During a recent rainy fall weekend I re-watched the 2009 indie hit 500 Days of Summer starring Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon Levitt. Now that I am in full fledged furnish my new home mode (more to come on that later); I was impressed with how the film used apartment design and decor to amplify the subtleties of the two main characters.
The film is bathed in an appreciation of all-things quirky and vintage but without being too contrived or “thrift shoppy”. This is no more evident then in the apartments of the two main characters Tom Hanson and Summer Finn. Searches for ‘Apartments from 500 Days of Summer’ or ‘Summer Finn Apartment’ yield tens of thousands of results on Google, and that’s because these two homes have some really unique and striking design elements that could be easily replicated.
Here are some of our favorite design items from 500 Days of Summer:
Tom’s Chalkboard Wall + Headboard
The staple of Tom’s bedroom and the central part of one of the coolest montages in the film is the huge chalkboard wall he has behind his bed. Tom uses his talent for drawing to the fullest by drawing a headboard and using the wall as a canvas for his drawings that serve as the inspiration for his return to architecture. Seeing how I can’t draw at all, I would use the chalkboard to pen inspirational daily quotes, to-do-lists and even intersperse posters and cool art throughout.
You could achieve the chalkboard wall look fairly easily by purchasing some high quality chalkboard paint from your local hardware store.
Pops of Color and Wallpaper
Contrary to Tom’s apartment, Summer’s home is full of energetic blues and refreshing white colors throughout that really open up the space. While the fictional character has great taste in colors, the real tour de force here is the unusual and bold blue toile wallpaper you see throughout the home. According to Casa Sugar, “French toile patterns date back to the 17th century, and they saw a rejuvenation in popularity about 10 years ago, when an antique or country look in interiors became popular.”
While blue wallpaper may be a bit much for most spaces, consider the impact it would have as an accent wall or as a companion piece to accentuate otherwise muted pieces, like duvets, pillowcases or even curtains. Ikea (a favorite hangout from the film) has a very similar duvet cover set.
Lights as Decorations
From her clothes to the color on her walls, Zooey Deschanel’s character in the film has an infatuation with the color blue (so do we!), and she ties it all together in her bedroom by tying funky but understated blue lights around the head of her wrought iron antique bed frame.
In the famous “Reality vs. Expectations” scene towards the end of the film, we see an expert use of ambient lights and lanterns on her roofdeck to set the right atmosphere. While the rooftop lights look great during the day, they look even more magical during the night. How would you use lanterns and lights inside and outside (backyard/patio/roof) to set a festive and relaxing ambiance?
These ’500 Days of Summer’ inspired design ideas can be achieved for little investment and can be implemented on your own for the most part. The philosophy behind the decor from the film seems to be one rooted in a vintage aesthetic powered by what speaks to you most. For example, if you’re really into literature or art, find cool ways to pull aspects of your favorite story into your decor somehow; like how Summer has an old top hat on her coffee table with an apple on it as an homage to her favorite painting from René Magritte.