One thing I didn’t think I’d be captivated by when we watched the Queen’s Gambit recently was the interior design!
I think I was a set designer in another life. Creating wonderful interior design schemes in a make-believe world where anything goes and rules are thrown out. I have always been fascinated by interior design wherever I go or whatever I watch on TV. Often, I will choose a restaurant or café, not because of its menu, but because of its cleverly thought-out interiors drawing you in.
When we watched The Queen’s Gambit, instead of being fascinated with the plot line or trying to brush up on my chess skills (I used to compete regularly in Chess tournaments when I was younger, that was until I found out about alcohol and boys. Such a cliché!) I was intrigued by the sets.
I loved all the use of colour and pattern and became fascinated with 1960s décor so I thought I’d try to recreate some of the sets with a modern-day twist.
The Queen’s Gambit Set
The Queen’s Gambit production designer, Uli Hanisch, and set decorator, Sabine Schaaf, really capitalised on the style and culture of the 1960s and it often provided a stunning backdrop to Beth’s intense chess games. Whilst Beth was expertly whizzing her Rook around the chequered board, I’d be looking at the backdrop of the Aztek Palace in Mexico.
The 1960s was an age of Space and rebellion. In a 1960s home you would find mid-century furniture (I am ALL over that! Although they probably didn’t call it mid-century furniture at the time). Each room would be a psychedelic blend of mismatched patterns and primary colours, floral prints, pop art, Eames chairs, Mary Quant and Andy Warhol.
I have taken several sets from The Queen’s Gambit and created mood boards of how we could incorporate the designs today.
Alma Wheatley’s Living Room
The Wheatley’s home in The Queen’s Gambit was filled with mid-century modern pieces and was over the top and maximalist. Her living room was adorned with floral wallpaper, green velvet sofas and chairs, a feature fireplace with starburst mirror and ruffled curtains.
This style of interior design today is called Grandmillennial. Introducing mid-century furniture to modern pieces is key to this look. Reclaimed furniture and second-hand vintage pieces sit alongside retro elements to give your room that “granny chic” look.
I also loved the use of green throughout the series, it is hands down my favourite colour in interior design and I wrote a blog post on how to use dark green in your living room here.
Alma Wheatley’s Bedroom
Alma’s bedroom is a floral pattern overload, draped from top to bottom in flowers. The wallpaper, bed linen and cushions all had a floral theme. Even the lampshades matched the wallpaper. Her bedroom in the Queen’s Gambit could only be described as Kitsch!
Now, I am one for floral print, but even I found it a bit too much. But, you could still recreate this room by keeping the floral wallpaper as a feature wall, using an oversized velvet headboard in similar colours and introducing plain bedding to stop it from looking like a rose vomited all over the room.
You could add floral chairs, cushions and rugs to still give it that Queen’s Gambit 1960s look.
Las Vegas Hotel
Beth and Alma soon find themselves in a Las Vegas Hotel where Beth is competing for the U.S. Chess Open and here, we are met with a riot of teal, turquoise and gold.
It is in Las Vegas that we really see the bold geometric prints and clashing colours of the 1960s come alive in geometric wallpaper patterns and prints. The décor leans towards the Art Deco period with curves, modern materials, the use of gold and shapes appearing in almost every design.
Most of the décor cleverly gives a nod to the chess board with it’s chequered designs and grid like patterns.
Beth and Alma travel to the Aztek Palace next so Beth can take part in an international chess tournament in Mexico City. This is initially where my idea for a blog post began. We were being showcased to a riot of wild jungle wallpaper, palm leaf headboards and pinks and greens working harmoniously together with its eclectically tropical designs.
There were a lot of rattan furniture, glass dividers, block coloured rugs and indoor palm trees.
Paris Hotel Room
As you would expect to happen in Paris, the décor takes it down a notch or two and has an air of sophistication. Here we see an introduction to Art Nouveau with luxury button backed furniture, linens, over the top drapes and floral wallpaper.
As Beth appears to be growing up in front of our eyes, so does the décor with opulent and decorative art, curved furniture, floral and leaf patterns and a more sophisticated colour palette.
And last, but not least, I couldn’t end this blog post without adding a chess board and inspired accessories! I already have my board on order….
We thoroughly enjoyed watching The Queen’s Gambit and in particular, I loved seeing all the sets of the 1960s come to life. Which set was your favourite?