When we last saw Olivia Pope, she was on a plane headed for parts unknown, but we hope she returns to Washington D.C. in the season four premiere Thursday night so that we can see more of her gorgeous apartment. We especially covet the living room, where she cozies up on the sofa with a (very) generous glass of wine after a hard day being the fixer extraordinaire — and the president’s mistress.
Lucky for us and the rest of the Gladiators out there, the set and production designers of “Scandal” — production designer Corey Kaplan, set decorator Barbara Cassel and production assistant Sandie Bailey — are sharing the inside scoop on how they designed the space for Liv so we can recreate it in our own homes.
The key to the space is all about comfort, Kaplan says, “a place where you can take your shoes off and feel safe. We didn’t want the apartment to be large, so Olivia can cocoon in her space.”
This comforting cocoon is achieved by a neutral color palette. The living room walls are painted with Benjamin Moore’s Nantucket Gray, while the sofa, two chairs and bench are upholstered in various shades of white and ivory to mimic Olivia’s wardrobe.
Olivia’s comfy sofa is a custom piece from the Cisco Home furniture line, The Beaumont, but if shelling out dough for custom furniture isn’t in your budget, you can get the look with the Talbot Premier Sofa in Vanilla from La-Z-Boy.
“Don’t think too much when you for your couches,” Kaplan. “Use your gut. Think simple, the accessories will spice up the room — pillow, blanket, standing lamp.”
The amazing architecture of the living room is based on the glamorous El Royale apartments in Los Angeles, a rococo-style building that set the standard for vintage Hollywood architectural elegance and prestige. The designers selected the place because it’s classic, stylish, beautiful and elegant — all words that would also describe Olivia Pope.
Get the look by adding similar architectural elements in your home — arched doorways, a mix of woods and plaster details. The set designers suggest checking out Rejuvenation, Crown City Hardware and vintage salvage yards for carved corbels and other elements to bring in that same feeling.
Pops of color
Relaxing blues accent Olivia’s living room, adding interest without upsetting the dreamy vibe.
The subtle patterns in the drapery and rug add small amounts of color to the room, as do the custom throw pillows.
You can get the look of the teal armchair with the Stratford Chair in Queens Velvet Teal from Ballard Designs and add a bit of color with a Dakotah accent pillow from Wayfair or in a Solid Silk Hand-Loomed Pillow Cover in light pool from West Elm.
Avid watchers of “Scandal” may have noticed that some living room items have changed slightly as the show was filmed on location in season one and moved to a set on season two. One of those items was the coffee table. Designers needed a larger piece that would accommodate Pope’s lifestyle, which often includes a bowl of popcorn and extra-large glass of wine.
Get the look of the coffee table by giving a coat of matte gold paint to the Andrews Coffee Table from Ballard Designs. Just don’t forget to add a heaping bowl of popcorn and large glass of wine on top.
The “Scandal” designers purchased the side tables from Bassman Blaine in the LA Mart, but you can snag a similar look with the Willow Accent Table at Pottery Barn. Top them with the Safavieh Amy Gourd Table Lamps from Walmart to mimic the ones Liv has from the Pasadena Antique Center.
Art and accessories
While the overall look of Olivia’s apartment is clean and simple, carefully curated accessories and personal items pepper the space while abstract paintings in muted colors, like “Orange Trees” by artist Nancy Crawford, decorate the walls.
Books, flowers, and other small objects are used to elevate Pope’s appearance as a sophisticated and well-cultured woman.
Get the look by displaying minimal collected trinkets and pictures on tables and bookcases, or fake the globe-trotter mementos with décor items like the Buddha Bookend Set from Pier 1 Imports or the Tracery Vase from Birch Lane.
Ellen Sturm Niz is an editor and writer living, parenting, and working in New York City. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Google+.