Heike Makatsch as Mia in Love Actually girl with a brown bob haircut and black turtleneck and red lipstick
Heike Makatsch as Mia in the 2003 film Love Actually.Photo: Cinematic Collection / Alamy Stock Photo

Mia’s Purple Pad in Love Actually Is The Ultimate Source of Y2K Decor Nostalgia

She was in a lavender haze before Taylor Swift was even a thing

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In 2003, the Pantone color report included the shades Hollyhock, Polignac, Dull Gold, and Frost Gray. It was also the year that Love Actually—a holiday rom-com stuffed with an incredible cast—hit theaters. These two things connect through the apartment of Mia (played by Heike Makatsch), the secretary with a crush on her boss Harry (Alan Rickman), in the film. Over the next two decades, Love Actually would become a holiday classic watched and rewatched by people all over the world every season. What captures me every rewatch isn’t just the romantic storylines, but the early aughts style that is obviously present throughout the film—not just in the clothing (hello to Keira Knightley’s newsboy cap)—but in the interiors as well. 

We see a unique time in design reflected in the film’s different homes. The minimalism of the ’90s, perfectly depicted in Daniel (Liam Neeson) and Sam’s (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) sleek, cold modern kitchen, was on its way out and giving way to a softer (often overstuffed) aesthetic, such as Juliet (Keira Knightley) and Peter’s (Chiwetel Ejiofor) newlywed home. But my personal favorite is Mia’s place. She absolutely embraces several 2000s design aesthetics in her space in the dodgy end of Wandsworth, creating a time capsule of Y2K design. 

The home Emma Thompson’s character is much more subdued.

Photo: Moviestore Collection Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

She’s probably one of the most hated characters in the film because she is part of the reason why Karen (Emma Thompson) cries in her beige-and-brown British bedroom and, like, How DARE you make her cry. But putting her part in the home-wrecking aside, Mia’s apartment is incredible. She lives next door to Natalie (Martine McCutcheon) and her family in a terrace-style house, which is very typical in the UK. The implied size of the home leads Principal Designer of Define Home, Casey Scheuerell, to believe that perhaps she’s actually still in her childhood bedroom of the family home. “The 2000s abandoned cool modernism for comfort at home with the use of color and softer, collected furnishings that eventually evolved into what we know as Shabby Chic.” It’s also worth noting that the UK was coming out of a recession at this time and the rise of home makeover shows inspired people to personalize their homes in cheaper ways. “Hence mum feeling inspired to paint her hall a cozy soft yellow over a weekend,” seen when she opens the door for the Prime Minister (Hugh Grant). “Mia updates her room using a sensual purple palette to express her personality in accessible ways—paint and accessories.”

Define Home Principal Designer Casey Scheuerell created this sketch of Mia’s bedroom.

By Casey Scheuerell 

Fan theories have speculated that Mia was meant to represent the devil, though the film’s writers have debunked this. Either way, you can't deny that this bad girl has style.

Photo: Cinematic Collection / Alamy Stock Photo

The aforementioned color Hollyhock, a purple teetering the line of sexy and sweet, is very present in Mia’s room. She blends it with soft lavenders, whites, and red pops that say “vixen.” Taking into account her income bracket (she’s a secretary at a design agency), she may not have a large budget. The DIY of the era comes in with the repurposed wall vases that hold singular flowers, perhaps from lovers. Scheuerell adds that “IKEA, popular in the UK since the ’80s, would have been a likely option for furniture, whether she’s had it since her teenage room or purchased it herself. The dresser looks like the still popular Hemnes collection and Malm is a classic go-to for a sleek and simple bedframe.”

Eyes Valet Tray

Matin Table Lamp

My favorite piece in her room is the chrome Bertoia chair. Maybe it is something she nabbed from her swanky job during a design overhaul or, as Scheuerell thinks, it could be “a hand-me-down from her parent’s earlier decor.” Either way, it’s certainly the stand-out piece in the room and almost makes me forgive her character’s risky ways—almost.

Bertoia Diamond Lounge Chair

Lilac 100% French Flax Linen Bedding Set

Cloud eggplant purple satin throw pillow