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Night Fever By Draga & Aurel Night Fever By Draga & Aurel
Inside the Screen- Why the Movie Carol Has Stunning Mid-Century Sets

Inside the Screen: Why the Movie Carol Has Stunning Mid-Century Sets

Today we are stepping inside the luxurious mid-century wonderland that is the Oscar-nominated movie Carol. When production designer Judy Becker first embraced the project, she wanted to create the perfect 50’s chic setting perfect for the movie’s star, Cate Blanchett. The result was a series of inspiring and absolutely wondrous movie sets that take us back to the mid 20th century with all the gracefulness and style that only Cate Blanchett could ever give us. Make sure to keep reading and find out why ‘Carol’ has some of the most amazing mid-century movie sets of all time… all thanks to the amazing production designer Judy Becker!

SEE ALSO: Inside the Screen: How Mad Men Became a Mid-Century Modern Icon

‘Carol’ received multiple praises for being a faithful portrayal of a complicated and almost impossible love affair between two women back in the early 1950’s. But something that most of us seem to forget when talking about the Oscar-nominated movie is that one of the most important parts of this mesmerizing ‘forbidden love’ story is how it is told, and where it is told. Without production designers, most movies wouldn’t have the same massive impact or, on the other hand, some could have an even bigger one. But what ‘Carol’ definitely doesn’t lack are the right sets to make this movie an even more compelling and loving story. Judy Becker was able to re-create the gritty early 50’s, making Carol and Therese’s love affair even more believable and emotional. And if you have seen the movie, you know it can definitely be an emotional journey. So sit back, keep scrolling, and fall in love with these mid-century inspired interiors created exclusively for your entertainment.

Inside the Screen- Why the Movie Carol Has Stunning Mid-Century Sets

Julie Becker explains that while Carol‘s scenes do conjure New York City in 1952 and 1953, this recreation is a far cry from the kitschy, pastel-tinted home lives that most people associate with that decade. “This is not the 1950s that people ordinarily think of…with very bright colors and turquoise and pink and happy, sunny, nuclear families,” she says. “It’s the post-World War II 1950s, so it’s almost like the 1940s.

In order to bring the story’s more gritty tone to life, as well as the reality of a sorrowing post-war society, Becker relied heavily on color. Especially strong and darker colors, as opposed to the cheery colorful tones we usually associate with the mid 20th century.

Inside the Screen- Why the Movie Carol Has Stunning Mid-Century Sets

One of the main colors you can constantly see throughout the movie is green, especially acid greend. However, colors like dirty pinks and yellows, which Becker characterized as “unsettling”, are also present throughout the film. The production designer explained then that the green color present in countless scenes, including the motel rooms, Therese’s apartment, and Carol’s home, was especially key because it “doesn’t make you feel relaxed when you are looking at it. It helps create this tension between the characters.”

Inside the Screen- Why the Movie Carol Has Stunning Mid-Century Sets

The usage of this seemingly more neutral colors throughout Carol — whether on the walls, or the furniture, or accessories seen throughout the film —  was purposely thought of, with the intention to draw greater attention to the few vibrant pieces in the film, much like Therese’s yellow and red hat, and Carol’s red fingernails and lips.

Inside the Screen- Why the Movie Carol Has Stunning Mid-Century Sets - Movie Carol

In contrast with all the colors used and the simplicity of Therese’s apartment, we can see Carol’s home multiple times. It is good to have in mind that in that time, rich people and poor people just didn’t have a lot of possessions. Becker says “it was just not the materialistic society that we have today, where we constantly need a new computer. People bought a few things and kept them for a long time. Even rich people, like in Carol’s house, all of her furniture is much, much older than the period. It probably came down through Harge’s family or her family.” However, the things we can see in her apartment are top quality furniture, and that puts into evidence the contrast between the mid-century society and our contemporary one.

Inside the Screen- Why the Movie Carol Has Stunning Mid-Century Sets - Movie Carol

However, there is a small glimpse of the mid-century interiors we are mostly used to see on the screen and in the more modern recreations of the style. If you recall, the movie Carol begins with the two meeting during Christmas, at the toy shop where Therese worked. And it is here that, amidst a dirtier and grittier New York we can find a more cheerful and colorful side of the 1950s. Decorations on the toy department set included Santa signs, large glittered snowflakes, vintage bells, and garland. “In keeping with the design of the movie, the decorations are a bit sparse and those that we placed have slightly desaturated colors; there is a sense of pathos in the toy department,” Becker relates.

Inside the Screen- Why the Movie Carol Has Stunning Mid-Century Sets


Take your chance of bringing a little bit of the Carol’s amazing sets into your own home. We have chosen a mid-century modern lighting piece that would definitely fit right in this bluer version of the mid-century modern design of the 1950’s East Coast. Stardust floor lamp by DelightFULL would look absolutely wonderful in Carol’s living room!

Inside the Screen- Why the Movie Carol Has Stunning Mid-Century Sets

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READ MORE: Inside the Screen: How Girlboss Is Rocking the Vintage World

You can visit DelightFULL’s Inspirations Page as well as our Pinterest boards in order to get more inspirations.

Get more ideas for your projects and find functional, stylish and sizable lighting and furniture choices. Make sure to download our ‘Interior Design Trends: Spring 2017‘ eBook!

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