October 25, 2011

Penny's Apartment | Big Bang Theory

Aniela, a lovely reader from Germany, sent me an email requesting advice on recreating the style of Penny's apartment on Big Bang Theory. 
Here's a snippet from her message:

"I am a fan of the tv show Big Bang Theory and I love the apartment of the character Penny.  The living room is very cheerful and pretty with a lot of brights and I think you will agree her bedroom is absolutely lovely!  I especially adore the Chinese lanterns over the bed.  I wonder how that room manages to have such strong colors in it and yet have a relaxing atmosphere for sleeping?  I would love to copy the style of the apartment, but I worry how to do without making my room look too overcrowded with that "loud" colors."

Aniela, you're right!  Penny's apartment is uber-lovely and it's the perfect type of space to showcase here on Lovely Undergrad.  So I couldn't resist!  Aniela and other fans of Penny's place... here's how to steal her style. ;)

 Penny's living room is a space that any college girl would love to inhabit.  There are lots of ideas to borrow from this set.  Let's start with the color scheme. 
Beige: Despite all the bright colors, there's an abundance of beige that grounds this room.  The walls are a light cream, the floors a light wood, all the furniture a blondish wood finish, and the big area rug a neutral beige.  Having these major parts of the room remain neutral makes it easy to swap brighter colors in and out.  If you're looking to decorate similarly to Penny's apartment, keep the backdrop neutral.  Beige is warm and easy to blend with wood tones, but white and shades of gray work, too.

Green: The next most common color in this room is green.  It's scattered all over the room.  The trim of the area rug, chair, curtains, pillows, plant, dishes, bookcase accessories. This is the main bright color of the room and green works well because it's easy to live with without being neutral.  Green can be bright and fresh, but isn't overzealous or distracting.

Turquoise:  A vintage shade of teal is the main accent color in Penny's living room.  It is incorporated in a large dose by upholstering her couch in the lovely blue-green color.  Besides that, it can be spotted around the room in small details---the tea kettle in the kitchen, a few accessories on the bookshelf, and hints of it beyond the open door to her bedroom.  Turquoise is bright, fun, and on-trend... but like green, it's a calming and comfortable color to bring into a living space.

Orange:  Pops of bold, juicy orange are what really amp up the color factor in this space.  Without orange, the room would lean on the cool side with all its green, blue, and spots of purple.  Orange warms up the room and plays off of the yellow in the beige and wood tones.  However, note that the orange is used strategically and with restraint.  A pillow here, a lampshade there, a water can here, a small accessory there.  Orange is an energetic color that livens up a space, so keep that in mind.  Like injecting energy?  Add more orange.  Prefer to lean on the calm, soothing side?  Use your orange sparingly, but do use its cozy powers to your advantage.

Purple:  Lastly, there's a bit of plum throughout the room.  It's not a bright, vivacious purple by any means... but a subtle, dusky shade of plum.  You can spot it in a few of the throw pillows and on the dining chairs at the back of the room.  Purple compliments the cool tones of the green and blue, contrasts the bright orange, and brings the whole space down to earth.  Since it is a dark, warm shade of purple... it serves as a grounding color like a dark gray or black would.

Let's go back to one of my favorite pieces in Penny's apartment: her turquoise sofa.  Looks familiar, doesn't it?  You might have glimpsed it at Ikea.  That's right---her turquoise sofa is the Klippan loveseat recovered in a teal fabric.

And that funky chair?  It's the Skruvsta Swivel Chair reupholstered in a retro green fabric.

As you can see from the photo above, Penny's place is like many young college-aged women's apartments.  Sometimes it's a little messy and chaotic---overflowing with craft supplies, magazines, clothes, and shoes.  But it's colorful, cheerful, and filled-to-burst with personality.  Look around to see how the space is accessorized.  The art on the walls is pretty eclectic and colorful.  There's a map, several paintings, and several prints.  A few plants bring life into the room.

Let's move on to Penny's bedroom... 
The bedroom uses similar colors as the living room, but amps them up a bit.  The blue and green are brighter.  The orange is bolder.  And splashes of deep red and hot pink take the color scheme up a notch.

Seafoam: The neutral backdrop in Penny's bedroom is a grayish, bluish shade of green.  When the lights are on or sunlight is coming in, the color is crisp and cheerful.  In the dark, it's a bit more gray--- making it calming and quiet.  The following four colors are used almost equally throughout the room...

Aqua:  The bedsheets, vintage dresser, and one of the hanging Chinese lanterns are all this beautiful shade of eye-popping robin's egg blue.

Emerald: Some of the bedding, one of tje nightstands, her curtains, a lantern, a hamper, lots of accessories, and the living room's chair (which she must pull into her room at times) all sport a vibrant grassy, emerald green. 

Tangerine: The comforter, a lantern, and several accessories show off a juicy orange hue.

Red + Pink: And bursts of vibrant pink and deep red can be spotted all over in just the right dosage.

Around Penny's bed is an eclectic collection of personal memorabilia, like any girl's favorite spot.  An eclectic, meaningful array of paintings hang on the wall---including a decorated "P" for Penny.  The nightstands are cluttered with beloved "stuff" like toy animals, a jewelry box, and framed picture. 

The big question about Penny's bedroom?  How does she pull all those random patterns and eclectic accessories together?  Pattern is everywhere.  The curtain next to her bed, the curtain behind her dresser, the comforter, the chair...  And when you really look at the patterns, they're all really quite different.  Look a little closer, and you'll find some similarities that tie 'em together and make it all work.  Even though one curtain is damask, the other vintage-y, and the comforter quilted... they're all florals.  And the tie that binds... color!  Floral and shared color makes the mix-and-matched statement, as opposed to just mixed. 

Ok.  So now you're probably uber-inspired by Penny's lovely quarters, but totally overwhelmed about the thought of mixing and matching color and pattern as it is done in her space?

I've created an inspiration board so you can keep a look out for the right things.
Neutral rugs.  Bright, patterned pillows.  Eclectic, colorful artwork.  Chinese paper lanterns.  Floral curtains.  Brightly colored quilt.  Upholstered headboard.  Vintage furniture to paint a fun color. 

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