Set Design in Real Life

set design create your room

Ever notice how the homes in your favorite TV shows or movies meticulously represent facets of each character’s personality?

That’s no accident. It’s the work of set designers, like Sasha Wyroba, who select each piece of furniture, flooring, and décor to bring the homes of these characters to life.

Wyroba’s been a set designer for 15 years, working on video and still-photography sets for advertising and magazines. She knows exactly what it takes to express a character’s personality through the design of his or her environment.

“I tend to imagine myself as the subject and start with the first moment they wake up,” she says. “Is it coffee first, or do they go out to the balcony to see the sun rise? I walk the route of their day, and slowly the pieces come together to create a home.”

So if you’re thinking about redesigning a room in your home, Wyroba may be able to help you express yourself in it. Remember these top four tips so when your friends and family see your newly decorated space, they’ll say, “Wow. This is so you.”

  1. 1. Be loyal to your taste

    set design kitchen seating

    You know your taste, and it’s OK that it doesn’t match the magazine photo with the fancy bear-shaped fur rug. Wyroba says to pick three to five options for your direction but highlight what you love the most. “Stick to your intuition,” she says. If you stay consumed with and loyal to your style, the outcome will be perfect.

  2. 2. Focus on the floor

    “The main thing that I find that really starts to create a room is the floor,” Wyroba says. Flooring can be difficult because it sometimes doesn’t show in TV or film, but it acts as the foundation of the set and creates the time or era for everything to come together.

    “I can’t have 10 different floorings as backup,” she says. “I need to make sure that one can last through the abuse of light stands, furniture moves, and major foot traffic.”

  3. 3. Use warmer or darker colors on walls

    set design warm dark colors bedroom

    When pieces are brought onto a set, Wyroba says, the wall color sometimes doesn’t work even though it’s the color she requested for the set design. She suggests choosing a warmer or darker tone of that wall color—a pro tip from Wyroba’s world to yours to help you give your room the look you want after everything else is put in place.

  4. 4. Know your family’s routine

    set design bathroom flooring

    When she works on a set design, Wyroba likes to imagine herself as the character to determine his or her day-to-day—a process that can easily be adapted when decorating your home. “[Is there] a color that makes you happy or calm?” she asks. “Is the kitchen the heart of your home? Once you identify things that are important to you, then you can build everything around that.”

What will your floor say about you? Start thinking about the right floor for your family.

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