How To Steal Shonda Rhimes' Bridgerton-Inspired Home Style

The Netflix hit "Bridgerton" takes us back in time with its early 19th-century social world of endless balls, gossip columns, and scandals. The series also features some of the most beautiful and glorious interiors on streaming. From large halls filled with pastel-clad debutantes to intimate scenes in cozy libraries, the show's visual palate is often a mix of gilded accents and a swirl of pastel-colored rooms. Bridgerton's chief creator, Shonda Rhimes, is known for her acute writing abilities and tremendous output, creating some of the best shows of the past two decades, including multi-season hits "Grey's Anatomy" and "Scandal." Rhimes' New York apartment, recently visited by Architectural Digest, is a feast for the eyes and incorporates some very Bridgerton-esque aesthetics in its highlighted rooms. 

Rhimes' choices in décor for her Upper East Side apartment, assisted by designer Michael S. Smith, form a unique and eclectic mix of elements that speak both to modernity and function, seeped in 19th-century beauty and grandeur. You, too, can steal a little bit of "Bridgerton" and Rhime's New York apartment style for your own home by thinking of rooms in new ways that flawlessly incorporate old-world details with today's functionality.

Gilt and glamour

The Regency-era sets of "Bridgerton" are very often gorgeous, melding historical accuracy with the freshness of design. Shonda Rhime's own apartment is no different, featuring a wealth of opulent elements, including gilt, gold, and intricately carved furniture pieces, per Architectural Digest. The rooms of Rhimes' apartment tend toward a maximalist look, incorporating a historical glamor that reflects Bridgerton's high British society settings and nature-inspired elements like rose-lined garden paths and tree-covered promenades. Here, you will find everything from gilt mirrors to an orange tree, bringing to mind the famous Orangerie at Aubrey Hall.

Consider adding gilt and gold touches to even the most modern rooms in the form of mirrors and accents, including frames, vases, and lamps. A beautiful chandelier dripping with crystals or bejeweled wall sconces is another option to elevate a space immediately. Look for furniture pieces, like Rhimes' oft-used writing desk, antiques, or replications with graciously turned-out legs, intricate carving, and old-world hardware. To add height to lower-ceilinged rooms, consider hanging a set of beautiful drapes slightly higher than your window to give a floor-to-ceiling effect that matches the "Bridgerton" grandeur.

Color, pattern and texture

Shonda Rhimes' New York apartment is filled with a rich mix of textures and patterns, and they form a lovely palette that appeals to all the senses in their eclecticism. Rhimes tells Architectural Digest that each of the throw pillows and cushions in her home, a rich tapestry of fabrics, patterns, shapes, and colors, were all chosen individually by her and designer Michael Smith. When brought together, their rich mix forms a cohesive whole. The colors of the apartment, which include pastels, soft earth tones, and stately dark blues, are pulled right out of the "Bridgerton" interiors.

Rhimes suggests picking one important element when starting a room design and building a room around it, in her case, the beautiful floral and chinoiserie-style wallpaper that decks her living room-office space. Consider creating a room's design scheme around a single element — be it wallpaper, a piece of art, or a richly upholstered sofa. The eclecticism of found pieces that pull together a room can sometimes be far more beautiful than a carefully plotted color or design scheme. Eclectically composed rooms allow for serendipity and surprise.

Adaptable spaces

Most of us, even wildly successful Shonda Rhimes, lack the spacious halls and sprawling estates of the residents of "Bridgerton."  As such, rooms that do double or triple duty are sometimes necessary. As seen in Architectural Digest, Rhimes solves the limited space of her New York abode by making rooms serve multiple functions. Her dining room also doubles as both a guest room and library, featuring a dining table, a fireplace reading nook, and a fold-down Murphy bed behind the television for overnight guests. 

If you don't have access to a palatial estate, or even an apartment as spacious as Rhimes', consider spaces that serve more than one function. Find a way you can maximize each room both in beauty and utility. If you find your formal dining room is seldom used, consider utilizing it as a library or study by adding bookshelves. If your living room is empty most of the time, consider making the space a spot you spend time in daily by adding a writing desk or reading nook.


With their neverending schedule of gentleman callers, salons, and lavish balls, "Bridgerton" homes are the very center of society. According to her interview with Architectural Digest, even Rhimes' inherent introvert tendencies vanish in the pleasure of inviting others into her space. Creating a homey and functional space is key. A cozy banquette in the dining room allows hours of wine-washed revelry. A large kitchen island is a perfect gathering spot for Rhimes and her daughters. Seating areas that are plentiful, plush, and filled with pillows and cushions invite guests to relax and stay for long periods.  

Consider adding as much usable seating as your space will allow. In addition to sofas and settees, benches, ottomans, occasional chairs, and poufs can offer ample extra seating options. A banquette or padded bench at a dining table is often more comfortable and space-saving than chairs and can be a great way to make your dinner guests linger longer than usual. 

Old and new

For all of Bridgerton's historically drenched Regency-era interiors and social structures, there is a feeling of modern freshness to the show, including elements like costumes, lighting, and music, which often includes 21st-century pop hits reimagined as orchestral pieces. Shonda Rhimes' home echoes this delightful mixing of old with new, incorporating glamourous but distinctly modern light fixtures alongside the more historic bones of her pre-war apartment. Other elements, like carefully chosen artwork, add modern touches to the apartment's high ceilings and decorative moldings, making each more stunning by proximity, per Architectural Digest.

If your taste runs more toward traditional and classic décor, shake things up a bit by adding a unique light fixture that mixes old elements in new ways. The juxtaposition and surprise of new and old is often its greatest charm. A sumptuous velvet chaise is made even more stunning by an abstract piece of art placed above it. A modern kitchen with clean lines can be given new depth and dimension by bringing antique wood pieces to soften the room.