Whether renovating or building a new one, check out these ideas from some of the most beautiful, envy-worthy K-Drama homes
The Korean Wave is far from being over. It has taken the world by storm influencing not only the film and entertainment industries but also the worlds of fashion, beauty, dining and even the way we see our living spaces. Here's a round-up of inspiring Korean drama home interiors you can consider when creating your dream home.
1. The Penthouse: War in Life
Set in Hera Palace—one of the most expensive addresses in South Korea—real estate mogul Joo Dan-tae's (Um Ki-joon) multimillion-dollar penthouse evokes maximalism in every sense of the word. Season one opened with Shin Su-ryeon (Lee Ji-ah), then Joo Dan-tae’s wife, sashaying on a grand staircase illuminated by an imposing crystal chandelier that covers the expanse of the ceiling, backdropped by a sweeping television screen occupying an entire wall. The “penthouse” has a modern feel complete with ambient lights that instantly change the mood of each space in the two-floor, high-ceilinged residence. Simply put, it is a home as if created for the modern-day queen.
Besides Joo Dan-tae and Shim Su-ryeon’s penthouse, the interiors of their affluent neighbours are just as stunning. The residence of the wealthy prima donna who is the epitome of flamboyance and arrogance, Cheon Seo-jin (Kim So-yeon), and her then-husband, the ambitious surgeon Ha Yoon-cheol (Yoon Jong-hoon), comes second next with a home filled with handpainted wallcoverings, flashy metal and velvet furniture pieces, a grand piano and a modern open-layout kitchen. The interiors reflect a contemporary art deco feel throughout.
The Penthouse: War in Life Season 2 premiered in February 2021 with breathtaking revelations and surprises that will keep the audience glued to their seats. In this season, expect more crystal chandeliers, exquisite floral arrangements, more velvet and genuine leather furniture pieces as well as stunning artworks. Plus, Oh Yoon Hee (Eugene) returns with a vengeance this season, occupying her old unit at Hera Palace, this time with divorcee Ha Yoon-cheol as her new husband. Earlier episodes reveal the two moving into an airy, light-filled apartment in refreshing whites and light wood hues.
2. Crash Landing On You
Who could ever forget this phenomenal series set in Korea's opposite sides—the elusive North and the cosmopolitan South. But what struck design aficionados more is the beautifully put-together contemporary apartment of Queen’s Group chaebol and heiress, Yoon Se-ri (Son Ye-jin). The floor-to-ceiling windows give a peek through vibrant interiors that are bold yet inviting. The elongated couch highlights Living Coral, Pantone’s Colour of the Year in 2019, which is also the year when the top-rating series premiered. It is also on this couch where Yoon Se-ri, Captain Ri Jeong Hyeok (Hyun Bin) and his comrades would usually gather for a round of soju, chicken and beer.
What makes Yoon Se-ri’s apartment more interesting is the use of biophilic design—a trend that connects the owners of the home closer to nature through the use of plants, wood and other natural materials. Biophilic design is then seamlessly merged with the apartment’s contemporary appeal to ensure a look that is youthful and current.
3. Guardian: The Lonely and Great God
In this 2016 award-winning series, Gong Yoo played the character of Kim Shin, a 939-year-old immortal goblin and protector of souls who in search of his bride. And while his looks made fans swoon from around the globe, his house in this series is just as captivating. Far the other home interiors seen in Korean dramas (which are mostly Zen or Scandinavian), Kim Shin’s abode makes use of wall arches and cathedral windows that evoke marriage of the past and present—a recurring theme in this blockbuster series. Wood elements are paired with glass fixtures where natural light peeks through. The house is filmed at Unhyeongung Yanggwan or the Unhyeongung Western House, located within the Duksung Women’s University (Jongno Campus), and is now listed under South Korea’s cultural property.
4. My Love From the Star
This series, starred by South Korean heartthrob Kim So-hyun who plays the role of Do Min-joon, an alien who landed on Earth in 1609, and Jun Ji-hyun who plays the role of Cheon Song-yi, a hallyu star, features two envy-worthy apartments. Do Min-joon’s bachelor’s pad highlights a sleek, minimalist living and dining areas and a hidden vintage-style library with two-floor-high bookcases—truly a bookworm’s dream! There’s also an inviting pocket garden where he is seen either reading or stargazing into his personal telescope.
Beside his unit is Cheon Song-yi’s, which depicts a cosmopolitan flat that echoes femininity with curved lines and soft furnishings. There is also that unspoken theme of being the "lady on the moon" with her round tufted bed against an imposing self-portrait in the bedroom. If Do Min-joon has a huge library, Cheon Song-yi has a beautiful walk-in closet stacked with some of the most luxurious bags and shoes in the market.
5. It’s Okay to Not Be Okay
Antisocial book writer Ko Moon-young (Seo Yea-ji)'s lives at the Cursed Castle, her family's decades-old manor amidst the forests of Seongjin. Uninhabited for many years, the manor is dotted with antique furniture, stunning cathedral windows and vintage lighting fixtures. It has that feel of being transported to a fairy tale book, complete with villains on the loose.
Obsessed with male lead Moon Gang-tae (Kim So-hyun), Ko Moon-young tricked Moon Gang-tae's mentally challenged brother Moon Sang-tae (Oh Jung-se) into hiring him as an illustrator for her upcoming book. The deal includes Moon Sang-tae having to reside in the Cursed Castle, which led the two brothers to forcibly live with Ko Moon-young.
Every room in the Cursed Castle has its own story to tell, for its walls bear witness to a past full of secrets. The most stunning part is perhaps the kitchen and dining room, which features a blend of chinoiserie and old European glamour. The study is another striking spot with walls and walls of books and a treasure trove of decorative pieces that echo a vintage charm.
6. Start Up
Are you #TeamGoodBoy or #TeamDoSan? If you belong to the former, then you probably are one of those who envy Han Ji-pyeong's (Kim Seon-ho) flat overlooking the Han River. The bachelor's pad, which comes complete with a state-of-the-art gym and equipped with a smart home system, makes use of art to add oomph to a rather ordinary residence. It also highlights some of the most iconic pieces such as Kartell's Masters chair by the globally renowned designer Philip Starck and the almost three-million-Korean-Won-worth Smeg refrigerator in jet black. What an eligible bachelor, yes?
7. What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim And Secret Garden
Fans of Korean actors Park Seo-joon and Hyun Bin might have noticed the resemblances of the houses they used in two epic Korean dramas: What's Wrong with Secretary Kim? and Secret Garden. While the houses used here are not one and the same, both can be found at the Maiim Vision Village, a sprawling wellness property that consists of several structures, parks and lakes.
Those dreaming of a glasshouse can take their cue from Lee Young-joon's (Park Seo-joon) glass-enclosed modern home amidst lush greenery in What's Wrong with Secretary Kim?. The home is bathed in natural light that peeks through floor-to-ceiling windows. The lines of the home radiate a very masculine vibe: clean, sleek, straightforward.
On the other hand, the house of Secret Garden's lead character Kim Ju-won (Hyun Bin) makes intelligent use of nature as both backdrop and foreground for the 2011 Baeksang Arts Awards Best Drama. Its impeccable white interiors evoke a futuristic ambience perfect for the fantasy rom-com.
8. Record of Youth
In this 2020 Netflix original series, the spotlight goes to the contemporary home of the second lead, Won Hae-hyo (Byeon Woo-seok) who plays alongside lead character Sa Hye-ju (Park Bo-gum). The open-layout loft features high ceiling that lends it an illusion of an even bigger space. The furniture selections are obviously curated from brands across Europe. Soft furnishings are in iconic colours such as Hermès orange and Dior grey.
9. Hyde Jekyll, Me
Enough with chandeliers, sleek lines and vibrant colours. In this 2015 series, the star is the breathtaking indoor garden where lead character Gu Seo-jin/Robin (Hyun Bin) meditates and focuses when he's experiencing episodes of dissociative identity disorder. The garden is definitely a plantita wonderland with some of the most coveted plants and even towering trees—all gown indoors. Also spotted is the Dragnet chair by the legendary Filipino furniture designer, Kenneth Cobonpue.