At ELLE Decor, it takes more than a tearful soliloquy to sate our appetite for drama. When it comes to movies, the interior design can often give a more memorable performance than the actors. We couldn’t tell you what The Favourite (2018) was about, but boy were the rooms in that palace worth the price of admission. Remember Barry Lyndon (1975), Stanley Kubrick’s three-hour period piece (pictured above) starring the fabulous Marisa Berenson and the fabulously wooden Ryan O’Neal? If you do, it’s because of the impossibly beautiful Rococo evening scenes lit only by candlelight. Sometimes for a movie to be great, all it takes is good looks.

It’s with that in mind that we asked eight decorators from the ELLE Decor A-List for their picks of the best-designed movies of all time. Read on for some inspiration on what to watch next.

Elaine May and Walter Matthau in A New Leaf, directed by Mike Nichols.


A NEW LEAF (1971)

“It’s a forgotten treasure directed by Mike Nichols, with sets coordinated by the late D.D. Ryan. She was Diana Vreeland’s photo editor at Harper’s Bazaar and a great influence and mentor to me. When I first watched this film, I became aware that traditional furniture could be fully updated and stylishly invigorated. It was the advent of modernism, in which there was suddenly a blur between traditional and contemporary motifs. You’ll see, for example, a Georgian sideboard next to an antique Chinese chair next to a Morris Louis painting. This movie was a great barometer of change and hugely influential on my work as a designer. I’m begging to watch it tonight, though, for the humor of it all.” Jeffrey Bilhuber

A scene from Marie Antoinette

Kirsten Dunst in Marie Antoinette, directed by Sofia Coppola.



“I recently had the opportunity to revisit this modern classic directed by Sofia Coppola, when she and Anna Sui hosted a viewing at the Museum of Arts and Design in January. I was reminded then just how absolutely beautiful Versailles is. The film, with production design by K.K. Barrett, takes place in the private apartments, offering a glimpse of the human scale that Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI lived within, versus what we know as the enormous formal public rooms in the main part of the palace. The costumes and sets are beyond sumptuous, but it is Coppola’s interpretation of 21st-century fashion and music that make the whole movie so incredibly modern.” Brian J. McCarthy

SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE, Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson, 2003, (c) Columbia/courtesy Everett Collection

Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson in Something’s Gotta Give, directed by Nancy Meyers.

©Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection


“This classic directed by Nancy Meyers, starring Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson, remains one of my all-time favorite movies, for its backdrop designed by Jon Hutman. Keaton’s home in the Hamptons, with the double-height ceiling in the great room and that huge all-white kitchen with the big island, looks so realistic. It is exactly what I would expect an extremely successful divorced woman—a New York City playwright in her late 50s—would have as a beach house. The house is elegant but a little bit formal and austere, which seems pretty reflective of her personality.” Sheila Bridges

Tilda Swinton (seated at center) in I Am Love, directed by Luca Guadagnino.


I AM LOVE (2009)

“Luca Guadagnino’s beautiful movie was shot in Milan against the backdrop of the exquisite interiors of the Villa Necchi Campiglio. How could you possibly go wrong? But the film isn’t just buoyed by the resplendent visuals, it’s a proper drama of restrained complexity, with the magnificent Tilda Swinton in the lead role. If you’re looking for a perfect escape from the world’s stresses—one that is rich on every level—this is the ticket.” Beth Martin

Rosalind Russell in Auntie Mame, directed by Morton DaCosta.



“Everyone should have an Auntie Mame, the most flamboyantly over-the-top caregiver in Hollywood history. Come for Rosalind Russell’s performance, but stay for the ever-changing interiors of her Beekman Place Manhattan duplex. I love watching the passing of time as Mame’s interiors evolve, reflecting her own evolution. They are fantastic and bold and a constant source of inspiration.” Leyden Lewis

Amy Adams in Nocturnal Animals, directed by Tom Ford.



“For the most beautifully designed movie, this film by Tom Ford takes the cake. While the story has many varied locations, I was especially attracted to the scenes at Amy Adams’s spectacularly chic modern house in the Hollywood Hills, as well as her ultra-cool minimalist art gallery. What really resonated is how Adams, typically a preppy ‘good girl,’ took on the persona of Ford’s tortured heroine, transformed by the clothing and makeup he devised for her.” Ellie Cullman

A scene from Fanny and Alexander, directed by Ingmar Bergman.



“The drama of Ingmar Bergman’s epic takes place in three wonderful houses in Uppsala, Sweden, at the turn of the 20th century. I’m drawn to the glorious period colors and antique Victorian furniture in the Ekdahl family abode, as well as to the Jugend-style modernity of the Jacobi house. Every environment is stunning, created with great attention to detail, which led to an unsurprising Academy Award win for art director Anna Asp. I find myself returning to Fanny and Alexander over and over again for inspiration, and to be transported into the past!” Juan Montoya

A scene from Skyfall

A scene from Skyfall, directed by Sam Mendes.

Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

SKYFALL (2012)

“One of the most action-packed James Bond movies also happens to be a design inspiration for me. Where do I begin? I enjoyed the look of the MI6 office, its austere limestone setting with graphic horizontal and vertical bands reminiscent of a Piet Mondrian painting. The only curved lines are in the Interstuhl Silver high-backed chair. M’s residence is filled with warm light, traditional British furnishings, and raised-panel millwork details. I can imagine snuggling on her sofa. The scenes in Macao are also eye-popping. And can we please talk about that wild Shanghai casino with the entrance through the dragon’s mouth? Brilliant!” Joy Moyler