Spoiler alert: In this past Sunday’s premiere of Mad Men, Don Draper had his office back after getting booted before the final season's midbreak. Lucky him. (Sorry, Peggy.) We took the chance to reexamine the familiar workspace and talked to set decorator Claudette Didul about how a person in the contemporary world might recreate it. Didul has worked on the show since season four, when Don's now-iconic digs at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce first made their appearance. (The office is so famous on its own, it's actually the star of an exhibition at the Museum of Moving Image right now.)
Below, Didul shares with us her secrets of achieving Don's perfectly timeless—and functional—workspace.
In season 6, Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm) stretches out on his mid-century modern sofa between a pair of blue glazed ceramic lamps—the most expensive props bought outright.
1. Turn Up the Lights
Quick guess what the most expensive thing bought for Don's office? Is it that clean-lined, peek-a-boo coffee table, the abstract paintings on the wall, or the midcentury modern sofa?
Trick question: All those were rented from L.A.'s warehouse of dreams, Omega | Cinema Props. In fact, more than half the items on the set were.
But of the things Didul bought outright, it's the blue pearlized glazed ceramic lamps (“from a lovely man in Chicago”) that were the priciest. She considers them a steal at $1,000 for the pair—in Manhattan they would have been four or five times as much.
Lighting is so essential to setting a mood you shouldn't skimp, she reasons.
“It’s amazing what you can do with a lamp,” says Didul, especially when it helps avoid the sickly florescent glow of commercial drop-ceilings.
Don’s Fase desk lamp came from Spain via eBay and makes a showpiece statement.