How To Decorate Your Home Like The Movie Under The Tuscan Sun

The 2003 film "Under the Tuscan Sun" is about new beginnings and finding yourself after a tragedy. Fans of the film will remember that Diane Lane plays Frances, a writer from San Francisco who lost her home in a divorce to a cheating husband. Distraught, she takes a trip to Italy to find her center and purchases a 400-year-old fixer-upper near the village of Cortona. As Slate points out, the background logistics of how an American buys a home in Tuscany and makes it her permanent residence are a bit fuzzy, as she only seems to be in the country on a tourist visa.

Instead of getting caught up in semantics, fans of the film tend to get caught up in the love story between a woman, her renovation project, and the Italian countryside. The film is based on the memoir by Frances Mayes, who still owns the Italian villa she renovated that inspired the film and novel (via The Local). Even if you can't move to Italy, it's still possible to bring a bit of the Tuscan sun into your living space and decorate your home like an Italian villa.

Don't be afraid of a fixer upper

If anything, the key to decorating your house like this film is not shying away from a home that needs a lot of work, lest you lose out on its true potential. The home is in complete disarray when Frances purchases it. The walls are crumbling down, vines are growing everywhere, and the washing machine is in the home's front yard. Through her desperation, Frances saw the home's potential.

Modern television shows like "Fixer Upper" have taken this idea and run with it. According to This Old House, purchasing a home that needs lots of work can put you ahead financially, but only sometimes. Things typically work out better if the home needs cosmetic improvements but doesn't have something major wrong with it, like a cracked foundation. However, it's always a good idea to line up your financing before you start work. If you don't have a divorce settlement like Frances, you will need to think about other avenues for cash flow.

Consider adding religious elements to your home

The Virgin Mary watches over Frances while she sleeps. As is common in Italy, Catholic imagery is prominent in the house during the film. According to House of Joppa, it's possible to tastefully incorporate modern Catholic art into your home in many different ways. While you might be disappointed that you can't purchase an original Michelangelo from the Vatican, you can incorporate prints of your favorite Renaissance painters into your home if you like this art style.

In addition, many companies make things with Mary's likeness on them for everyday use in your home. If you prefer less overt religious imagery, you can purchase symbols like the Sacred Heart as a bookmark, bookend, or even decorative piece to stand on its own and bring peace to your home. You can also consider widely available prayer candles in different scents and colors or shawls and tapestries as linens in your home.

A grand chandelier is the final touch for any room

About halfway through the film, Frances hits a wall. She is tired of the hard work of renovating and wants to finish everything. However, at this point, it's finally time to hang the chandelier. The gleaming, multi-level light fixture is a treasure that perfectly illuminates the home, adding touches of character and glamour. According to Lightology, when selecting a conversation piece for your own front room, you should consider a few things before installation.

First, you need to think about the scale of the room. Realistically, what size light would complement the surroundings rather than overpower them? In addition, what level of light output do you want? This step is a top priority to keep in mind, as the more bulbs or crystals there are on a chandelier, the harder it is to keep things dim as they tend to glitter.

Make a bold statement with red linens

Frances has beautiful red curtains in the rooms of her house. However, while cleaning them one day, she notices a deadly scorpion has also decided to move into her home. Red is a great color to use in home decor, but we can only hope that poisonous creatures don't make themselves at home in your house, too. According to Apartment Therapy, don't just stop with red curtains or other linen elements if you enjoy red. Instead, you can mix and match shades of red with pillows, couches, and even the walls to create the final look.

Wondering what color palettes to use if you're featuring red? One option is to take things in the opposite direction and use red as a punchy centerpiece for an otherwise neutral room. If you want to meet somewhere in the middle, pair your red with nearly any other color on the wheel. It looks particularly good with bright hues like purple, orange, and pink.

Metal bed frames can enhance any room

When Frances first moves into the Tuscan villa, the house comes "as is" with plenty of antique furniture and other bits and bobs around the home. With a tight budget, she chooses to keep the home's metal bed frame instead of replacing it. This idea turns out to be a good choice, as metal frames have plenty of benefits. According to Mental Itch, metal bed frames are low maintenance. They are easy to clean, tighten up, and last a long time. Since Frances had the entire rest of the house to remodel, this characteristic was likely a huge relief.

In addition to these benefits, metal bed frames are also long-lasting. An old brass bed like Frances' seems to hold a lot of Mediterranean style, while an older wooden bed could rot or look unsightly. If you want to purchase a metal bed frame like Frances, you can enjoy one more benefit: metal frames tend to be significantly less expensive than their wooden counterparts.

Elevate your home with antique furniture

In addition to keeping pieces that already came with the home, Frances chooses to use local antique furniture to furnish the rest of the building. These furnishings match the classic style of her remodeled home. According to Remodelista, it's easy to get overcharged when you venture into the world of vintage items. If you like something, always think twice about what it might cost. You don't want to pay hand over fist for something only worth $20.

When searching, you can scour local antique shops and flea markets. Another great place to look for older pieces is at estate sales. Social media groups and local websites often promote estate sales in your area. Finally, you can purchase items online directly from a local seller. This place might be the best way to find a gem, as people cleaning out their homes will post grandma's armoire on the cheap because they just want to get rid of it.

An arch of greenery adds character to your garden

The gardens of Frances' Tuscan villa receive plenty of TLC. While most of the work on the home takes place inside, we see a couple of shots of Frances outside, transforming the exterior of her new home. Whether you want a simple arch of flowers or an entire walkway of overhanging greenery, you can look to the film for inspiration.

According to HGTV, certain flowers thrive when grown for garden arches or pergolas. These include roses like the Zephirine Drouhin and Crown Princess Margareta and other wispy additions like Summer Cascade Wisteria. When selecting plants to wrap around your outdoor structures, you might also want nonflowering choices like a Trumpet Vine or a Hops Vine. Whatever you choose, you'll need to ensure that particular option can thrive in your local climate. Flowers will help brighten up your garden and add a sweet pop of color.

Consider an old-fashioned stove for character

You don't have to exclusively source antique furniture when remodeling your home to its former glory. You can also include appliances. In any scene where Frances is in her kitchen, fans of the film will notice that her stove is vintage. According to Slate, vintage stoves are better options than most modern options. They tend to run only on gas, making them impervious to power outages. In addition, they are very sturdy as plenty of them are built from cast iron. Not only will older stoves continue to last for years, but their constitution means they will hold heat magnificently that entire time.

Much like older cars still on the road after over 50 years, a stove built in previous eras was also meant to last you a lifetime. However, they do only fit into a specific aesthetic. If you have an older stove but a modern refrigerator or dishwasher, things in your kitchen might look a bit chaotic. Consider how everything in your kitchen will tie together before purchasing one just because you like the movie.

Intricate faucets make things interesting

Faucets can really add to a space's overall design, just like the ones Frances restores in her home. While the metal fixture with a shell-shaped handle seems to sprout from the middle of the wall in her front room, you should make a more logical design choice when replicating the film at home. After all, you don't want to be stuck with a leaky faucet in the bathroom.

According to the Family Handyman, style is a crucial element to consider when selecting a faucet, but you also must consider the overall function of the piece. If you choose a faucet based solely on its looks, you might end up with an annoying one that hardly works, like Frances. You'll need to shell out about $65 for bathroom fixtures and around $100 for a kitchen faucet. You are likely getting ripped off if the price is much higher or lower than this.

Kitchens don't have to be black or white

One of the best things about "Under the Tuscan Sun" is that even though the film starts with great heartache for Frances, she goes to form and nurture connections with found family and friends who love her. None more so than her best friend, Patti. Patti is constant support for Frances as she starts her remodeling journey. We learn Patti also has great style when she takes a call in her lilac kitchen in California.

According to The Spruce, kitchens are the most neutral room in the house. They get messy when we cook, so white is the preferred color as it is easy to clean. However, adding pops of color throughout the space will ensure that it feels vibrant and alive. After all, we spend a lot of time in the kitchen. You can make this space less drab by doing something big and painting your walls lilac like Patti. Or, you can opt for a minor upgrade, like adding colorful pulls to your cabinets and drawers.

Add a Tuscan touch with a bathroom bidet

Although you don't see them much in the USA, bidets are very common in Europe and Asia and offer several health benefits. According to WebMD, you can use a bidet instead of toilet paper to clean yourself off after using the restroom. You can also use a bidet to freshen up in place of a full shower. While the bidet in the film is freestanding, there are also attachments you can purchase to transform a regular toilet into a bidet.

In addition to keeping you nice and clean, bidets also have other perks. They limit the overall spread of germs throughout your bathroom, reduce the chance of you developing hemorrhoids (or lessen their severity if you already have them), and are better for the environment. Using less toilet paper means less paper waste. Plus, the next toilet paper shortage won't impact you.

Italian murals play on ancient themes

Whether you paint one yourself or purchase a wall covering, murals are a staple of Tuscan decor. You can see a mural that looks like it belongs on the walls of a courtyard in ancient Pompeii or Rome in Frances' dining room. According to HGTV, there are many ways you can add a mural to your walls.

You might prefer to paint something yourself or enlist a local artist to paint something beautiful. Or, you can purchase custom-patterned wallpaper to create the design of your dreams. You can also buy a vinyl wall covering to place over the sheetrock. Whatever you decide, most options are pretty DIY-friendly. You can always hire a contractor if you're not creatively inclined. If you prefer the ancient Roman look of the mural from the film, it is possible to purchase prints of Roman murals and simply frame those in your home.

A balcony gives you the perfect place to reflect

Frances enjoys views of the Tuscan countryside from her bedroom balcony. Even if your surroundings aren't as picturesque, you should still consider adding one to your home. According to Design Everest, a balcony can significantly increase your home's value. One square foot of outdoor living space is worth about 25 to 50 percent of indoor space at the same property. Be sure to check out how much it costs to build a balcony from scratch before starting the project. However, choosing how much space to add can be an issue.

Frances has a full balcony that she can walk out onto and observe her neighbors. However, a more common balcony style in Italy is the Juliet Balcony. This smaller style has room for a potted plant or two and maybe one person, but it hardly extends more than a few feet from the door. Whatever you decide, the balcony should be at a convenient point in the room, which isn't always the center. Be sure to keep this in mind when drawing up your plans.

Mediterranean cypress trees are a good idea

During her visit, Patti comments that the Mediterranean cypress trees throughout Frances' property are "weird Italian trees." However, this tall and slender flora is native to Italy and quintessentially Italian. If you are interested in recreating "Under the Tuscan Sun" at home, you're in luck. Italian cypress trees can thrive in other climates and are tolerant of drought. Planting them at home brings a piece of Italy to you.

According to PlantingTree, the trees grow fast and have a soothing blue and green tone when fully grown. In addition, they are not expensive and can often be purchased in bulk to save money. In Italy, the trees tend to be planted in long rows, forming a natural fence around properties, paths, or other structures. By purchasing a bundle, it's significantly easier to recreate the look from the movie and Italy in your own living space.