How To Decorate Like The Movie The Grand Budapest Hotel

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The style of Wes Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel" is a color-drenched tour through a magical version of an art nouveau world. The exaggerated contrast and use of dramatic archways, large-scale lighting, and stylized natural elements brings the fairy-tale environment of the movie to life. Speaking of the film's setting, it isn't exactly easy to put your finger on. Though encompassing themes of socialism and the threat of fascism, the art in the film draws heavily on art nouveau for inspiration, according to Sister Mag

Using symmetry, large curves, and a sense of longing for nature, the "The Grand Budapest Hotel" sets up the nostalgic image of a time gone by using the art of the art nouveau movement, popular throughout Europe and the U.S. at the turn of the century. As with Wes Anderson's previous works, the scene of the story is built right down to the details choices to place the characters in fanciful circumstances that seamlessly blend the ordinary with the extraordinary. Sprinkling some art nouveau-inspired decor and elements into your own interior design can bring a taste of the uncanny Grand Budapest Hotel into your very own home.

Add metal details

The Grand Budapest Hotel features metallic accents everywhere, from the railings to lettering on signs. While you might not have a grand, two-story staircase with rows of balconies extending from it to add metal railings to, there are some clever ways to get the feel of these details in a smaller space. Experimenting with metallics can add impact to furniture and lighting without requiring a major renovation.

Adding metallic details with curved lines, or some stylized gold shades, to an existing feature is one good way to capture some of the essence of the hotel's ambiance. Laura U Design Collective recommends going big with a statement piece that will add contrast to your space, and also act as a focal point. Using metallics in furniture, as well as art, can bring some art nouveau bling to your decor. For more details, you can also choose gilded materials for drapes or hardware, adding some modernist feel to existing pieces.

Go big with an industrial chandelier

One iconic element of the Grand Budapest Hotel's decor is the gigantic, industrial-style chandelier hanging from the ceiling in the lobby. It's definitely reminiscent of the type of modernist lighting popular at the time the art nouveau movement was kicking off. Electricity was still relatively new at the turn of the century, and ways of using it were still rapidly being developed. The future-facing modernists harnessed the industrial styles of the period in the way they used electricity in interior design.

Antique lighting fixtures are often made from brass or wrought iron, bringing in some elements central to the design of the film. Using a second-hand fixture or lamp with a period industrial design can be a good way to add some Budapest-inspired vibes for your own home. Just be sure to be careful, as Hertfordshire Lighting and Design warns that using vintage fixtures without checking the wiring can be dangerous. You can usually swap out old wiring for modern, grounded wiring to update an older light fixture. You can also use a modern nouveau-inspired chandelier for a similar look, without all the polishing and rewiring. Look for metal chandeliers with large globes and structured elements.

Use an art nouveau color palette

The color palette of the Grand Budapest Hotel is unique; however, like much of its design, it draws on the art nouveau movement for inspiration. The type of color palette used in the lobby, as well as many of the scenes in other parts of Wes Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel" universe, is akin to the palette popular among nouveau artists at the turn of the century. Using these colors, you can get some of the same ambiance as seen in the film.

Capturing the bold, pastel style of the film can be accomplished by using a similar color palette of pinks, gold, green, other pastels, with accents of bright red in paint, textiles, and decor. According to Hollywood Regency Decor, pink was a popular component of art nouveau design, as was green and blue. Focusing on natural hues and materials — like stone, wood, and metal — can give you some inspiration for what types of colors will fit well with a Grand Budapest Hotel color scheme.

All about arches

At the Grand Budapest Hotel, there is no shortage of arches. While arches have been a design element for millennia, the modernist movement used them quite a lot. Getting the look of the film's arched interiors can include adding some arched doorways to your home, but that's only one way to capture the essence of the bold, curving lines seen in the film.

Adding an arched alcove as a focal point will have a similar visual effect to adding an archway, says Vaunt Design. Even simpler than that, you can add arched furniture, a table supported by arched legs, or a mirror with an arch at the top to your living space to accomplish the look. Another way to get the impression of an architectural arch without needing to do any demo is to paint one on your wall. This can function well as a focal point of a room, and you can incorporate other Grand Budapest-inspired elements into your arch like using a high-contrast, pastel color palette, or adding a gold border.

Use symmetry

Symmetry is one of the most common themes in the design of the movie "The Grand Budapest Hotel." From the front desk to the building itself, the patterns of the various scenes maintain a firm equilibrium, even while existing within a whimsical universe. Symmetry is important in interior design and can be used to create balance. Because of the riot of colors and textures in the Grand Budapest's lobby, the systematic balance of the decor and architecture works to create a calm and grounded environment, amidst the bold elements.

Because symmetry is often found in nature, Hatch Interior Design points out that this design element can feel calm and stable. Bringing together groups of color, millwork, furniture, and textiles can all add to visual harmony in a space, even if the architecture of a building doesn't allow an exact mirror to occur. Using repeated patterns or shapes will help to create this sense of balance in any space.

Add some molding

In the Grand Budapest Hotel, moldings are plentiful. From the balconies of the main lobby to each wall in every hallway, molding makes an appearance everywhere. The look of the particular type of molding portrayed in the film can be added to your home on a smaller scale by using box panels or crown molding — all of which add interest and shape to regular walls.

Box frame panels are made from molding pieces cut at a 45 degree angle and attached to the wall to form a rectangle. Thrifty Decor Chick recommends spacing out your frames evenly to make sure they look proportional. You might have to use different dimensions for these depending on the size of the wall and the type of molding you use, so visualizing your design first using a photo editing app or some painter's tape on the wall is a good way to go. While some molding comes pre-primed, painting everything once it's on the wall is better than doing it beforehand, because there will likely be nail holes to fill and seams that need caulking.

Go with globe-shaped lighting

To capture some Grand Budapest whimsy, globe-shaped lighting can add to the feel of the movie's world. You can choose glass or metallic orbs to get an impression of the film's curved lighting in the form of hanging pendant lights. Because of the layered look of the scenery in "The Grand Budapest Hotel," this type of lighting can act as a layer in your own design scheme, and help create the overall essence of the hotel.

Pendant lights now come in a wide variety of looks, but you'll likely want to stick to clean lines and industrial styles to get the classic look of the film. Modern options for globe and orb shaped lighting come in dimmable, LED, glass, and metal options, says Claxy Lighting. Good lighting can bring a whole room together, so you can choose from orbs in rows, clusters, or single drops. Whatever fixtures you choose, it's really the globe shape that matters in creating the turn of the century style represented in "The Grand Budapest Hotel."

Add metal to your exterior

The entrance to the Grand Budapest Hotel is decked out with pastel pink and gilded metal letters that stand out from the rest of the building. The archway of the glass front doors is accentuated by the bold lettering that frames it. Getting the look of the standout gilded sign is one way to bring a little bit of the fairyscape of the Grand Budapest home with you.

Attaching metal house numbers to the outside of your home is a little nod to the film, and you can add them simply. Floating address numbers come in a variety of finishes, but you should choose a metallic finish for Grand Budapest style. In My Own Style points out that the toughest part of installing these floating house numbers is drilling the holes. The numbers typically come with the hardware you need for attaching them, as well as a template for lining them up — all you'll need besides that is a drill and a screwdriver.

Lean into layers

Layering your colors, textures, and patterns can help to complete your Grand Budapest look. The thing to keep in mind is scale. Since the setting of the film is almost always large, cavernous spaces, you'll likely need to scale down your layered look to fit your own space.

Layering in more than one pattern is tricky, but if you stick to your basic color palette, it can be done well to create visual interest. According to Mansion Global, using geometric patterns alongside curving and floral shapes is a good way to create an ordered nod to nature. Texture on moldings and embellishments alongside smooth walls and patterned textiles is an example of layering design elements into your space. Contrasting colors can also add to the effect. Using monochromatic paint with bold patterns, or complimentary colors next to each other, are good ways to introduce Grand Budapest-inspired layering. Keep in mind that maintaining symmetry when doing this will help to achieve a Grand Budapest aesthetic.

Use gold accents

The Grand Budapest Hotel embraces a pastel, gold, and red palette. These might not seem like they go together, but in the world of the film, they exist in perfect harmony to create the storybook quality of the hotel's interiors. Using gold finishes effectively in your own interior design can get you just the look you want if you're going for some Budapest-style art nouveau.

Luckily, pink — the main color in the Grand Budapest Hotel — pairs well with gold. Using this color combination can be done effectively with the use of pink walls and gold furniture, patterned wallpaper with gold details and pink furniture, or metallics on lighting fixtures and pink incorporated into textiles, advises Designing Idea. Other hues that can be added to the mix are green, purple, black, and white — all of which have representations in the film's interior sets. To punch up your Grand Budapest-inspired interior, using turquoise and red is also an option, especially when adding accents for color pops alongside gold inlays on walls or furniture.

Opt for repeating nature-inspired patterns

As we now, the Grand Budapest Hotel has lots of references to art nouveau style. One such example is the repeating abstract floral patterns on the rugs and textiles in the hotel's interiors. This type of repeating, nature-inspired pattern is a mainstay of the art nouveau design that is stylized in the film with a slightly non-conformist color palette.

To get the look of the film, opting for a gold repeating pattern on a red background in the form of a rug or large-scale textile is a good way to go. According to Sampleboard, art nouveau uses references to nature, muted colors, and curving lines. While primary red isn't exactly in keeping with this style, it reflects the film's fictionalized version of an art nouveau picture book, so diverging with this one detail can bring an impactful Grand Budapest element to your overall design. In choosing a pattern for carpets or textiles, a repeating stylized floral pattern, like that seen on the lobby's floors, is a good way to achieve this.

Decorate with period-inspired textiles

Curtains and drapes play a huge role in setting the vibe of a space. Since the drapery in the Grand Budapest Hotel bears many of the characteristics of the textiles of the art nouveau era, using the same muted pastels and large, sweeping shapes is a way of adding some of the Grand Budapest flavor to your decor. Drapes can be made from heavier fabrics, like those in the archways of the hotel's interior, to give them a similar quality to the ones in the film. 

According to wiseGEEK, modern renditions of art nouveau fabrics are a bit different than what they were actually like at the time. Originally, the textiles were a bit more understated and meant to blend in with decor, whereas now they are certainly more colorful and bold. Current fabric creations mimic the architectural and artistic patterns of the time period, and while that may not be as authentic as sourcing materials from the turn of the century, it will perfectly accomplish the Grand Budapest look you're going for. 

Embrace contrast

Embracing contrast will help you to achieve the Grand Budapest Hotel look. With all the layered tiers of metallic, patterns, pastels, and inlaid elements, contrast is key to keep your densely-packed designscape from becoming muddy. If many different elements are brought together with little or no contrast, the details can be lost to the eye.

It's not just the stand-out quality that makes contrast important. According to Gray Malin, contrast is also important to other elements of art nouveau style prevalent in the film. Contrast helps to bring depth, balance, and impact to a design. The ever important symmetry present in Wes Anderson's work can be more clearly expressed when mixing materials, colors, and textures. Adding interest and warmth to a space requires some contrast, so adding the over-the-top level of warmth and interest present in the sets of "The Grand Budapest Hotel" requires a lot of contrast.

Use stylized natural elements

Embracing stylized natural elements is a major theme throughout "The Grand Budapest Hotel." The hotel's setting in the mountains with its vast sunsets is a major natural element on its own. Throughout the hotel's interior, art nouveau-inspired nods to mother nature can be seen.

Bringing nature into the design process is also a recurring theme in art nouveau. According to Europeana, artists of the period were often inspired by naturalist drawings of wildlife, and many of the artists were also early Darwinists, looking to a scientific understanding of nature. This can be seen in the mountain murals in the Grand Budapest Hotel, as well as in the flower adorned archways welcoming guests inside. Because many of the themes present in art nouveau designs were also studied by engineers and architects, the buildings of the period carried the earmarks of the movement. The Grand Budapest Hotel keeps its symmetrical, ordered appearance, but stylized nature is present in the details.