Sitcoms That Set a Bar for Home Design
Sitcoms remain a TV staple even as we move towards streaming services like Netflix, Crave, and Disney+. Throughout the last half-century, we've watched these familiar home settings almost as much as we saw our own four walls. Our favourite sitcoms shared intimate moments of family life and created some truly memorable rooms in the process.
Let's take a closer look at how these iconic interiors have changed over the decades.
Mary Tyler Moore Show
Pinstripe wallpaper, shag carpet, and a charming palette of primary colours—it all worked together seamlessly to create the chic living room on the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” in the ‘70s. Between the open layout, soaring ceilings, exposed brick, built-in bookcases and wood-burning fireplace, it's hard to know where to start to bring this look into your own space. Take cues from the Mid-Century Modern aesthetic and don't shy away from a shag rug. If Mary's built-in bookshelves caught your eye, get a little handy and create your own home library.
That 70s Show
While its runtime may have spanned the late ‘90s into the mid-2000s, “That ‘70s Show” truly nailed the quintessential 1970s family home. Warm earthy tones, solid, dark wood wall units and coffee tables, a busy mix of oranges, greens, yellows and creams—it's the kind of homey living room that feels down to earth and relatable. The exposed brick accent and half wall are a special touch.
The Golden Girls
In a sea of quirky teen bedrooms over the years, one leading actress' room reigns supreme. That's right. The queen herself, Blanche Devereaux, was so clearly ahead of her time. She covered her “Golden Girls” bedroom in large banana leaf patterned wallpaper and bedding, accented with pink, scalloped furniture and rattan—a motif we're still employing to this day. You could replicate this room to a tee and be right on trend here in the 21st century. All you need is some wallpaper and an appreciation for the return of some key vintage trends in 2020.
The Keatons' home in “Family Ties” was a fairly accurate portrayal of middle-class homes in the ‘80s across the American midwest. The yellow kitchen and living room warmed up the dark wood cupboards and wall units of the set while thick, draping curtains, Tiffany lamps and other “antique” décor added a stately touch to the traditional layout of their home.
One of the most famous on-screen kitchens is Monica and Rachel's organized chaos of an eat-in. This “Friends” kitchen looks well lived-in and well-loved. Its clutter is carefully curated—a quirky collection of the girls' travels and life. Things aren't thrown away to make space for new décor or furniture, they're simply added to the fray. And it works!
Capture the undeniable charm of the girl's kitchen with a bright coat of paint on the cabinets—the Polynesian colour palette is pretty on point—and embrace the power of Maximalism which is the design equivalent of a warm hand on your shoulder telling you, “more is more,” and it's a good thing. That kitschy cookie jar you found at a yard sale last spring? Make some room on the counter, it's part of the look now!
True to New York City, Jerry Seinfield's cute corner kitchen might be cramped but its efficient use of space in an open-concept setting reflects the transition from traditional floor plans with separate kitchens, dining rooms, and living rooms as we move closer to the 21st century. Its neat appearance, open, glass-fronted cupboards and slate grey colour palette still hit the design mark today.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
The luxury of the Bank's million-dollar mansion in (seasons 2–6, that is) of the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” cannot be overstated—neither can its overwhelmingly 90s aesthetic. Characterized by arched doorways and inset shelves, a creamy, neutral colour palette and plenty of greenery, consider embracing Biophilic design and bring more plants into your space.
Everybody Loves Raymond
The traditional, nuclear family lives on in “Everybody Loves Raymond”, and it’s complemented by the traditional layout of the Barone household. A warm living room with a floral couch, drop-leaf coffee table and must-have old recliner leads into a kitchen that screams “family.” Between the wall-mounted landline, vintage oven, country-style décor and small harvest table where multiple generations of the family gather each episode, this is a home many viewers likely saw reflected in their own lives.
Will & Grace
Will and Grace's Upper West Side Manhattan apartment is a thing of open-concept beauty. Besides the quaint little den off to the side, there are next to no walls dividing up this bright, two-bedroom apartment. Open planned apartments and condominiums have become a go-to design style in recent years and the instant connections created in a breezy space like this—from the front door all the way to the raised kitchen—have become appealing to young buyers and renters who want their space to feel as big as possible.
Speaking of young buyers and renters, let's venture down to the golden coast of California where the cast of “New Girl” let us dream a little dream of loft living. This apartment holds the delightful clutter of four bold personalities each with different styles, personalities and income levels. It isn't a glamorous space but it feels so well-loved and comfortable to the point of becoming aspirational—who would say no to a sprawling four-bedroom open plan loft with this much exposed brick? There's a good chance this trendy loft has a place on many a Millennial dream home vision board.
The set of “Black-ish” looks like it popped out of the pages of an interior design magazine with its finger on the pulse of cool, contemporary California homes. The open-concept kitchen is the epitome of #goals. Similar in some ways to the little kitchen in “Seinfeld”, the Johnson's glass-fronted cupboards and grey and blue colour palette keep things feeling ultra-modern and not out of the realm of possibility for your own home.