallpaper with this much of a flourish?

The bold red color and the metallic gold leaves make this bathroom pop. Let’s take a look at why it works so well.

To start, a bathroom has a lot of things to break up the vivid wallpaper. The mirrors, windows, shower, and bathroom cabinetry break up the walls so that this pattern doesn’t overwhelm the space. A bathroom is a great way to start expanding your home design thinking.

Second, the rest of the room is neutral. It would be tempting to add red towels and lots of red accessories, but that could overwhelm the room and actually distract from the wallpaper. Instead the red is limited to the walls and a few small pieces. Towels are a simple stone color that fit well with the flooring. Even the chair at the make-up table is upholstered in black.

Notice in the photo to the right that the room is filled with plants. That choice mirrors theleaf wallpaper without mimicking it. This thematic connection in the bathroom is understated but it has a subtle design impact.

Finally, the other tone choices – while neutral – show both light and dark elements. This helps them stand out even against the strong wallpaper.

So if you’re tempted to take a chance with color or wallpaper, consider starting with your bathroom, and you may find yourself becoming more daring throughout your home!