10 Iconic Summer Movies and How to Steal Their Home Design Look

Ginny Bartolone
Written by Ginny Bartolone
Updated July 8, 2022
 A still from the movie Mamma Mia
Photo: Courtesy of Universal Pictures/ Littlestar/ Playtone

The best home design tips are hiding in the background of your favorite summer flick

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If you're looking for an excuse to revisit Baby and Johnny or Ferris Bueller and Cameron, dive back into the best summer movie classics with a different goal—to steal their look. 

Movie set designers know what they're doing; they pull us in with some of the most exciting interior designs inspired by the eras and regions of the plot. Whether you're looking for classic cottage or Catskills resort-chic inspiration, here are 10 looks from summer movie hits to incorporate into your home.

1. Grease

A still from the movie Grease
Photo: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures/RSO Records

It's no surprise that Frenchy had a knack for interior home design, even if it was just used as a backdrop to taunt poor Sandy hiding in the bathroom. Take a look around this iconic bedroom scene in “Grease” for prime 50's home design ideas, from the tripod floor lamp to the patterned wallpaper. 

While singing along to “Sandra Dee,” take note of how the set designer incorporated the same color and variety of wood with the bed frame, nightstands, chairs, and picture frames to tie the room together. Beauty school dropout or not, you can rock this look in your own home.

2. Crazy Rich Asians

A still from the movie Crazy Rich Asians
Photo: Courtesy of Color Force/Ivanhoe Pictures

“Crazy Rich Asians” features one of the most talked-about cinematic designs of the past ten years, and the Young mansion is the envy of us all. As Rachel explores the house for the first time, make a note of the ornate floral wallpaper, jewel-toned accents, and Rococo gold and brass fixtures. 

Above all, the home celebrates Southeast Asian design, symmetry, and the emerald color scheme that's having a moment in interior design. Need help painting your home’s entryway to match this rich color? Hire an interior painter near you to get the job done.

3. Dirty Dancing

A still from the movie Dirty Dancing
Photo: Courtesy of Vestron Pictures/Great American Films Limited Partnership

While most of “Dirty Dancing”—arguably the best 1980s dance flick—takes place by a lake, in an auditorium, or around the staff cabins of a Catskills resort, the rehearsal studio has minimalist rustic vibes of note. 

Rustic farmhouse design often features calming hues—such as the white-washed walls and touches of pink in the background—as well as exposed rafters and plenty of natural light. And hey, if you get inspired to dance to "Love is Strange," be sure to leave plenty of room with an open floor plan.

4. The Great Gatsby

A still from the movie The Great Gatsby
Photo: Courtesy of Village Roadshow Pictures/Warner Bros. Pictures

Gatsby's mansion may get all the love, but Nick Carraway's rental gives us some serious cottagecore vibes—especially after Gatsby packs it with flowers. Take a look at the cool, natural green paint on the siding, complimentary white accents, and the cozy additions to the outdoor living space like the porch swing. 

If this scene from “The Great Gatsby” inspires you to spruce up your outdoor area, consider hiring a local landscape designer to lend an expert eye to the process. Unfortunately, Leonardo DiCaprio is not included.

5. Ferris Bueller's Day Off

A still from the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Photo: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures Studios

As featured in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” Cameron's parents' iconic mid-century home—particularly where they store their doomed sports car—is an excellent example of how home design can showcase a home's natural setting. 

While this look can be tricky to incorporate into existing homes, you can work with a local window installation specialist to find the right type of window to welcome in as much natural light and color as possible. Just make sure you have an excellent car and home insurance policy if you plan to store valuable vehicles indoors—or around rebellious teenagers.

6. Now and Then​​

A still from the movie Now and Then
Photo: Courtesy of New Line Cinema/Moving Pictures

We get our first glimpse into the fearless personalities of the girls in “Now and Then” by checking out their bedroom designs. In this scene, Teeny practices her future Academy Award speech in her classic 1970s bedroom, complete with a neon pink and yellow color palette, a sunken vanity, and a shamelessly retro lamp. Bold colors are back in style in modern maximalist homes, so lean into your inner Teeny and incorporate playful designs into your home.

7. Mamma Mia

A still from the movie Mamma Mia
Photo: Courtesy of Universal Pictures/Littlestar/Playtone

Even if Donna still has some fixing up to do, no one would turn down a chance to live in the stunningly romantic Greek villas of “Mamma Mia.” Sophie's bedroom shows off the Mediterranean home style and decor the best, featuring seaside blues juxtaposed with bright red accents and plenty of house plants. 

One way to live out your “Dancing Queen” dreams is to install interior window shutters on the windows with the best views—perfect for flinging open mid-dance number. Work with a window shutter company near you to make it happen.

8. The Graduate

A still from the movie The Graduate
Photo: Courtesy of Embassy Pictures/Lawrence Truman Productions

We can't imagine Mrs. Robinson had any idea that she'd be a 21st-century home trendsetter, but here we are. If you don't remember her home decor from “The Graduate,” it's worth a revisit. 

A full built-in bar with white, black, and gold accents balances with the lush green plant life just outside her patio doors. While modern interior design focuses more on flexible hosting spaces like home bars for entertaining, you can borrow from Mrs. Robinson's retro look while staying with the times. 

9. Under the Tuscan Sun

A still from the movie Under the Tuscan Sun
Photo: Courtesy of Touchstone Pictures

We have to tip our hats to Frances from “Under the Tuscan Sun” for how she approached this seemingly impossible home renovation. Take a page out of her playbook and contact a local general contractor familiar with the historical renovation standards typical of the region. 

If you're restoring a historic home built before the 1950s, you'll likely encounter plumbing, wiring, and structural elements that no longer meet today's regulations. Just as Frances did, work through the home slowly and be sure to tie in colors, textures, and patterns that reflect the home's original glory. 

10. The Parent Trap

A still from the movie The Parent Trap
Photo: Courtesy of Walt Disney Production

While there are plenty of “The Parent Trap” remakes to gawk over, the original 1961 film features iconic home designs like none other. Perfect example: This living room is prime for modern inspiration, featuring ornate candle holders and a blue-toned stone wall. 

This type of stone wall behind Meredith Blake (and her fabulous skirt suit) would make a one-of-a-kind addition to any modern home. Contact a masonry contractor near you to determine the best way to recreate this kind of accent wall in your home.

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