Podcast, Ep. 176: set designer Beth Kushnick

Set decorator Beth Kushnick talks about decorating your favorite movie and TV sets and how we can apply those tips to your own home

Our guest this week, Beth Kushnick, has decorated sets from some of your favorite films and TV shows including The Good Wife, Jumanji, and Anchorman 2 just to name a few. She joins the show to share what exactly a Set Decorator does, and how she started as an art lover in New York to compose visuals for the top sets in the entertainment industry. Beth also geeks out with us about lighting, picking the perfect colors, and her biggest pet peeve in set decoration. Beth also is the host of the podcast, Decorating the Set: From Hollywood To Your Home.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • The difference between decorating for a TV series versus in movies.
  • How Beth started in theater with design and painting and got led to set design for movies and television.
  • Why you should be on the lookout for the little “easter eggs” in movies and TV, a clever gift from the crew!
  • How Beth designs perfectly for each character and makes the sets seem realistic to their personality.
  • Why you won’t see black drywall screws anywhere near one of Beth’s sets!
  • Artwork is so important to the set, and Beth explains how she finds appropriately themed artwork for each production.
  • Beth explains the decisions on picking a color to make the actors look good and bring out their best features.
  • The nuance of paint and why natural colors are so classic.
  • Beth gets super jazzed about lighting and shares what she uses to honor the set design by using practicals for lighting.

Decorating Dilemma

Hello ladies,

I am a 25-year-old graphic designer and my boyfriend, and I purchased our first home. It’s a 1959 ranch. We painted the walls Agreeable Gray by Sherwin Williams, and we ripped up disgusting carpet and refinished our oak floors.

Overall, I think it has come together nicely for the first phase of our life here, but after listening to the podcast there are certain pain points that are bothering me.

1) The dining room – we are currently looking for a light fixture that isn’t brass. We love the idea of silver accents. My boyfriend fell in love with this farmhouse and table and chair set, so that we included that (not my fav but we have to compromise sometimes). I purchased a 6’x9’ Ballard Designs sea grass rug for the space as well.

My question for this space – how can I add more storage in this space for linens, extra dishes, with such a tight space?

My first thought was to add a cabinet a few feet away in the living space that would store these kinds of items and contain our awful WiFi router. 

My second thought was to save up for a console table with storage for the “entry way” underneath my mirror. I think this console table and the lamps look a little off with the more style I’m going for (I love the feminine, southern, traditional style seen in Betsy Mosby and Alexandra Kaehler’s style – Karen I also love your dining room!) Do you have any thoughts on how to add this storage or how to make the pain points look, for the lack of a better term, better?

Also, there are random wall plates that aren’t switched out, etc. – we’re currently in the middle of a rewire so it’s kind of a disaster.

Thank you so much!

Amber

Thank you so much for writing in! So, we think you have more space than you think you do. Beth agrees with you that the entry-way can turn into a small cabinet, and you could possibly move it back to create more storage space. This would then help you dress the window behind the cabinet, lending to you to some interesting color options. In this circumstance, the tape measurer will be your best friend, especially when it comes to depth. We would go as big as possible which could be your buffet, and you can add lamps and candles for some great lighting options. A funky chair facing the sofa to ground the sofa would be great.

Mentioned in This Episode:

Please send in your questions so we can answer them on our next episode! And of course, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes so you never miss an episode. You can always check back here to see new episodes, but if you subscribe, it’ll automatically download to your phone.

Happy Decorating!

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Caroline McDonald

Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.

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  1. Avatar
    Reply

    D Dwyer

    December 23, 2020

    Hi ladies,
    I love listening to your weekly podcast and have learned so much from them. My comment is regarding the new introduction. For my own personal opinion I prefer the old way. For me it is much more personal and authentic. Just thought I would share my thoughts, ( don’t change what already works)
    Best regards ladies and stay well!
    🥰🥰🥰

    • Caroline McDonald
      Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      January 4, 2021

      Thank you, D. So glad you enjoyed the show. We’ll considering changing up the introduction!

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