An iconic trend from the 1980s has been making a comeback in recent years. You might hear the 80s and think “Oh boy! That sounds over the top.” We are here to calm your nerves about this comeback – with a modern flare, design inspiration from the 80s can actually be quite dreamy. One of our favorite examples of this style is Blanche Devereaux’s house from The Golden Girls. If we were to pick favorites, we might even go so far as to say Blanche’s bedroom specifically is top of that list.
If you aren’t familiar with The Golden Girls, here’s a brief overview: The American sitcom first aired in 1985 and due to its success continued on for seven years spanning 180 episodes. According to Good Housekeeping, the season finale was the 16th-most-watched TV series finale of all time. It received national attention and won several awards, including an Emmy and three Golden Globes. Each star received an Emmy, and it is only one of four shows to ever achieve this kind of success. The four main characters Rose Nylund (Betty White), Dorothy Zbornak (Bea Arthur), Blanche Devereaux (Rue McLanahan), and Sophia Petrillo (Estelle Getty) share a home in Miami, Florida. Originally, White was going to star as Blanche, but the director of the show suggested White and McLanahan switch places, resulting in White playing Rose. If you don’t recognize these names, a quick Google search should clear that up. The premise focuses on the four single women (three widows and one divorcée) all living together in Blanche’s glam house after responding to a bulletin board ad. After just one episode, you will quickly realize they are having the time of their lives living together. Apparently they ate over 100 cheesecakes on the show, despite one of the leading actresses allegedly detesting cheesecake. Sounds like a compelling plot line, right? Cue binge watching it immediately.
What was above Blanche’s bed?
You may have inferred from our mention of Blanche’s home and bedroom that The Golden Girls wasn’t just an award-winning TV show, but it also played an important part in the shaping of interior design and home decor trends. What’s even more remarkable is that almost 40 years later, this could not be more true. We are still drawing inspiration for our homes from the designs used on set.
Let’s hone in on Blanche’s bedroom. Initially it might feel like your eyes are playing tricks on you when seeing Blanche’s room with the iconic green banana leaf print on both the bedspread and wall. According to a House Beautiful article, Blanche’s bedding was so coveted that it needed its own security detail. The wall is actually covered in wallpaper with palm leaves, taking the place of a traditional headboard. Rumor has it each leaf was cut out by hand and then pasted to the wall because there wasn’t a headboard included in the set design. Her room is quite literally banana leaf everything!
The banana leaf motif, known as the iconic Martinique, that’s seen throughout Blanche Devereaux’s bedroom is a design staple. It was created by CW Stockwell’s in 1942 after the then company president, Lucile Chatain and her husband Remy, returned from vacation in the South Seas. They had the vision to recreate not just the rich visual landscapes in the tropics, but also the sense of lushness and exuberance they experienced. With the help of a close friend and noted illustrator and textile designer, Albert Stockdale, the iconic Martinique pattern was born.
The pattern quickly made its way into some of the most coveted spaces in the US, including The Beverly Hills Hotel. In the late-1940s, Don Loper, a well-known interior designer, was tasked with the Beverly Hills Hotel redesign. Upon entering CW Stockwell’s showroom, he knew he’d found exactly what he wanted. Today, the hotel is still covered in this bold and vibrant wallpaper that has become one of the most recognized patterns in the world. Given the Martinique print’s exquisite history, it should come as no surprise that The Golden Girls chose to outfit Blanche’s bedroom with this pattern.
The Boho Blanche and 80’s look
Blanche was a maximalist to say the least. Her style is vibrant and bold with a boho flare.
Maybe the rose colored pink and various pastel hues of green seem a little, shall we say, retro? Luckily there are some modern takes on the famous Golden Girls look that have interior designers swooning.
Today, we recommend using Blanche’s style as inspiration for a Maximalist Glam interior. It’d also be the perfect way to introduce Palm Springs style into your home to create a tropical oasis feel. Luckily, it’s not too difficult to channel your inner Golden Girls by choosing a banana leaf patterned bed. This can replace Blanche’s painted headboard (or perhaps we should be calling it wall art) for a streamlined but just as bold look.
Aside from the inclusion of a big, bold pattern, rattan was one of Blanche’s favorite styles to pull into her house. Fortunately, rattan pairs nicely with many styles, from modern to traditional. While it can really go anywhere in your house, we think rattan side tables look perfect in a living room. You can even opt for a rattan coffee table like Blanche did.
Where is Blanche’s room?
If you’re hoping to find The Golden Girls house via Google Maps on your next trip to Miami, we have some unfortunate news for you. While the house was supposedly located at 6151 Richmond Street in Miami, FL, that address actually doesn’t exist. During season one, all of the exterior shots of the house were filmed at a real address located in Brentwood, CA but the rest of the show was done on set at Hollywood Studios. The house in Brentwood just sold last year for a reported $4 million, far above the asking price, due to the high interest in the famous exterior.
Eager to learn more about The Golden Girls, even if you’ve already seen all 180 episodes? Check out Jim Colucci’s book Golden Girls Forever: An Unauthorized Look Behind the Lanai, which includes exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes stores.