According to IndieWire, the famous modern house in the movie "Parasite" was actually a custom-built set and not a real family home. "I’m not an architect, and I think there’s a difference in how an architect envisions a space and how a production designer does," said the film’s production designer, Lee Ha Jun. "We prioritize blocking and camera angles while architects build spaces for people to actually live in and thus design around people. So I think the approach is very different."
Luckily, the shots of "Parasite" are very natural, as they show off both the home and the story unfolding within it. This combination won the film six Academy Awards, including best picture and best production design. If you would like to recreate the famous "Parasite" mansion at home, you don’t need to have the budget of an Oscar-winning film to do so. Here are the best ways to bring "Parasite" to life.
Embrace an overall modern aesthetic
When recreating "Parasite" at home, you want to start by leaning into an overall modern design aesthetic. To do this, there are a few key characteristics of the style to follow. According to K Hovnanian Homes, the first thing is to realize that there is a difference between a modern home and a contemporary home. Modern is a specific type of home design made popular in the mid-20th century. Modern homes emphasize function instead of design; however, they tend to work hand in hand with the landscape surrounding them, often reflecting them back onto the structure. This is key: The home in "Parasite" is modern, as the gardens around the structure flow seamlessly into the main house.
Contemporary homes, on the other hand, just refer to the styling that is popular in the current time period. So, while modern homes were once contemporary, the opposite is not also true. When searching for design inspiration, or speaking to designers or architects, using the correct terminology will get you closer to your goal.
If you have kids, go all out on their playroom
The youngest member of the Park family, little Da-song, has the playroom every kid wants. It is large, bright, and best of all, brimming with toys. According to Montessori Nature, the most effective playrooms all have similar elements present. The first element is choices. When children are young, you should expose them to many different hobbies and activities so they can discover what brings them joy. Da-song enjoys art, so the bright chaos of his playspace reflects this.
So, if you have children and want to recreate the curated space of the Parks’ home (after all, Mrs. Park is always ordering the best toys for her son from America), don’t worry so much about clutter or mess, but rather on giving your child space to explore. You can offer them painting supplies, a toy telescope to look at the stars, books about the ocean, a few balls and bats for outdoor sports, and see what it is that they like the best.
Remember that modern furniture can still be comfortable
You don’t have to sacrifice function for style to live like the Parks do. We see this in their living room, as each of the seating options present appear to be painfully modern, but are still comfortable enough for the parents to sleep on while Da-song camps out in the backyard. According to Organic Modernism, our homes should not feel like a furniture store, but rather lived in and cozy, no matter how modern we want them to look.
To achieve this style, the positioning and composition of your furniture can go a long way. In the Parks’ home, the layout of the modern furniture is still a family one: gathered around a central table. Although the shape of the two couches is abstract and modern, their composition is the most important part. They are still neutral, inviting colors and they are still made of soft material that appears pleasant to the touch.
Consider empty space well-used
The Parks’ use of minimalism seems to amplify their wealth. Their Seoul mansion is huge and instead of furnishing every last inch of it, the Parks embrace the large, empty spaces in the living areas. The presence of these spots seems to function to remind viewers of the sheer amount of space. Especially in contrast to the Kim family’s basement apartment, this much room is a luxury.
According to Becoming Minimalist, there is also a certain freedom that comes with embracing the gaps in both our lives and our homes. We should not feel the need to fill every last inch of our space with just stuff, but instead, curate homes that only have what we need and what brings us joy. Having more empty spaces in our home can also be better for our mental health, as clutter can cause us to feel stressed and overwhelmed, even subconsciously (via The Seattle Times). So, if you’ve been searching for just the right thing for that empty space in your foyer, if you want your home to look like "Parasite" you don’t need anything there at all.
Glass doors are a must
Glass doors are simple and elegant, and very modern. In "Parasite," production designers have also made great use of the option for interior doors, as they provide a sort of paused stop between rooms. That is, yes, there is a door that can be shut, but because it is glass, the space is never really closed off entirely.
According to Moyes Glass, another benefit of installing glass doors in your home is that they are very easy to customize. Whether you want the glass to be clear, frosted, or even sport an intricate design, it’s entirely possible. They are very easy to clean (we’ve all seen the glass cleaning spray at the store — nothing fancy) and maintenance is usually no big deal. Finally, they are a great way to easily let more sunshine into your home and make the spaces seem bigger instantly.
However, you also need to be aware that there can be a certain lack of privacy when you have glass doors, allowing your neighbors more visual access into your space. Those wishing to break in could also see them as easier to overcome than a traditional door. However, if you use them on your home’s interior, you can avoid most of these drawbacks.
Install a state of the art security system
Wealthy families like the Parks have a system for screening houseguests … although it didn’t work out too well for them in the end. However, it’s likely that a good security system will keep your housekeeper from hiding her husband in your basement. According to US News, the main reasons to consider setting up protections for your home are overall peace of mind, as well as a deterrent to potential burglars. Most wanting to break into a home will go for the easiest target. So, if you have a camera on your front porch and an alarm system, but your neighbors don’t, you might be passed over in favor of the target with the lowest security.
There are different levels of home security systems on the market, like full-service set ups monitored by an external company, or DIY systems like a Ring Camera that you can install in a few moments. When selecting your system, just be sure to avoid common home security system mistakes like not upgrading your locks and relying solely on electronic protection.
Think about minimalism in the kitchen
The eating area in the Park home is very sleek and modern, boasting clean lines and creative chairs. It’s also the perfect place to grab a midnight snack if you are hiding from loan sharks in the basement bunker. According to Minimalism Made Simple, we spend so much time in our kitchens each day, both preparing meals and enjoying them with our households, that many think it needs to be the most crowded, curated room in the house. However, it’s actually quite the opposite.
Keeping a minimalist kitchen means that we only keep what we need out and accessible. This means the items and accessories we use the most. Everything else should be tucked away, or given away. This method not only helps to keep your kitchen clutter free, but also cleaner overall on a day-to-day basis. When starting out in minimalism, smart storage solutions will be a key factor in your success, as everything needs a place.
Even the smallest of outdoor spaces is worth enjoying
Even if you don’t have much outdoor space, you can still create something nice. While the Park family has a large, open front lawn, they tend to use landscaping to hug the perimeter of their property rather than creating nooks throughout. It appears as though the vegetation at the edges of the lawn acts as another layer of visual security for the family, as such a large part of their home is glass. However, for a bit of relaxation, they do have a small table and chair set towards the rear of their home. When we first meet Mrs. Park, she’s taking a nap in the garden.
According to Martha Stewart, creating a garden nook is key to relaxation. "Being outdoors is proven to make us happier and healthier, so these spaces help improve everyday health and wellbeing," said Belgard director of residential hardscapes Joe Raboine. "Outdoor living is more popular than ever, and homeowners are increasingly looking to add small spaces, like a secluded area or reading nook, to promote relaxation and rejuvenation."
Don’t forget the wine fridge
If you enjoy a glass, it’s a good idea to have a wine fridge at home like the Parks do. According to Wine Cooler Direct, one of the main benefits of having a wine fridge at home is the ability to keep all your favorites at the ideal temperature, which might be different than that of your main refrigerator. It’s also a great space to keep the overflow items that complement your wines like cheese, grapes, and even olive oil.
However, a wine fridge can be expensive, starting at around $1,000. So, if you are not a serious wine drinker, it might not be worth the cost. It also takes up valuable real estate in your kitchen, so even if you enjoy a glass with most meals, if you have to get rid of your dishwasher to fit it in your kitchen, it probably isn’t worth the investment, either. But, if you have the budget and the space, it’s an easy way to elevate your kitchen.
Trees inside can work if you have the space
If you love houseplants, take things up a notch. If you have the room, consider adding a tree to your houseplant collection. Some families have the space to actually plant a tree inside a courtyard in their homes, but this takes major planning and typically cannot be done without a renovation. So instead, a potted tree is typically a better idea.
According to Trees Unlimited, some species of trees are a little bit more particular in their requirements to thrive than others are. So, before you choose the tree, think about the level of light and the average temperature of the place you plan to style the tree. Will they help or hinder its growth? For example, Kentia Palms will grow in almost any circumstances, a Madagascar Dragon Tree doesn’t need too much light, but does better with it, while a Tree Fern needs lots of humidity to make it. The great thing about indoor trees is that if they are not doing too well, you can always move them outside for a season to perk them up.
Be sure to show off your family with photos
It’s always in style to display family photos; even in a house as modern and sleek as the wealthy Park family’s, they make sure to show off their family with pride. According to Style by Emily Henderson, it’s totally possible to display a gallery of photos of your loved ones without compromising the overall style of your home. In "Parasite" we see one large photo of the Park family, surrounded by smaller mementos of the family. Henderson recommends this style as well, as having different sizes of frames in the same area creates visual interest. It’s almost like creating a mini-version of a gallery wall within your home.
If you would prefer to have a more uniform look, then you can consider purchasing an even number of frames that are all the same size and hanging two to three rows of photos all placed evenly apart. You can use all color photos, all black and white, or to maintain uniformity, an even mixture of the two mediums for the best look.
Wooden garage doors are a modern option
The Park family has a wooden garage door, which definitely contributes to a sleek overall look for their home. According to Wayne Dalton, the reason wooden doors are so popular is because they are often designed to look like the wooden doors on an old-fashioned carriage house. They can come in any color to complement your home’s architectural style and can be customized with windows and other options you prefer as well. If you have young children like the Parks, they offer another layer of protection because wood doesn’t dent like metal does, so if your child throws a ball too hard or bumps the door with their car as they grow up, the chance for damage is less likely.
Just like with any design choice, there are a few disadvantages to the style, too. The first con is that they can be high maintenance. You might need to paint them more often to keep them looking fresh. To protect a wooden garage door from water, you definitely have to seal it every few years. In addition, wood is porous and can cause insulation issues (via Aaron Overhead Doors).
Think about entertainment options in your bathroom
Nothing screams rich like watching TV in the bathtub, which is exactly what Ki-jung does when the wealthy Park family is away on a camping trip. While you can certainly balance your iPhone on your knees while taking a bath, it’s not exactly the same level of luxury as a purpose-built entertainment system. According to Sanus, the constant steam in the bathroom warrants your television being waterproofed, even if it’s on the opposite side of the room and nowhere near the tub or shower. You can do this by setting up a clear plastic case to keep most of the condensation out.
In addition to this, when selecting the size of your TV, you need to think about it in relation to the rest of the room. A bathroom probably isn’t the space for the largest screen in your house, but one of a more moderate size so you can enjoy a movie in the tub, or catch up on the news while getting ready in the morning. For safety, TVs should be mounted on the wall and not on the countertops, unless that counter doesn’t have a water source on it.
Consider adding a panic room
Of course, you can’t think about "Parasite" without mentioning the bunker in the basement. If you have the resources, a panic room could be a great final resource to keep your family safe in uncertain times. According to the Robb Report, demand for these sorts of rooms is soaring. "We used to be the niche within a niche," says David Vranicar, a contractor who works in the field. "In order to be our client, you had to be really, really paranoid and you had to be really, really wealthy. That’s not the case anymore."
Unlike in "Parasite," most modern panic rooms are not completely inaccessible for daily use. Instead of being a concrete room in the basement, these fortresses might also function as a giant, closet-sized safe for a person’s valuables, like family heirlooms, artwork, jewelry, or even weapons. Vranicar says that customers come to him for a variety of reasons, ranging from fear of home invasions to fear of a worldwide nuclear war. Whatever your reason, having a space in your home to keep both you and your valuables safe is a good idea.