The exterior of Sugarbaker & Associates Interior Design is The Villa Marre, a Victorian mansion built in 1881 and located in the MacArthur Park Historic District of Little Rock, Arkansas. It is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places.
As with many shows, the pilot features a set that's different from that of the one used once the show is picked up by the network; in this case, there is a stepped entryway beyond the front door, Julia's desk is located front-and-center of the set, and much of the furniture is completely different. Sharp-eyed viewers will also note the dark and grainy quality of the pilot, which is in contrast to the bright, warm, crisp look of the remaining episodes. Dedicated viewers will also note that not only is Suzanne's relationship with Ted, Mary Jo's ex-husband, almost NEVER referred to again after the initial episode, but that Julia alludes to Suzanne's "many" marriages, though in later shows, it's clearly stated Suzanne has only been married three times.
Suzanne's housekeeper, Consuela, was often talked about and never seen on the show.
Linda Bloodworth-Thomason would write all of her scripts on legal pad, and they would turn out longer than the average sitcom script. As a result, the network would often have to time compress parts of shows to keep from cutting key material.
During the first season, CBS kept moving the show around, moving it from its original Monday night time slot to Thursday and then to Sunday. This devastated the ratings, which didn't pick up until it returned to Monday. CBS was going to cancel it, but then protests from Viewers for Quality Television convinced the network to renew it.
Despite the fact that she had already had significant roles in two prior TV series, CBS was unsure about Delta Burke as the star of the show because of her beauty queen background.
Of the original cast, Jean Smart was the only one not born in the south/southeastern United States. She was born and raised in Seattle, Washington.
Of the 25 series the major television networks debuted in 1986, Designing Women was the only one to still be on the air for the 1992-3 season.
Dixie being Republican didn't always agree with Julia's Liberal views. So she and the show's producers came to an agreement: whenever Julia would go off on something that Dixie didn't quite agree on she would get to showcase her singing in a future episode.
Although Sheffield (played by Jack Bannon) proclaims that he and Reese (Hal Holbrook) graduated from Yale Law School in the same year - trying to argue that he looks younger only because he is in better shape - in real life Bannon is 15 years younger than Holbrook.
In the pilot, Charlene states that she is not one of those women who goes through life with the back of her dress stuck in her pantyhose. Two years later during the third year of the show, an entire plot line is dedicated to the fact that, while modeling in a well-attended fashion show, the back of Julia's dress is indeed stuck inside of her pantyhose, showing off her backside to all in the audience.
The white-striped blue chairs in Mavis' (Charlene's high school friend teaching them dance steps for the variety show) house are the same ones used on the set in Sugarbaker's during the firs few episodes, pilot included.
Julia famously clashes with Karen Delaporte (Mary Ann Mobley) in this episode. Only four years earlier Mobley had replaced Dixie Carter as Maggie Drummond on "Diff'rent Strokes" when that show switched networks.