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Great Bedrooms from TV Shows
A great television show needs more than strong writing, a compelling story, and talented actors. It also requires a creative set and costume designers to bring the show’s world to life. While many—if not most—television shows never venture into their characters’ bedrooms, some popular shows throughout the years have made enough use of this private space to require a permanent set for filming. Here are the ten best TV bedrooms that might inspire your next decor project (in this photo, cameras roll on a scene from Downton Abbey).Continue to 2 of 11 below.
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Beverly Hills, 90210
October 1990 to May 2000, FOX
Initially focusing on the culture shock of twins Brenda and Brandon Walsh after a move from Minneapolis, MN to Beverly Hills, CA, the show expanded to encompass a large group of teen friends as they made their way through high school and beyond. Many of Beverly Hills, 90210’s actors—including Tori Spelling, Shannen Doherty, Luke Perry, and Jason Priestley—became massive stars during the heyday of the show, which covered not just friendship, romance, and rivalry, but also touched on serious subjects such as date rape, teen sex, drug and alcohol abuse, suicide and AIDS.
Shown here is the bedroom set of Kelly Taylor, played by Jennie Garth. The bright, Andy-Warhol-inspired photos of herself on the walls, along with the furry blanket and retro bedside lamps make this “I’m so wealthy” bedroom a winner.Continue to 3 of 11 below.
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The Big Bang Theory: Howard's Room
Premiered September 2007, CBS
In its earliest seasons, The Big Bang Theory focused on four Caltech scientists whose social skills lagged far behind their IQs, and their growing friendship with their neighbor Penny, who is just the opposite. Although The Big Bang Theory took a while to win over viewers, it eventually surged in popularity and is now one of the most popular sitcoms in the U.S.
One of the most fun aspects of the show are the signature fashion styles of each character, which also extend to their bedrooms. Here, we see the outrageous bedroom set of Howard Wolowitz (played by Simon Helberg), a man-child who has never outgrown his love of toys, pop culture and tacky stereotypes of the “seductive” bedroom – check out his satin sheets, leopard rug and pillows, and red bedspread.Continue to 4 of 11 below.
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The Big Bang Theory: Penny's Room
Premiered September 2007, CBS
A small-town Nebraska girl (played by Kaley Cuoco) moves to Los Angeles to make it big as an actress. She finds her acting career limited to a part in a hemorrhoid cream commercial and a starring role in “Serial Ape-ist,” a low-budget horror flick where a psychotic, genetically-engineered ape attacks her while she's in the shower.
Penny serves as The Big Bang Theory’s mostly-nerdy group’s voice of social awareness and common sense. While she eventually becomes very successful as a pharmaceutical salesperson, her colorful apartment and wardrobe remain a consistent treat.
Penny’s charming bedroom is full of color and pattern, but because the palette is mostly limited to turquoise, mossy green, and orange, and almost all the patterns are florals, the look is cheerful and fun, not overwhelming. The paper Chinese lanterns hanging from the ceiling are a natural touch of color for any bedroom.Continue to 5 of 11 below.
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July 2007 to May 2015, AMC
Winner of 16 Emmys and five Golden Globes, Mad Men focuses on the cutthroat world of an early 1960s advertising agency and the often-unsavory doings of the partners, secretaries, and account executives working there. Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm), who is the creative director of Sterling Cooper, does nothing by halves: he’s a compulsive womanizer, chain smoker, and heavy drinker; and those are just the things he doesn’t keep secret. Mad Men is generally considered to be one of the best television shows of all time.
The master bedroom set shown here is that of Don Draper and his wife, Betty. It’s a gorgeous display of midcentury modern décor, as are all the sets used on the show. It’s partly thanks to the influence of Mad Men that midcentury modern came roaring back to popularity in the decorating world, and shows no sign of fading away any time soon.Continue to 6 of 11 below.
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I Love Lucy
October 1951 to May 1957, CBS
Still popular today (who can keep a straight face watching Lucy and Ethel try to beat the speeding chocolate candy assembly line, or not laugh while listening to Lucy try to say “Vitameatavegamin” after repeated swigs of the 23% alcohol “vitamin” supplement?), I Love Lucy was the most-watched television show in the United States during most of its run and is considered one of the best and most influential sitcoms of all time. Getting it on the air, however, required quite a bit of effort, as the CBS executives of the time didn’t believe audiences would accept a marriage between an American woman and a Cuban man (never mind that Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were of course married in real life). It was only after Ball and Arnaz successfully created and toured as a vaudeville act that the network was convinced to greenlight the show.
While most of the episodes revolved around Lucy and Ethel’s various hijinks and schemes, leading to exasperation on the part of their husbands, occasionally husband and wife enjoyed more sedate couple-time in their bedroom. Because censors of the day didn’t permit a husband and wife to appear in bed together, Lucy and Ricky (Arnaz’s character on the show) had to share the newspaper from separate beds.Continue to 7 of 11 below.
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Premiered September 2011, FOX
A sitcom, but with some dramatic elements, New Girl tells the story of Jess, a middle-school teacher (played by Zooey Deschanel) who catches her boyfriend cheating, dumps him, and then answers a Craigslist ad looking for a roommate. She winds up moving in with three men: Nick, Coach, and Schmidt, although there are changes in the roommate lineup through the show’s seasons. The show mainly revolves around Jess’s quirky personality and actions, with the men acting as supportive backups – at least most of the time. New Girl has been nominated for five Golden Globe awards and five Primetime Emmys.Continue to 8 of 11 below.
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer
March 1997 to May 2003, The WB and UPN
Buffy Summers (played by Sarah Michelle Gellar) might appear on the surface to be a normal teenage girl, but in reality, she is the Slayer, the most current in a long line of young women destined to fight vampires, zombies, werewolves and other forces of evil. Buffy is assisted by a Watcher, Giles, who trains her and offers advice on the best way to dispatch vampires. A group of friends also lend a hand in the never-ending fight against things that go bump in the night.
But just because Buffy’s role as the Slayer gifts her with extraordinary strength, agility, intuition, and clairvoyance don’t mean she doesn’t crave a cute and restful bedroom after a long day (or night) spent killing vampires. Of course, most girls don’t have a closet full of holy water, crucifixes, and garlic -- but the pinned up hats on the wall are a cute touch.Continue to 9 of 11 below.
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Sex and the City
June 1998 to February 2004, HBO
One of the most popular TV shows of all time, Sex and the City was nominated for 24 Golden Globes (it won eight of them), 54 Emmys (winning seven) and 11 Screen Actor Guild awards (it won three). It tells the tale of four female friends living in New York City: Miranda, Carrie, Charlotte, and Samantha. Though each is quite different in temperament, the four are inseparable, and the show covers a wide range of topics relating to sex, relationships, friendship, and adult life.
It’s Carrie Bradshaw’s bedroom that is shown here (Sarah Jessica Parker plays her), and who wouldn’t love this eclectic, comfortable, stylish bedroom?Continue to 10 of 11 below.
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September 2008 to August 2014, HBO
If you like your drama dark and scary, True Blood is the show for you. In this world, vampires are real creatures, but with the creation of synthetic blood, no longer need to prey on unwitting humans for sustenance. This leads to the “Great Revolution” which divides vampires into two camps: one that wants to “come out of the coffin” and integrate fully into human society, and the other that wishes to remain segregated. While vampires are integral to the story, there are many other supernatural creatures as well, including the main character, Sookie, who is a telepathic human/fairy hybrid.
The bedroom set shown here belongs to Salome, played by Valentina Cervi. Salome is the “dancer of the seven veils” from the New Testament, although in True Blood, she claims that her biblical story is not quite the way it happened. It's certainly a dramatic and sexy bedroom, however.Continue to 11 of 11 below.
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Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle)
January 2011 to November 2015, PBS
This hugely popular British drama follows the “upstairs” lives of the Crawley family, along with the “downstairs” lives of their many servants through the years 1912 to 1925. Numerous historical events—including the sinking of the Titanic, World War 1, and the Irish War of Independence—affect the lives of the many characters. Compulsively watchable, the show was the most popular television drama in the world by the third season.
A great deal of the show’s mystique comes from the gorgeous settings, along with the costumes. While most of the servants’ quarters and the upstairs bedrooms were filmed on sets, the exterior of the home, along with most of the other interior shots, was filmed at Highclere Castle in Hampshire, England. The lovely castle, which dates back to the 1700s, is the ancestral home of the Earl of Carnarvon and is still occupied by the Carnarvon family today.
If you are ever lucky enough to visit and tour Highclere Castle, you’ll find it looks much as it did on the show—the film crew was not allowed to disturb the premises – and one of the dozens of bedrooms you’ll see is the Mercia bedroom shown here.