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The movie set decoration of  It’s Complicated  (Universal Pictures, 2009) showed us the latest interior design trend toward casual elegance… inspired by a blend of American and European gourmet and wine country influences, a desire for quieter homes with more organic materials.

Writer and director of It’s Complicated, Nancy Meyers, is already well-known for her portrayal of women as strong and independent; she’s becoming as well-known for the fabulous interior design ideas she packs into her  leading lady’s home. The movie set of her latest movie follows on the heels of another  memorable home in Something’s Gotta Give (Columbia Pictures, 2003). And if the influence of her most recent set decor on interior  design is anything like the last one, it’s likely to inspire more than a few home makeovers!

Jane (played by Meryl Streep) owns a Spanish ranch in southern California that blends Italian, French and California country styles. In a nutshell, the home is sophisticated without being fancy.   Terracotta-colored accents seem inspired by the rooftops of Santa Barbara. Antiques mix with high-end furnishings. Belgian linen pillows and cashmere throws are tossed over French chairs and slip-covered sofas. A  gourmet influence (Streep’s character loves to cook and owns a bakery) is seen in the charming, though slightly makeshift kitchen.

Meyers went after “a quiet palette” and the home is certainly serene, with even Streep’s ex-husband Jake (Alex Baldwin) commenting on how ‘quiet it is here’.

For a closer look at how the set design team pulled off one of the most exciting movie homes we’ve seen in quite a while, check out our March 2010 issue of RoomPlanners. (We’ve also included some of our top picks for wine country furniture inspired by Tuscany, Provence and Sonoma!). Click on the magazine cover on the right to open, or click on

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Here’s a few other blogs and articles about the It’s Complicated movie interiors…

From Remodelista…

From Traditional Home…


Attic Heirlooms, by Broyhill Furniture

Country-style rooms are typically painted vegetable colors… tomato, straw, denim and other paint colors the Waltons would have loved.  Appropriate too, given that the country was the birthplace of vegetables in the first place. But one of the quickest ways to give simple, worn-down furniture (or worn-down people who’re up for a simple change) is with a can of white paint.

White paint was birthed by early 20th century modernists. Tired of Victorian clutter and drama, they wanted to lighten up a little (a lot, actually)… and white paint did the trick. One hundred years later, it’s working again, this time to lighten up rustic rooms.

The beautiful thing about white paint is that it brings furniture into really sharp focus so we can appreciate its shape and texture more. Notice in this dining room how good the ladderback chairs, table and sideboard look against the pristine walls. The  room feels fresh, light and even slightly contemporary. Even the old-looking rug looks fresh and stands out.

As a side note, the furniture shown here (Attic Heirlooms) is one of my personal faves. It  mixes painted and natural wood finshes so it’s a little less matchy-matchy. Those casual straw-seat chairs are causal and that bench is pure fun. This collection has been around for a while and is still pretty popular, so it shouldn’t be hard to find if you’re in the market for new furniture.

For more info on the dining room, visit

There’s a lot to love about this dining room. That grand symmetry… the champagne drapes against the apricot walls… the floral arrangements on the pedestals. But even if your dining room doesn’t look like this (marble floors, ‘ya right)… behind all this elegance lies a great idea for giving your own dining room a facelift without renovating or buying all new furniture.

Replace your armchairs.

If you’re like most of the western world, your dining room has matching chairs around the dining room table, with the potential exception of the armchairs at the end … likely they’ve got, yes,  arms, as opposed to the side chairs, which don’t. My point being… since armchairs are already a little different, so why not make them a lot different? 

The easiest way to do this is to add two upholstered armchairs (to contrast wood side chairs), as they’ve done here. There are plenty of upholstered-back or skirted dining room chairs in furniture stores these days. Look for a pair that has something in common with your existing side chairs… a similarly colored fabric or a similar style from a similar era.

If the fabric on your side chairs is too distinct or hard to coordinate with, choose solid colored armchairs or even leather. Or, as it is in most cases, if your side chair fabric is a little bland, add some pattern on the end chairs. 

Your existing armchairs can be recycled elsewhere in your house… they’re stately enough to look good on their own in the corner of a bedroom (very handy there too), behind a desk or even as additional seating in the living room!

For more room ideas, or to download our free magazine, visit