Behind the Scenes Secrets From the Set of 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel'

The set decorator behind the Golden Globe-winning show spills all her secrets.

marvelous mrs maisel decor ideas
Design: Jessica Mattern
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Ellen Christiansen, the design brains behind the Golden Globe-winning show set in the 1950s, dishes on wallpaper, period pieces, and (of course) Pyrex.

1. Ellen hoards magazines, Pyrex pieces, and Smeg appliances to feature on the show. "The 1957 Harper’s Bazaar was a good reference for the cosmetics department at B. Altman (where lead character Midge goes to work)," she says. "Midge collects pink cookware, including Pink Daisy Pyrex."

marvelous mrs maisel - pyrex
Courtesy of 1StopRetroShop.com

Vintage Pyrex (Starting at $15, )

2. Her #1 design mantra is "mix-it-up." The principle applies to decorating any place, whether it's the Mrs. Maisel set or a real-life home. "Mixing periods is like mixing personalities at a party—the more the merrier, as long as it's harmonious," she says. "Choosing pieces you love from any period will help to start the conversation."

marvelous mrs maisel - ellen christiansen
Mark Pollard

3. All the fabrics and materials on the show come from all over the country. "The Brimfield Antique Show is the best for a broad range [of items]," she says. "Online shopping can be useful, but those serendipitous finds in thrift stores are more exciting. I found great fabric rescued from a department store while visiting family in Minneapolis."

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4. Her greatest source of inspiration may surprise you: "The characters. And fabric stores give me ideas for colors and textures that will help tell their stories."

marvelous mrs maisel
Courtesy of Amazon Prime Video

5. Those department store lockers—and most of the furniture—came from unusual places. In fact, many of the items in the B.Altman break room came from a decommissioned army base.

marvelous mrs maisel
Courtesy of Amazon Prime Video

6. The show is all about stylish nostalgia—not retro kitsch. Ellen and the rest of the team worked tirelessly to ensure everything looked elegant, not tacky, by relying on timeless pieces. "Bill Groom, the show’s production designer, talks about having period-appropriate furnishings but not necessarily 'modern' to the show’s era—classics that still feel collected over time," she says. Case in point: You'll find wallpaper in Midge's parents' foyer and in Plaster Pink in her childhood bedroom "We used vintage rolls from and in the Maisel apartment," Ellen says.


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