RuPaul's anti-minimalist living room is an ode to a 1940s design icon – and it's surprisingly replicable

Designed by Martyn Lawrence Bullard, the room epitomizes Hollywood Regency in a fresh, contemporary way

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Vintage furniture enthusiasts are likely no strangers to Dorothy Draper's unmistakable anti-minimalist aesthetic – often rooted in large prints and vibrant colors that tap into the 'Hollywood Regency' style. 

This look may be synonymous with the late 30s and 40s (the time when Dorothy Draper established herself as a celebrity designer in her own right), but it's timeless enough to impress long into the twenty-first century – starting with RuPaul's living room.

'RuPaul's living room is an ode to the great Lady Decorators of the 1930s and 40s, particularly Dorothy Draper, whose high glam style translated so well into this dramatic space,' comments designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard. Martyn, the designer responsible for RuPaul's Beverly Hills mansion, curated an Art Deco haven that pays homage to history but inspires in the contemporary day. 

Martyn added 18-foot metal arched windows to design a Dorothy Draper-inspired space with 'full drama and an explosion of natural light.' He dressed the windows in his Tangier weave, designed for The Shade Store, and constructed the fireplace using plaster-dipped rope swags to decorate the built-in mirror panel.

'The chinoiserie style emerald lacquer cabinets hold a collection of orange ware porcelain and are balanced by the Elsie De Wolfe slipper chairs covered in a Tony Duquette malachite fabric,' Martyn explains.

'My own Stevie Mac rug designed for The Rug Company covers the floor, and a pair of Amethyst stone pedestals hold vintage brass and Murano glass lamps from the 1950s. High glamour design for a high glamour (and very fun) client.'

Interior Designer
Martyn Lawrence Bullard
Interior Designer
Martyn Lawrence Bullard

Martyn is a world-class talent and the largest award-winning designer and author based in Los Angeles. He is known for his trademark glamour and flair for the exotic as he curates sophisticated and inviting interiors for Hollywood A-listers and global glitterati, including Kendall Jenner, Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Tommy Hilfiger, Cher, Ellen Pompeo, and Eva Mendes, to name a few.

In Dorothy Draper-inspired style, Martyn has incorporated large geometric prints (in the form of the rug) and pockets of color via the turquoise, emerald, and purple furnishings. Despite its anti-minimalist aesthetic, however, Martyn has used a white base that grounds the entire living room and acts as a neutral base that allows the colorful pieces to make an unrivaled statement. 

This white canvas reminds us that it's surprisingly simple to follow RuPaul and tap into the Hollywood Regency look (even if it is on a small scale). The secret, North Carolina-based designer Jayson Parker explains, is having a timeless white base that allows our prints and colors to take center stage. 

Art Deco living room decor

(Image credit: Future)

'White is an incredibly versatile color that will never go out of style and provides the most versatile palette. I especially love to use this color in large spaces, like living rooms, where it provides a neutral backdrop to a vast range of styles and designs,' he says.

'The hue has always evoked a sense of openness in a room; however, I have been increasingly playing with shades, textures, and undertones of white to evoke subtle differences in the emotion of a space as your eye moves throughout the room,' he explains.

For a bold white living room [like RuPaul's], layer saturated colors in the main furniture pieces (sofas, sectionals, chairs) and play with patterns in the accents, such as pillows, chairs, and rugs.'

For a failsafe starting point, we're picking up these RuPaul-inspired buys below. 

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.