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Decorate your apartment as per tv sets

Taking home decor tips from American sitcom sets is the new trend in apartment remodelling.

india Updated: Oct 04, 2005 19:59 IST

Taking home décor tips from American sitcom sets is the new trend in apartment remodelling Sets are small, like many apartments, so set designers furnish a diagonal corner to make it look larger.
Whether you notice it or not, television set designs reveal character quicker than you can say "action!" You can tell from the set if the character is well-to do or struggling to make ends meet, and if their style is contemporary, traditional or eclectic. So we turned to the set designers of shows like Guiding Light, and Friends for home decorating tips.

Just as we try to inject our own tastes in our homes, every producer has his or her own tastes, says Rick Dennis, production designer, "Some producers tell us what they want and some let us decide, but it's always a collaborative endeavour". Architects and interior designers often tell clients to cut pictures from magazines of what they like. This helps in the decision process when working as a team with the designer or architect.

Dennis says he starts by thinking about traf fic flow in the scene, and then does a floor plan and a perspective sketch. When decorating most rooms, traffic flow should be your main consid eration. It should be functional, so you can navigate the room without bumping into things or being blocked off. Colour plays an important part in creating mood in any setting. Dennis says the designers use dark colours to make a room feel more sophisticated and to keep the focus on the actors. "Bright colour attracts the eye," says Dennis. "Your eye is always drawn to the brightest colour in a room, whether a wall, furniture or object. We also like to use dark colours because it helps to hide a multitude of sins."

Nothing ever goes to waste when designing scenery. Set components are used until they are no longer functional. "We've reused the same staircase in various sets," Dennis says. "But we disguise it with different finishes or newel posts. We've also reused fireplace mantles and cabinets." Instead of throwing out old wood chairs and other wooden furnishings at home, consider painting them for a new look. Or freshen things by simply changing the legs, drawer or door hardware.

The average homeowner furnishes his or her home over a lifetime. Set designers do it in days. Still, there are similarities when it comes to determining what will be needed. Set decorators Shelly Barclay, Deirdre Brennan and Brigitte Atenhaus accessorise in a similar way to professional interior designers. Because some sets are small, like many apartments, another trick of set designers is to use furnishings on a diagonal in a corner of the room to make it look larger.

"Doing it this way adds distance, as if you are looking into a vanishing point," says Dennis. "We also layer a set to add depth. You'll see something in the foreground, middle ground and background." Layering at home can be done with furnishings. Pull your sofa grouping out into the room and add a long nar row library-type table to the back of your sofa and a table lamp. You can also layer with window treatments by using drapery panels, sheer curtains, a decorative pull shade and a cornice. Plants and potted trees help to layer a room, and don't forget colour and pattern. Bold, large patterns come at you; tiny patter ns recede. Red and yellow are two colours that move forward.

Set designers often forego mirrors. In addition to creating glare from stage lighting, mirrors often reveal things off camera, from technical equipment to technicians. Take a look at the mirrors in your own home and see what they reflect. Does it give you a view of the laundry? Mirrors in a real home should be placed where they will reflect something pleasing to the eye.

If you have a window with an unattractive view, insert a decorative stained or frosted glass pane, or do what Dennis and the set designers often do: Use a translucent photo mural and back light it so it looks like the real thing. Just make sure it's a believable image, so it looks like what might be outside your window and not a snow scene in the middle of summer.

First Published: Oct 04, 2005 19:59 IST