‘Bridgerton’ and ‘The Gilded Age’ inspire more sophisticated interior design
In HBO Golden age, the mansions – many of which are real homes in Newport, Rhode Island – have almost bigger personalities than the mundane catty characters that occupy the show’s historical fictional world. There are large oil paintings hanging on the walls, heavy velvet curtains draped over the windows, jewel-toned pouffes fringed an inch from their lives. There is no subtlety, no simplicity, no minimalism here – instead there is extravagance, elegance and maximalism.
And, it turns out, those over-the-top interiors are now inspiring real-life decor. 1stDibs reports a 130% increase in Gilded Age searches in January and February when the show aired, particularly for pieces made in the Belle Epoque or French Nouveau style. (A bit of background: During the 1880s and 1890s, wealthy Americans often sourced furniture and interior inspiration from Europe.)
At first, this might seem surprising: after all, warm mid-century modern minimalism dominated contemporary interiors for a while, as society as a whole became less formal. But nostalgia is a powerful emotion when it comes to creative direction: faced with such a stylishly dressed set on TV, it seems, some have started looking for a more mixed space. “While today’s interiors have taken a different stylistic turn, many of these Golden Age pieces can work well in contemporary spaces, in moderation and with careful curation,” says Anthony Barzilay Freund , Director of Fine Arts of 1stDibs. “Beautiful craftsmanship and fine materials, after all, never go out of style and the sculptural nature of many of these pieces of furniture can add visual flair to a relatively small space.”
He also adds that while some of the more formal and stuffy accents may remain in the past, there are similarities between the tastes of the 1890s and the preferences of today: glossy surfaces favored by the best young designers in today. It is interesting to see how top-notch antiques can seamlessly dialogue with the creations of this current Golden Age.”
And it’s not just the lavish interiors of 1890s New York that inspire some for a change of scenery. Bridgerton, Netflix’s most-watched series, brought back the style of England from the Regency era. Ornamental in nature, with designs borrowed from antiquity, the English Regency style (not to be confused with Hollywood Regency), was the epitome of fantasy – Buckingham Palace, for example, was built by John Nash at this time . As a result, the #regencycore and #royalcore hashtags racked up 23.6 million views and 292.4 million views respectively on TikTok. During the show’s 2021 debut, Etsy reported a 25% increase in searches for regency items, including a 34% increase for candelabras and a 110% increase for tea sets. More recently, UK company Uswitch analyzed Google searches and found that the popularity of wisteria had increased by 54%, floral wallpaper by 44% and antique furniture by 45% since the Season 2 premiere. from the Netflix show. Meanwhile, when Shonda Rhimes’ New York apartment by famed designer Michael Smith graced the cover of Architectural Summary, she illustrated what a modern interpretation of regencycore looks like. “I had been immersed in the romanticism of Bridgerton for a while, so that must have influenced some of the things I was thinking about,” Rhimes says.
Want to add aesthetics to your own home? Check out a mix of Golden Age and Regency-era – or period-inspired – decor below.
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