A visual journey across "The Queen's Gambit" wallpapers

A visual journey across "The Queen's Gambit" wallpapers

It’s simply impossible to talk about this series without mentioning the role played by wallpaper. It provides such a dominant feature in both the home of Beth’s adoptive mother and in all the locations her prodigious chess talent takes her that one cannot help feeling the various models are part of the cast.

Based on Walter Tevis's 1983 novel of the same name and set in the Cold War era, the limited Netflix series "The Queen's Gambit" follows Beth Harmon's ascent from a Kentucky orphanage to becoming a world-renowned chess champion, while grappling with personal demons and substance abuse. The interiors play a pivotal role in the series, as they are meticulously crafted to reflect the period's aesthetic and underscore Beth’s psychological and emotional development.
The distinctive wallpapers not only anchor the backstory in its time but also serve as visual metaphors for Beth's internal journey, marking the series as a masterpiece of storytelling and visual artistry. From the floral 1950s patterns to the geometric motifs and ubiquitous pink plaids of Beth’s Kentucky home to the iconic blue-green and brown diamond shapes in her hotel room in Las Vegas, the use of wallpaper transcends mere decoration, evolving into a powerful narrative tool. Each setting, each episode features distinctive wallpapers, taking the viewer on a journey to increasingly exotic locations and making it difficult to believe that the entire series, with the exception of Beth’s home in Lexington, was filmed in Berlin, Germany.

A visual journey across the history of wallpapers featured in each episode

Episode 2 – Beth’s home in Lexington

The transition from the cold, uninspiring walls of the orphanage depicted in the first episode to the detailed, pattern-rich wallpapers of her adoptive home marks Beth's entrance into a world of complexity and adulthood. The Wheatley’s modest home in Kensington features a cornucopia of wall décor.

© Netflix

The first wallpaper we see appears as Beth enters her new home for the first time. Featuring a repetitive floral pattern, set within a diamond-shaped outline, a muted colour palette with soft greens and yellows, it creates a vintage feel that immediately anchors the scene in the late 50s era.

© Netflix

We walk up to Beth’s room to admire a wallpaper with a large gingham pattern in a dusty pink hue which covers all walls, creating an enveloping effect. It’s a traditional, feminine, almost childish motif that feels a little overwhelming. It symbolises both the care her adoptive mother put into designing it and the expectation for traditional gender roles.

© Netflix

In stark contrast to the geometric linearity of Beth’s room, the bedroom of Mrs Wheatley features a busy, almost chaotic floral pattern with a light colour scheme. A traditional and conservative design, typical of the 1950s, it indicates her attempt to cultivate a conventional atmosphere in her home, despite the reality of her substance abuse and failing marriage.

Episode 3 - Cincinnati and Las Vegas

© Netflix

With its honeycomb design in a muted colour palette, the mid-century geometric pattern wallpaper in Beth’s hotel room in Cincinnati is period-specific and conservative. It instils in the viewer the perception that, while providing all the amenities, the hotel is definitely not upscale. It’s Beth’s first tournament, the beginning of a journey that will take her from a provincial setting to the world’s most exclusive locations, and the subdued tone of the wall décor aptly reflects this message.

© Netflix

Perhaps the most iconic and celebrated wallpaper in the show, the striking geometric diamond pattern on display in Beth’s Las Vegas room conveys a sense of bold modernity that mirrors the energy and glamour of Las Vegas. Featuring interlocking diamonds in a deep teal shade, this wallpaper creates an edgy and sophisticated aesthetic that perfectly reflects the high-stakes atmosphere of the tournament and Beth’s emotions as she deals with the pressures of her newfound fame.

Episode 4 - Back in Lexington and on to Mexico City

© Netflix

The distinctly bohemian and psychedelic aesthetic of this wallpaper, a swirling floral pattern displaying dense foliage in dark shades of red and brown, is a clear homage to the counterculture movement. It tells the viewer that a new era is coming and mirrors Beth’s journey into adulthood.

© Netflix

Back on the road, we follow Beth and her mother to her first tournament abroad. Their Mexico City room is a stark contrast to the Cincinnati hotel: the embossed anaglypta wallpaper boasts a rich design that adds a layer of depth and luxury to the scene. It fits perfectly with the exoticism of Beth's first tournament abroad as she enters a new, more exclusive and luxurious chapter of her life. The choice of deep red also imbues the room with a sense of sensuality, setting the scene for her mother’s affair.

Episode 6 - A renovated home in Lexington and on to Paris

© Netflix

We come back to Lexington to discover that, after her mother’s untimely death in Mexico, Beth, now sole owner of the house, has replaced the old wallpaper. The model we now see showcases a significant shift in design: the pattern is a modern, abstract array of geometric shapes and squares with varying shades of pink, brown, and beige, creating a fragmented aesthetic. The design is reminiscent of the Op Art movement, which plays with visual perception, echoing Beth's complex mental state.

© Netflix

We travel on to the Paris Invitational, the apex of chess tournaments, and the décor in Beth’s luxurious hotel clearly reflect this. The floral wallpaper featuring an elaborate scrollwork in a tonal colour scheme that suggests depth and texture creates a feeling of grandeur, setting a lavish stage that represents Beth's ascent into the world of elite chess.

Episode 7 - Moscow

© Netflix

A typical mid-20th-century design, reflecting the modernist influences of the time, the angular and geometric wallpaper in Beth's Moscow hotel room consists of a series of interconnected lines forming a maze-like structure with an array of squares and rectangles. The colour palette is muted, suggesting a sense of solemnity and austerity associated with the USSR. The geometric pattern against this palette creates a feeling of order, reflecting the narrative tension as she competes in a politically charged climate.

How do I replicate the interiors of “The Queen’s Gambit” in my home?

If the wallpapers featured in this series makes you want to recreate these incredible looks, we have put together a selection of models that can help you to achieve your goals.

Beth’s house in Lexington

To recreate the time-capsule aesthetic of Beth's house, you'll want to channel the Mid-Century Modern décor with a subtle blend of 1960s vibrance and some classic touches. For the living room and staircase area, a console table, ideally in a dark wood finish, is a good fit for these wallpapers. Accessorise with a vintage telephone and a classic table lamp with a brass base and a soft-coloured lampshade.

To recreate Beth’s bedroom, look for mid-century pieces, like a simple white writing desk and a classic wooden bed frame. Add vintage-style bedding, perhaps with a floral pattern or in soft pastel colours and look for period-appropriate accessories, like a retro alarm clock, and perhaps a classic chess set as a nod to Beth's passion. If your tastes lean more towards Beth’s mother bedroom style, simply go for classic pieces like an antique-style dressing table with a large mirror and maybe a comfortable, upholstered armchair in a corner for reading or relaxing. Add some antique picture frames and a vintage lamp to add to the room's classic feel.

Las Vegas and Mexico City

If you aim to capture the modernist, funky and somewhat ostentatious spirit of Beth’s hotel room in Las Vegas, select vintage furniture pieces with clean lines that feel modern yet luxurious, like a velvet headboard, mirrored side tables, and a Mid-Century Modern desk. Incorporate a luxurious velvety throw blanket and shimmery gold cushions, and some artwork that features bold geometric designs.

However, if it’s the Mexico City hotel that appealed to your imagination, you want to look for a warm and earthy colour palette with terracotta, mustard, and green. A carved wooden headboard and a vintage writing desk are good picks, but the lighting is key. You want to have soft, warm indirect lights, maybe with lampshades in coloured glass.

Beth’s friends’ home in Lexington

To replicate the 1960s counter-culture flower-power design seen in the home of Beth's friends back in Lexington, you need to blend bohemian and Mid-Century Modern elements with a touch of psychedelic flair.
Incorporate a mix of textures, e.g. with a velvet sofa, rattan chairs, and a shag rug to create a cosy, eclectic vibe and use plenty of throw pillows and floor cushions for casual seating. Lava lamps and beaded lampshades are also a fabulous match. In terms of accessories, consider vinyl records and vintage concert posters from the 60s.

Paris and Moscow

The opulent look of the hotel where the Paris Invitational takes place requires a hefty dose of rich golds, bronzes, and deep reds. Classic French or baroque-style furniture pieces are a good start, while in terms of lighting you can opt for ornate wall sconces and warm, diffused light sources to create a soft and inviting glow. A large, gold-framed mirror will reflect light and add depth and a sense of spaciousness.
If instead you are captivated by Beth’s more austere Moscow room, you need to aim for a sophisticated, Mid-Century Modern style with a Soviet touch, using a palette of muted browns, beiges, and creams with accents of dark wood, period furniture and perhaps a vintage telephone and/or alarm clock.

Customer tributes: spaces inspired by “The Queen’s Gambit”

If you wish to recreate the looks described above, why not let customers like yourself who designed rooms based on “The Queen’s Gambit” aesthetic inspire you?