I would not describe myself as a cinephile, and I'll quickly lose any film trivia contest, but as a designer and art lover, David Lynch's films and TV projects are among my favorite visual experiences. Do I understand all their plotlines fully? No, no I do not (ahem, Lost Highway). But this has never bothered me.
Few filmmakers create worlds as mysteriously stylish and as instantly identifiable as Lynch. His sets are often clearly that, staged to perfection, but they are not mere backgrounds for the action. Rather, interiors play a starring role in his storytelling with a campy-meets-creepy vibe and dreamy—or often nightmarish—quality.
Certain motifs appear often: wood paneling, rotary phones, crimson lamp shades, and red drapes. Lynch settings make us feel both very nostalgic and very uneasy, a reflection of the themes often present in his work: the dark underbelly of picture-perfect suburbia and the revelation that things are decidedly not what they seem. This may not necessarily be a combination of feelings we'd like to evoke in our own homes (or, it might be...), but assuming our everyday lives are slightly less sinister than a Lynch storyline, we can find a ton of interior design inspiration in his work.
Scroll down for ideas on how to translate your favorite Lynch projects into home decor. As even his harshest critics have noted, if nothing else, the man has style.
This series seems to be the first entry point for many into the world of Lynch, and if you find that you like what you see, it's an aesthetic gold mine; all of Mr. Lynch's go-to motifs seem to make an appearance at some point. When looking for interior inspo, it can almost be hard to know where to start, with so many separate but amazing settings within the Twin Peaks world, but the retro-rustic vibe manages to remain so consistent throughout the series that it's fine to mix and match!
1. Durham Deals, Red Velvet Lamp Shade, Vintagem $30, available at Etsy.
2. Urban Outfitters, Woody Pillow, $39, available at Urban Outfitters.
3. Texture Trends II, Timber Dark Brown Wood Panel Wallpaper, $59.98 per roll, available at Brewster Home Furnishings.
4. GrohArtifact, wool faux taxidermy barn owl, $85, available at Etsy.
5. Urban Outfitters, Crushed Velvet Window Curtain, $59-$69, available at Urban Outfitters.
6. Urban Outfitters, Riley Wooden Bookshelf, $349, available at Urban Outfitters.
7. E By Design, Chevron Indoor/Outdoor Rug, $42.99, available at Wayfair.
8. Anthropologie, Berber-Woven Edlyn Left Sectional, $4,098, available at Anthropologie.
9. Urban Outfitters, Faux Sheepskin Shaped Rug, $49, available at Urban Outfitters.
10. Legendary Leather AU, Brand New Hand Crafted Pearl Wooden Chess Set, 30cm x 30cm, $38.41, available at Etsy.
11. Urban Outfitters, Set of Twelve Solid Taper Candles, black, $20, available at Urban Outfitters.
12. Anthropologie, Slate Top Side Table, $298, available at Anthropologie.
13. EC Vision, Black Color Vintage 1970s Style Rotart Phone, $68.99, available at Amazon.
14. Urban Outfitters, Amira Carved Wood Dresser, $599, available at Urban Outfitters.
15. Urban Outfitters, Ceramic Enamel Mug, $10, available at Urban Outfitters.
16. West Elm, Emil Leather Slipper Chair, 499.99 - $899 available at West Elm.Twin Peaks collage photos courtesy of Lynch/Frost Productions
Let me first confess: I have only recently seen the film Dune, and I have yet to read the novel by Frank Herbert. I was also not aware of the movie when it was released (because I was not yet born), and so I obviously didn't experience it in its "original" cultural context. And maybe that increased my enjoyment, since I loved it and it was panned by pretty much everyone when it came out 1984. But come on! The sets! The visuals! The future basically looks like a golden imperialistic art deco lair. Dreamy! Yes, it's costume-y and cheesy, but this is what I personally want from a sci-fi epic. Yes, the special effects are pretty lo-fi, but seeing them outside of the '80s made them seem charming and cool, rather than crappy. Not being set in small-town America, it's not your typical Lynchian fare, but it's still clearly recognizable as his world.
1. Urban Outfitters, Evie Sconce, $39, available at Urban Outfitters.
2. CB2 Exclusive, Tortura Vase, $59.95, available at CB2.
3. Anthropologie, Azia Buffet, $2,398, available at Anthropologie.
4. Urban Outfitters, Umbra Trigg Wall Planter Set, $30, available at Urban Outfitters.
5. Nod Exclusive, Domino Desk Chair, $169, available at The Land of Nod.
6. Urban Outfitters, Hana Kilim Printed Rug, $34-$299, available at Urban Outfitters.
7. Urban Outfitters, Mini Geo Terrarium, $14, available at Urban Outfitters.
8. Anthropologie, Emerging Ellipses Mirror, $398, available at Anthropologie.
9. Nate Berkus, Brass Hexagon End Table, $90.99, available at Target.
10. West Elm, Uptown Coffee Table, $1,299, available at West Elm.Dune collage photos courtesy of Dino De Laurentiis Company
Another visual masterpiece... another confounding plotline (two separate story lines, actors swapping roles... just watch it). I never quite made sense of the narrative, but that's okay. The house where the first half of the film's action takes place is one of my favorites. A dark (literally) and cold (figuratively) mid-century modern home, this is one of Lynch's more design-y creations, featuring tons of retro style but lacking nostalgic warmth and any coziness. The tension in this home is palpable, but it also looks really, really good.
1. ProJect Audio Systems, Debut Carbon DC Turntable with 8.6” Carbon Fiber Tonearm (Yellow), $399, available at B&H Photo.
2. Anthropologie, Gold-Dipped Desk Lamp, $98, available at Anthropologie.
3. Vintage Me This And That, Vintage Retro Mid Century Modern Decorative Ashtray, $7.50, available at Etsy.
4. Kvarna, table lamp with LED bulb, glass, $12.99, available at Ikea.
5. Delray Plants, Sansevieria Laurentiis in 8-3/4” pot, $24.52, available at Home Depot.
6. Lack, Side Table, high gloss red, $13.99, available at Ikea.
7. Nelson™, Daybed with Back Bolsters, Designed by George Nelson for Herman Miller, $3,425, avialable at Design Within Reach.
8. Madison Park Essentials, Premier Comfort Satin Queen Sheet Set in black, $34.99, available at Bed Bath and Beyond.
9. West Elm, Clint Mini Task Lamp, Antique Bronze/Marble, $129, available at West Elm.
10. Lafayette, Rippled Gold Frame, $59-$189, available at Framebridge.
11. West Elm, Salvador Coffee Table, $499, available at West Elm.
12. Wikis, Alarm clock, white, $8.99, available at Ikea.
13. West Elm, Mid Century Media Console, small (acorn), $699, available at West Elm.Lost Highway collage photos courtesy of October Films.
Mulholland Drive was my first Lynch experience. I went into it with zero expectations, knowing nothing about it, and left totally weirded out and intrigued. The first time I saw it, I wondered if it was going to end like some bizarro backward version of It's A Wonderful Life. Not exactly! But the film plays with the idea of alternate realities, illusion, identity, success, and morality—especially as they relate to Hollywood. The settings are pretty integral to the story and look how you might expect: a kind of California shabby-chic with a generous dose of nostalgia and mystery.
1. Pier 1, Cupid Stature, $74.98, available at Pier 1.
2. Ingefara, plant pot with saucer, outdoor/indoor, terra-cotta, $2.99, available at Ikea.
3. Delray Plants, Cateracterum Palm in 9-1/4” pot, $27.69, available at Home Depot.
4. Threshold, Tall Ribbon Vase, $22.49, available at Target.
5. Vintage Bakelite 4U, Ceramic Piano Ashtray - style 812, $15.00, available at Etsy.
6. Langesund, mirror, white, $27.99, available at Ikea.
7. Urban Outfitters, Chamberlin Velvet Sofa, $898, available at Urban Outfitters.
8. Restoration Hardware, Vintage French Sculpted Back Fabric Armchair, $148-$439, available at Restoration Hardware.
9. Urban Outfitters, Swirled Glass Bowl Set, $32, available at Urban Outfitters.
10. SMEG, Mini Refrigerator, $999, available at Urban Outfitters.
11. 3R Studios, Bubble Glass Hurricane Vase, $34.99, available at Target.
12. Urban Outfitters, Ryla Rattan Stool, $119, available at Urban Outfitters.Mulholland Drive collage photos courtesy of Les Films Alain Sarde
The plotline in Blue Velvet is pretty straightforward for Lynch, but that makes it no less interesting and possibly more disturbing. It's a prime example of the recurring Lynch theme: exposing a dark and evil underworld hidden just below the picturesque surface of a town. The spaces in the film are reflections of their inhabitants; the innocent and good reside in charming homes surrounded by porches and white picket fences, while the evil characters skulk around bars and strange apartments at night. The most important home in the film falls in between—an odd apartment that is part homey nostalgia, part neglected bordello... and the perfect source of home decor inspiration. It's a strange world after all.
1. Urban Outfitters, El Wire Light, $16, available at Urban Outfitters.
2. Anthropologie, Toia Sconce, $198, available at Anthropologie.
3. Esnelle, Burgundy Velvet Pillow Cover, $27.81, available at Etsy.
4. Urban Outfitters, Crushed Velvet Window Curtain, $59-$69, available at Urban Outfitters.
5. Anthropologie, Club Velvet Leonelle Sofa, $2,798, available at Anthropologie.
6. Charlton Home, Lucinda Chenille Dining Chair Slipcover, $65.99, available at Wayfair.
7. Urban Outfitters, Dempsey Floor Lamp, $89, available at Urban Outfitters.
8. Videcor Home Decor, Decorative Pic Vnyl Mat Linoleum Rug, $30.60+, available at Etsy.
9. Like Me Twice, Black Glass Vase, $18, available at Etsy.
10. Adum, Rug, high pile, light brown-pink, 5’7”x7’10”, $89.99, available at Ikea.
11. Urban Outfitters, Adelphi 12” Planter, $49, available at Urban Outfitters.Blue Velvet collage photos courtesy of De Laurentiis Entertainment Group