Set Decoration

February 23, 2007

Have you heard of the SDSA, Set Decorators Society of America? When Rachel gave brief mention of them in Beachy Blues, I wondered why I’d not mentioned this sooner. Their website, though not as thorough as I’d like to see (not enough films that interest me, and where are the product resources?), it is very interesting to browse if set decorating intriques you at all. I know it certainly fascinates me. Don’t miss the SDSA interview with designer, Susan Eschelbach, who worked on films, Win a Date With Tad Hamilton, and Monster In Law with J-Lo, to name a few.

Set Decoration“The Break-Up” via imdb

Do you recall the set in the The Break-Up? The movie was great, but even more memorable for me was that Chicago apartment. Designed by Stephanie Gilliam, those digs won the hearts of women everywhere. Especially the sofa (I heard it’s from Crate and Barrel).

Set Decoration“The Break-Up” via imdb

I remember back when it released, googling The Break-Up until my fingers cramped with hopes of locating the set designer and a possible website that listed items used to pull the look together. I mean, wouldn’t that be brilliant? Why is there not a magazine or website doing this already? Imagine the earning potential for sponsors? Their products are in movies and on television shows, and now millions of viewers know to click on a certain website, locate the movie or sitcom title, and instantly gain access to everything used in the set that can be purchased, right down to the color of the paint on the walls. Is this not a fabulous idea? But this just doesn’t exist. Why people continue to spin out more of the same, not thinking of alternative ways to educate people (and earn money from it), baffles my mind.

Set Decoration“The Departed” via SDSA

Set Decoration“Monster In Law” via SDSA. I loved this scene, face down in her breakfast.

I’m not the only one viewing movies and sitcoms hoping to score something I saw on film. Last summer, I jumped in on a thread over in the Domino forum when a woman posted, ‘The Break Up’ I want thier stuff! because I found the topic of interest since I did too! As I followed the thread, I noticed someone else jumped in because she was looking for the coffee table used in Sarah Jessica Parker’s apartment on the set of Sex in the City. Then I had a question of my own, so I inquired about the pillows I saw in Failure to Launch. It was like the blind leading the blind over there, because no one ultimately had answers, but we had fun. But it shed light on a simple truth. There’s a growing interest in locating the products we’re exposed to on film and television. We aren’t comfortable with merely looking, we want to touch and ultimately, purchase.

[update: I was just directed over to Shelterrific and found that they have a great thread going on a similiar topic, only their asking “What’s Your Favorite Big Screen Home Decor?” Click here to join their thread!]


  • Reply Anonymous February 23, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    isn’t the sofa the Petrie from Crate and Barrel?

  • Reply Rachel February 23, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    Yeah, I was really intrigued when I stumbled upon the SDSA website-a great resource for set design images. They do have a resources link, but I imagine most of the businesses listed are rental-based for set designers and party planners.
    They also have downloadable pdf’s of old newsletter issues in which they feature specific movies sets. A fun read!

  • Reply decor8 February 23, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    Yes, I corrected my typo, the Petrie it is!

    Rachel, thanks again!

  • Reply lynn February 23, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    What a fabulous idea. My husband often comments that I care more about the “stuff” in the movie than the movie itself. He is sometimes right!! I’m excited to check out the site.

  • Reply deb February 23, 2007 at 7:15 pm

    What a great post! I too agree about some of these sets. Off to check out that link!

  • Reply Anonymous February 23, 2007 at 8:18 pm

    I can’t believe you posted this! I paused “The Break Up” over and over again attempting to see more of their home! I just moved into my first real place and have been looking everywhere for inspiration and loved their Chicago apartment!

  • Reply becky February 23, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    I love the sets in “Something’s Gotta Give” and that lame movie “The Holiday” Diane Keaton’s Hamptons kitchen was to die for, and I loved the contrast between Cameron’s modern LA house and Kate’s cozy English cottage.

    I agree, I could see why two exes would stay in that Chicago condo instead of giving up that place! It was amazing. I loved the sets in “She’s the One” (is that right? Ed Burns movie) – the contrast between Ed’s little apartment and Frannie’s gorgeous open loft.

    And of course, Wes Anderson is the master of all sets, esp. “The Royal Tennenbaums” – they have all kinds of neato extras on the DVD regarding his meticulous attention to detail.

    Fun post!


  • Reply becky February 23, 2007 at 8:35 pm

    Oh PS, those subway signs in Monster In Law were amazing – got any sources for those?


  • Reply shauna February 24, 2007 at 1:59 am

    oh hooray, i am LOVING the shots of “somethings gotta give” !!! thank you for this awesome resource.

  • Reply ** Terramia ** February 24, 2007 at 6:01 am

    Oh, I totally agree on “The Break Up”… I posted pics of the set a while ago and keep referring back to them for inspiration!
    Comme ci comme ?a film, but the set totally made it a hit!

    Great resource when everyone chips in clips here and there… so cool to admire all over again!

  • Reply Linda Merrill February 24, 2007 at 5:22 pm

    The Washington Post just did a story on Thursday about the popularity of the set decor in the movie “Something’s Gotta Give”.

    I also know that the magazine Renovation Style is doing an article on movie set decorating that is coming out in their Summer issue.

  • Reply sfgirlbybay February 24, 2007 at 9:07 pm

    My dream job! I posted some of my favorites in an old post but left out many – like Amelie!

  • Reply becky February 25, 2007 at 9:51 am

    If anyone else made the mistake of seeing Running with Scissors, the only redeeming thing about it were the sets – Annette Bening and Alec Baldwin’s fabulous 70’s decor (“HOllywood Regency” I ‘spose) and Annette’s next house are amazing sets. The doctor’s house is too depressing to even look at but the set designer did an amazing job of interpreting it from the book.

    Others I forgot about:
    Fatal Attraction – Glenn Close white loft
    Whatta Feelin!- Jennifer Beals’warehouse in Flashdance

    all of the apartments in Prime were PERFECT from Uma, Merryl, the hot young guy, the hot guy’s jerk pie-throwing friend

  • Reply Britt February 25, 2007 at 7:47 pm

    Hey Holly – I absolutely love the set of ‘The Break-Up’ too! Be sure to check out Chicago?s Francine Turk Gallery… All the great art from the movie came from there, and she has some great shots of the set on her website.

    I posted about it too:

  • Reply paola February 26, 2007 at 6:21 am

    I’m sad enough to have in the ‘Sex and the City’ book (it was a present but I’ve read it from cover to cover). There are some brilliant articles in that discussing how they designed the rooms for each of the girls to suit and reflect their personalities. Must get out some of the movies mentioned above!

  • Reply Anonymous February 26, 2007 at 10:31 pm

    Has anyone checked out the set for Running with Scissors? I loved the set design for the first few shots of the house with Annette Benning wearing all yellow:)

  • Reply Jenny Wren February 27, 2007 at 12:29 am

    Here ya go

    I was just reading an article about people who buy clothes and other products based on what they see on tv. I was thinking – meh – on clothes but interiors would be cool. I didn’t investigate too deeply on the Home and Leisure category but here you go.

  • Reply meg February 27, 2007 at 1:57 am

    thanks for this link…i think it would be so cool to be a set decorator! gotta watch the break up!

  • Reply cindy@staged4more February 28, 2007 at 9:03 am

    heh this is definitely a second career for me when i retire from staging homes for sale :)



  • Reply Anonymous March 1, 2007 at 1:20 am

    i have actually considered this business idea for movies and television. i know its been tried. i think the main problems are: decorators dont want to reveal their sources, much less catalog all that along with all the other tasks they have. for what…so the studios can make all the money?

    i aspire to be a production designer for movies someday!


  • Reply Anonymous March 1, 2007 at 1:24 am

    also, is cool!

    but totally different business model than what holly was talking about. they have people figure out what stuff (in shows and movies) is, and im sure most of it is product placement as well.

  • Reply smilnsigh March 13, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    Just came over here from ‘Daisy Cottage.’ I luvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv sets! I watch sets more than pay attention to story line! Oh thank you so much for pointing me to these places!!!!!

    ::::doing happy dance::::


  • Reply Michael September 17, 2007 at 8:30 pm

    Thanks for your nice post!

  • Reply Rael December 11, 2007 at 2:41 am

    Excellent research work Rachel! I didnt know til now that sets can be a smoky battleground among designers and companies.
    Glass art and Decorating ideas

  • Reply Laura August 16, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    Can anyone tell me what the name of the paint color is of the condo in the movie “The Break Up” with Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn? I need to know!!!

  • Reply Rebecca January 6, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    DOES ANYONE KNOW WHERE THE WALLPAPER CAME FROM IN THE BREAK UP??? Sorry for the caps but I’ve been searching for ANYTHING pics products etc about this movie! I’m obsessed! Thanks!

  • Reply Kathy October 19, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    I love the beach house in Something’s Gotta Give. I’ve trying to find some of the artwork from the movie, especially the beach scene in the living room. I think it’s called rockaway beach. I can’t find anything. Can anyone help?

  • Reply Beverly October 20, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Kathy, I found a place for the Rockaway oil painting and some of the others. They’re called canvas replicas out of utah. Love the beach house!

  • Reply Tiffany January 17, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    This is my first time to this site and I love it, but I’m still having trouble. I wanted to find the headboard and dinning room curtains from ‘The Break-Up’. Or if anyone knows if you can get Francine Turk’s (the charcoal sketches in the condo) prints anywhere? I feel like I have been to every site and I’m thinking I might have to give up. Any pointers would be helpful.

  • Reply Lisa January 29, 2010 at 7:01 am

    Does anyone know who did the painting – the one to the left of vince vaughan’s head when they are sitting on the white couch, the one on the easel?

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