It's awards season for the movie industry, a time of year when the real place called Hollywood comes closest to being the "Hollywood" of our collective imagination. As red carpets unfurl and movie stars appear at their most glittering, how can you add a bit of Hollywood glamour to your home?
When we talk about Hollywood glamour, says Los Angeles-based interior designer Betsy Burnham, we're usually referring to Hollywood's Golden Age - or at least our image of it. We can evoke that era through luxe materials, carefully chosen colours, and elements drawn from the 1920s, '30s and '40s.
"You don't need to recreate a whole time period," says Genevieve Gorder, host of HGTV's "Dear Genevieve." Just focus on "adding the right little notes and accessories" to your home's current style.
"You want things that speak of luxury but don't necessarily cost a luxurious price," she says.
SMALL TOUCHES OF THE FINEST THINGS
"Hollywood glamour means luxury, so eat off your good china even if you and friends are just having takeout," says Burnham. "Also, use luxurious materials in your decorating: cashmere, faux snake or python, horn, silver trays."
Drape your sofa with a faux fur throw, she says, or an Hermes or Louis Vuitton blanket. "Names," she says, "big names, sort of scream Hollywood luxury."
"Luxury by bed" is also very Hollywood, Burnham says. She recommends placing a small, elegant tray at your bedside with a glass and decanter for water (no plastic bottles allowed!). Place your watch or jewelry on the tray at bedtime. Also, "buy the highest thread-count sheets you can afford," she says. It may seem like an unnecessary splurge, but "they'll last. You don't have to buy them every week."
Designer Brian Patrick Flynn, founder and editor of decordemon.com, says upholstery is another great place to start.
"Diamond tufted pieces feel like a 1940s Hollywood set," he says. "When done on dark coloured velvets, it casts a sexy shadow that adds another dimension to the piece."
He points out that the look doesn't have to be feminine. "Velvet, if you go toward dark greys and browns," he says, "can be super, super masculine."
One tip: "If you're a family with kids and want a glam-looking space, go with indoor/outdoor velveteen," Flynn says. "It looks luxurious but stands up well to traffic."
Gorder agrees, and suggests using "old satin throws, or satin quilts from the '30s and '40s" that call to mind a classic movie star's long, flowing dressing gown. "Think of it, she says, "as jewelry for the home."
If you find some at an antique shop that are frayed and worn, no worries: The patina of age only adds to the charm, Gorder says.
MIRRORS AND LIGHT FIXTURES
In decorating, as in filmmaking, lighting is crucial. These designers recommend using chandeliers, chrome and gold accents, and plenty of mirrors to bring a cinematic glow.
When choosing mirrors and lighting, Gorder says, "look to the era of deco, which spans the mid '20s to early '30s."
There was a fascination during that era with all things Egyptian, thanks to the discovery of King Tut's tomb, she says. She recommends using Moorish lanterns, because they feel Old Hollywood and give off a romantic, dancing light.
"Try mirrors in a dining room to reflect back the party and the light," says Burnham, "or lining a hallway with mirrors."
Decorating with mirrors can be tricky, she points out, but "there are tasteful ways of doing it" without a tacky look.
She and Flynn both recommend having mirrors custom-made, which costs less than you might think. Flynn suggests buying a large mirror at a big-box store, removing the cheap frame and bringing it to a frame shop. Have it reframed in a colour and material that matches your decor perfectly.
Antique mirrors (these designers say you'll find them at flea markets) also add a touch of Golden Age charm.
"In that era of glamour," says Flynn, "things were kind of private and dark, mysterious and sexy." He recommends using deep shades of blue, grey, black and deep lavender to create some of that mystery and convey what he calls "handsome glamour."
Or go high-contrast with a stark black-and-white palette. Ebony floors with fresh white walls are a surefire hit, Flynn says, especially played up with accents in grey and silver.
Another option: Ultra-feminine shades of muted pink and rose fit for a starlet.
SET THE SCENE
Burnham loves designating a spot for a bar and setting up the space using crystal decanters and fine glassware.
"It doesn't have to be booze. It can be Pellegrino," she says, but the key is using decanters rather than bottles with labels. One more touch: Include a bouquet of fresh flowers, displayed in your nicest vase.