Design Lessons learned from Natalie Portman's Jackie and the 60s White House

Can anyone do an all-white interior better?

 jackie film natalie portman in living room

photography by FOX SEARCHLIGHT


The world is anxiously awaiting Friday’s release of Jackie, the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis biopic set in the harrowing days following her husband’s death. The film’s lush interpretation of the era is worth noting—if you aren’t caught up in the breathless wonder of seeing Natalie Portman receive her next Academy nod.

jackie film natalie portman in floral chair

photography by FOX SEARCHLIGHT


Here’s a peek at the interiors featured in the film. What we’re loving: floor-to-ceiling bookcases full of colorful spines, dark furniture against stark white walls, and the mix of vintage furniture that has us seriously swooning.

 jackie movie natalie portman cigarette

photography by FOX SEARCHLIGHT


Historically, Kennedy is responsible for a massive White House restoration. When the Kennedy family moved in, she realized many of the furnishings were period facsimiles, and she (along with her well-connected colleagues) set out to replace them with original and historic antiques.

She transformed America’s home, once covered in navy, maroon, and green, into a sunny, open space. The first lady maintained the stately design sensibility, of course, but some walls were painted white, draperies became less heavy, and rooms were reorganized with hosting in mind.

While we realize you don’t live in the White House—but hey, dream big!—here are elements of stylish first lady’s iconic style that you can implement into any space:

1. Vignettes foster conversation.
In previous administrations, sofas and chairs once lined the Red Room. Kennedy and designer Sister Parish pulled the furniture to the middle of the room, creating vignettes that are better for conversation. In addition, the Yellow Room, once a study, was transformed into a similarly-designed sitting room.  

2. Natural light can change everything.
In the East Sitting Hall, Kennedy chose to do away with heavy draperies. Instead, she installed airy blue shades, which allowed natural light to stream through and totally open up the space.

3. Limited color palettes are key.
In the Lincoln Bedroom, Kennedy maintained a limited selection of colors; namely stark white and deep, stained wood. Because few colors are featured, the contrast really sings.

4. Murals make a stylish statement.
Kennedy transformed a former family room into a private dining room, covering the walls with antique mural wallpaper. Murals are a dramatic, eye-catching way to update a more formal space.

5. Gallery walls are always a good idea.
Often times, people assume you must hang a massive piece of art above a mantlepiece. However, an open wall space might be better suited for a gallery. If the scale is correct, a gallery is a stylish and simple alternative to a large-scale painting or print. In Kennedy’s Master Bedroom, she hung a symmetrical gallery wall above the fireplace for a diverse display that pulls hues from the room’s chosen palette.

 jackie movie still

photography by FOX SEARCHLIGHT


We look forward to seeing the film’s treatment of her White House revamp. If the Pablo Larraín film is half as beautiful as the trailer, we’ll be satisfied. Jackie comes to theaters December 2.


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