Jennifer Garner’s ‘13 Going On 30’ Apartment Design Is Still Relevant Today

Jennifer Garner’s ‘13 Going On 30’ Apartment Design Is Still Relevant Today

Jennifer Garner as Jenna Rink

Revolution Studios Distribution Company, LP

Romcoms of the early aughts don’t come much more iconic than 2004’s 13 Going on 30. Starring Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo, the movie focuses on Jenna Rink (Garner), who suddenly transforms into a 30-year-old and lives out her dream life in magazine publishing in New York City. And with that dream life comes a swanky Manhattan apartment.

As the movie celebrates its 20th anniversary, 13 Going on 30 is just as relevant today as it was two decades earlier. Garner’s blue cutout dress could likely be found in many millennials’ closets after Ariana Grande donned the outfit in her 2018 music video for “thank u, next” and again during a 2021 episode of The Voice. When it comes to Garner’s apartment in the movie, the design is timeless and translates from screen to real life just as well today as it did 20 years ago. “Jenna’s apartment is a charming rendition of late mid-century modern design, with a slight bohemian-meets-’70s disco vibe,” says interior designer Sarah Latham of Latham Interiors. “It perfectly captures the essence of her girlhood fantasy of what her adult life in New York City would look like.”

Latham broke down the design of the space, sharing the things that work well—and those that could use improvement in 2024.

Emma Kershaw: How are Jenna Rink’s interior design choices still relevant today?

Sarah Latham: Many of the interior design choices featured in Jenna’s apartment have regained popularity in recent years. There’s a definite resurgence of 70s-inspired interiors, with designers incorporating low-slung seating, bold patterns, and vibrant colors to bring a touch of nostalgia to modern spaces. Ochre, similar to the mustard yellow in Jenna’s living space, has become a favorite hue among designers, offering a bold yet earthy look for upholstered furnishings and textiles. Similarly, wall coverings have been given new life, with vintage-inspired floral and geometric patterns becoming go-to choices for adding dimension to a space.

Kershaw: Are there any pieces in the apartment that are now dated?

Latham: Jenna’s apartment has a few features that give away its age, like the cherry red parquet flooring. The wood stain feels quite dated, reminiscent of the 1990s and early 2000s. A more modern option would be to go for white oak or dark-stained hardwood floors, which can offer a more timeless look. Another dated feature is the circular patterns on the wall coverings and pillow textiles, reminiscent of the early aughts.

Kershaw: If Jenna Rink’s apartment was designed in 2024, in what ways would it look different to the 2004 design?

Latham: In 2024, Jenna’s apartment would capture the quintessential ‘cool girl’ aesthetic, boasting a vibrant yet tasteful color palette that reflects her eclectic style. She might have color-drenched the walls and trim, incorporated statement wallpaper moments, and added plenty of curved furnishings juxtaposed by clean lines throughout. We would likely see a thoughtful blend of woven textiles and natural materials, adding depth and warmth to the apartment.

Kershaw: How could someone achieve a similar look in 2024?

Latham: To achieve a similar look to Jenna’s playful mid-century modern design narrative, you could start by adding a subtle shag rug to bring texture into the space. Next, consider incorporating geometric wall coverings and low-profile furnishings to enhance the lounge aesthetic. The mustard yellow chair and periwinkle blue sofa are defining pieces of the apartment, so finding modern adaptations would also be great additions.

To achieve a similar look, Latham suggests mustard yellow furniture.

getty

Kershaw: How would you redesign Jenna Rink’s apartment today?

Latham: In a modern redesign, I would lean into a mix of old and new, sourcing lots of vintage finds alongside modern pieces. The movie is a celebration of girlhood and steeped in nostalgia, so I’d infuse the space with nods to iconic ’80s aesthetics as a tribute to Jenna’s teenage years while incorporating modern features for a fresh twist. The goal would be a playful yet elevated environment that pays homage to Jenna’s past while embracing her present.

The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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