Photo Provided by Jennifer Lukehart; Girl’s Bedroom for Maserati Commercial, Wieden + Kennedy
Set in Style – Hollywood Set Decorator Shares Secrets for Stylish Surroundings
Oak Park native, Jennifer Lukehart shines in her stellar career as a Hollywood Set Decorator. Nominated for a 2014 Excellence in Production Design Award for her work on the series Arrested Development, Jen has collaborated on many intriguing projects. She has decorated sets for TV Commercials for clients such as Nike, Geico and Target, music video sets for Justin Timberlake, Gwen Stefani, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, feature film sets including 500 Days of Summer, Prom and Fun Size and TV Series such as The Goldbergs. From camera angles to the canvas of home décor, skillful insights on the art of decorating are Jen’s forte.
Can you share some decorating basics with homeowners?
On a set, I try to make sure that I have accounted for all of the angles that the camera could see – this is the same for a home. Do you see the dining room from the living room? Then you want that “frame” to have some flow. Try to carry some design elements between those two rooms… often color or complimentary patterns to tie them together visually
What are some ways to utilize color?
My best advice is to just DO it! Too afraid to paint? Fine. Buy some pillows, curtains or art. Paint a small piece of furniture. Put colorful kids art (or your own) in simple frames on the wall. Use patterns with multiple colors. Most stores these days have great return policies – overbuy and test them all out. You will often be surprised at what works! Tones of colors are easier to work with. A tone is a hue plus some grey. They are usually more complex, subtle colors. Trying to incorporate really bright or saturated hues can be tough; they draw too much attention. If you prefer rooms that have a more simple, monochromatic color scheme, don’t forget to use texture to create the visual interest. Even in an all white room, juxtapositions of glossy, matte, smooth, rough, woven, etc. will create depth and impact.
How can homeowners add character and interest to a room?
On a set, the Director of Photography will often request a selection of “practicals” – the working lamps or lights on a set. So, we learn to layer in far more lighting than most people do. Just now in my living room, I counted eight different light sources! Lamps are a perfect way to mix in a bit of style or fun. They are a great accent – so rewire an antique or vintage lamp, buy a colorful base or a patterned shade! Consider how the shade looks both lit and unlit. I often use a linen or burlap shade for texture.
What decorating mistakes are commonly made?
There are small things, like hanging artwork too high… but I feel like most “mistakes” come from a notion that there is some set of rules. People become so afraid of doing it wrong, that they don’t trust their own instincts or take risks… even small ones, like trying a new paint color. For me, the idea that people look at catalogs and want their home to look like that is a huge mistake. It’s your home – it shouldn’t look like anyone else’s and it certainly shouldn’t look like a catalog! It should reflect the range of your life and your interests. If you truly love each of the things in your space, they will somehow all come together and give a sense of who you are.
How is your home decorated?
It’s a pretty eclectic mix. I love vintage tems, but don’t want my home to feel “period,” so I combine different styles. My weakness is that I’m not a great editor in my own house, but I do spend time moving things around and trying them in new places every now and then. It’s a good way to see items in a fresh light.
What three words describe the Jen Lukehart look?
Layered. Colorful. Detailed.
Any last bits of advice?
Just keep your eyes and mind open.