Distinct Design Details That Made These TV Shows And Films Memorable

The “Best Design Detail for Plot Enhancement” category in our “Best-Dressed Rooms in TV and Film Awards,” was created to give a shout-out to those times where a decorative detail becomes entwined with a plot to a film or television show. Hopefully, it will also inspire you as the reader to think of how much thought goes into these “aha” moments that move a storyline forward.

Here are the nominations for this year:

Photo via Netflix.

The Queen’s Gambit

Where does inspiration come from? Many remember the moment orphan press prodigy Beth Harmon looks dreamily up at her bedroom ceiling and giant chess pieces begin to move and cluster in new formations in such an imaginative way.

“This really created new possibilities for her,” says film critic Roger Friedman.

Photo via Netflix.

In fact, the popularity of this scene has sparked a clever hotel in Kentucky, where Beth now lives with her adoptive mother, to create a similar room. The 21c Museum Hotel in Kentucky now has the Harmon Room complete with vintage accessories, custom wallpaper in a pattern dubbed “The Knight’s Gambit” and period furniture from the local antique shop, Scout.

And yes, there are large chess pieces suspended from the ceiling.


Photo via Netflix.


Art critic Alexandra Peers liked the moment in Bridgerton where the Duke of Hastings and Daphne Bridgerton are at Somerset House for a summer exhibition and find themselves alone in a gallery. Looking at the paintings, Daphne remarks that “the other paintings are certainly very grand and impressive, but this one, this one is intimate.” The Duke then reveals that the painting was his mother’s favorite and their hands are then drawn to each other.

It is such a wonderful detail showing deep-seated compatibility and common interests. According to artnet.com, the landscape painting may be Aelbert Cuyp’s Landscape with the Flight into Egypt, which belongs to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Photo via Netflix.


“In Ozark, the gorgeous picture windows in the living room on the Byrde family’s lakeside home showcase both the title region’s beauty — and suggest the cage that the house’s criminal occupants are living in,” says interior decorator Grace Davis.


Photo via CBC.

Schitt’s Creek

To show the contrast between a life of abundance and one where your circumstances diminish, producer and writer Dan Levy used a motel where the once rich Rose family now lives. As a former soap opera actress, the character of Moira Rose played by Catherine O’Hara has so many glamorous objects of her past – including clothes, jewelry and her iconic wigs. When she has to create hooks to hang up all the wigs, it is that moment to show how circumstances have now changed so eloquently.



An “aha” moment in HBO’s Euphoria is when Rue, played by Zendaya, returns home from rehab and immediately buys drugs from her friend and drug dealer Fezco. The home setting seemed normal but you realize that nothing was as it seemed, as this series explores the search for identity and revelations about teenage angst.

Producer Gianna Palminteri noted that this series was a huge hit among Gen Z. “Late night bike rides through shadows, carnival scenes of cat and mouse seduction and high school party drama come to life in a gritty suburban fantasy that push the boundaries and leave you wanting more,” she says. “The sets are mirrors of the characters’ emotional lives leaving you with a raw feeling that you just saw a little too much.”


The Father

In this film starring Anthony Hopkins whose character descending into severe dementia, the inability to remember where he placed things such as his watch is such a metaphor for time ticking away before he can no longer function.

“The apartment is actually another character in this tragic psychological thriller,” says film critic Bill McCuddy. “Does it even exist? All the questions that make dementia just as challenging for the audience as it is for Hopkins.”

Designed by Peter Francis, the apartment also shifts for the audience to experience dementia when we start wondering about different colored kitchen cabinets as well as lamps on a hallway table that appear and disappear. It shows how interior decor can be used to express perception in such a clever way.

What was your favorite aha moment in these series? Vote on your favorite and it will be part of the overall tally on April 22nd.

Facebook Comments
No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

aspire design and home is seeker and storyteller of the sublime in living. It is a global guide to in-depth and varied views of beauty and shelter that stirs imagination; that delights and inspires homeowners as well as art and design doyens. Collaborating with emergent and eminent architects, artisans, designers, developers and tastemakers, aspire creates captivating content that savors the subjects and transports with stunning imagery and clever, thought-provoking writing. Through lush and unique visuals and a fresh editorial lens, aspire explores what is new and undiscovered in art, interiors, design, culture, real estate, travel and more. aspire design and home is an international narrative and resource for all seeking the sublime.