Set Decorating My First Talk Show


This is the story of how I walked on to a new set thinking I was a Production Assistant and left having Decorated my first Talk Show ( talk about a heck of a night! ). This happened just a few Fridays ago, when I had stupidly booked myself on two separate gigs in one day ( what the heck was I getting myself into? ).

I feel the need to share yet another win I had that very same day. The first set that I worked on that day was a Short Film that I had worked on for the two days prior as a Art Department Assistant. The Art Department that I was working with was amazing, we all worked so seamlessly together. Trust me, that almost never happens! Anyways, I must have impressed the Designer somewhat because I left that set that day having been promoted to Art Director for the remaining week of that Film ( yay! ).

So now that I had already worked 8 hours on that set, I was heading to my first Talk Show to work as an Art Department Assistant ( or so I thought ). I arrived, never having worked with anyone on this crew before, ready to be set to work. Typically as an Assistant, I am there simply as a helping hand to the mastermind of the Design or the Decorator. I was expecting to implement someone else’s ideas. So you can imagine just how far my eyes bugged out of my head when I was walked into the studio by a Producer that was essentially telling me “Here are 4 boxes of decorations and props….. Have at it!”


After a quick moment of, “Well this is new! What do I do?” I thought to myself “Thank goodness this is what I do best”. I was like a kid in a candy store! No, even better. I was like a kid at Disneyland ( minus the tears of joy of course ). The items that were in the 4 boxes were as follows:

  • 2 Tablecloths
  • 5 Picture Frames
  • 4 Topiary Plants
  • 4 Vases of Fake Flowers
  • 2 Real Flower Pots
  • 5 Table Runners
  • 2 Round Bowls
  • 1 Heart-Shaped Bowl
  • 1 Box of Silver Ornaments
  • 4 Coffee Mugs
  • 4 Water Glasses
  • 5 Coasters
  • 2 Placemats
  • 2 Fake Rabbits In A Cage
  • 2 Yellow Ducks
  • 3 Pink Easter Baskets
  • 4 Bags of Plastic Easter Eggs

Clearly, this was an Easter themed episode!

Other furniture available for my use:

  • 3 Small Tables
  • 2 Large Tables
  • 4 Stools

As for the general layout of the studio when I arrived, there were two spaces for filming designated by rolled out carpet flooring in opposite corners. Each of these carpeted areas was surrounded by some beautiful drapes that had already been hung by someone on the crew. I had what is called a shot list that was essentially the order of how the 2 episodes we were there for were going to be filmed, segment by segment. So I knew ahead of time how many guests were going to be on the set at any given moment and could set up the next segment accordingly. This shot list also gave me insight into why there were 2 separate spaces for filming. This episode in particular, being Easter themed, was to feature live bunnies and their handlers. So the “bunny play area” was to be set up in one of the carpeted areas. In terms of set up of the main set, I knew from a previous episode that the host liked to have the larger tables in the background as simply a decorative detail, not for function. With all of this info in hand, I set right to work!

SMXLOnce the two large tables were placed, I covered them with the 2 table clothes. I folded the clothes in a way that they would not hang down around the table unattractively and taped them under so they would not move. I separated the items that I had two of so that I could decorate these tables symmetrically ( minus the placemats that I used elsewhere and one of the Easter baskets, they were bright and two were enough ). Here is how these tables turned out ( before I taped the tablecloth ).


I apologize about my shadow, if you’ve ever worked with studio lighting you will understand! Also, when I took these pictures, I had no idea I would be blogging about the experience. I actually took these pictures for continuity, just in case they hired me on again and I could somewhat replicate my ideas.

On the tables, you will see how I utilized the Easter eggs and silver ornaments. Putting either option in a bowl by itself, would have appeared to be too much and overstated. So instead I combined the two options in hopes that they would compliment each other. Goal accomplished? I think so.

As for the final look of the set, the picture below will show you the result. The larger of the tables acted as a somewhat background to the hosts and co host. Those were actually the only parts of the set, TV and podium included, that did not move throughout the episode as guests were brought out for their segments. I provided three of the stools, two for the hosts and one for the first guest. I finished the set off with a small table that acted as a coffee table so the hosts and guest could have their beverages at arms length. Added a few coasters, a decorative place mat, and a few colorful Easter eggs and the first setup was done! For that coffee table I figured less was more and at the same time I wanted to tie in the theme of the episode, Easter.


The second carpeted area was to be utilized by the “bunny play are” as mentioned above. Therefore, the majority of the space was going to be taken up by the cages, so I really did not have to do much in the space in terms of set. Note the two small tables that are also simply acting as a decorative feature and are not for any sort of functional use for the episode. I set each table with a pot of beautiful flowers, a picture frame and a rectangular potted plant. One look at it once I was done told me it needed something else. It simply looked bare and plain. So I added a beige table runner to both tables. This helped to focus the audience’s eyes, not only on the items on top of each table, but also on the rabbit handlers because of the way they were pointing towards the center of the set in a way. I added a chair in the middle for comfort and this area was completed!


If you recall, I mentioned that throughout the episode, different segments had different setups. Here is an example of one of those segments. Essentially, this part of the episode was geared towards fun and easy Easter crafts for kids. The guest for this segments was going to provide all of the supplies for two crafts and simply needed two different sections on a table to set them up. All that I did was used two bright table runners to distinguish the two sections and separated them with a couple small plants and and an Easter basket filled with the silver ornaments and colorful eggs to bring the theme of the episode onto the table.


Have any of these items caught your eye? Thinking of buying some of them for yourself? Here is where you can find some similar items!

Similar to the wooden vases from the main set:

Similar to the small white vase on the main set:

The exact place mat used on the main set:

Similar to the place mat:

Similar to the white stools:

Similar to the table runners:


Similar to the small rectangular planter:



I would love to hear your thoughts on how the set turned out!
Feel free to share in the comments below.

Happy Decorating

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