Kirk’s quarters in Star Trek: The Motion Picture were originally built for the aborted television series Phase II and would go on to serve as Data’s and Worf’s quarters in The Next Generation as well as those of the junior officers, like Harry Kim, aboard Voyager.
The production crew of Star Trek: Phase II had only erected the walls of Kirk’s quarters when the show was canceled and produced shifted to The Motion Picture. The stateroom Leon Harris built for the movie, and which doubled as Lieutenant Ilia’s quarters, nevertheless stayed largely true to Mike Minor’s design.
It consisted of two sections: a living room with a library computer terminal and a sleeping area with access to a bathroom, separated by a retractable, transparent partition. The translucent sliding door was an invention of Production Designer Harold Michelson.
A large wall display that showed minimalist art when not in use as viewscreen involved a rare use of rear projection and was back-lit for the artwork.
Built but unseen was a corner booth and table designed as dining area. Lora (then Shane) Johnson, the author of Mr Scott’s Guide to the Enterprise (1987), who visited the set in 1986 just after Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home had been filmed, told Greg Taylor of Trekplace that it had “a clear plexiglas tabletop and snazzy upholstery.”
In Star Trek II, the same corner of the room was refurbished as Spock’s meditation alcove.
Minor, of all people, disliked how the set had turned out, telling Enterprise Incidents (February 1984, My Star Trek Scrapbook has the full interview), “it’s just ghastly — dead, empty, nothing’s going on.” So when he took over from Harris as art director for Star Trek II, he said, “we tried to soften things, warm them up and do things with the interior, add appointments to make them more human.”
The team carpeted the wall and Minor remembered it was Production Designer Joe Jennings who came up with the cabinets around Kirk’s desk.
He recognized, though, that it’s hard to find the right balance:
You’ve got a combination space-going liner and military vessel, so just where do you draw the line?
Contemporary warships are spartan. On the other hand, the Enterprise is designed to be away from home for five years, so “it needs more color.”
The set doubled as Spock’s quarters on Star Trek II and III. The plan was to hang a Vulcan tapestry on the wall, but there wasn’t time to make one. Instead, Jennings and Minor designed a wall mural composed of hundreds of small metal discs and thousands of sequins hung from pins.
Leonard Nimoy wasn’t happy with the result. Director Nicholas Meyer later agreed, saying in the audio commentary to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan — The Director’s Edition (2002),
Spock’s room, as a Vulcan, I think, should have been atmospheric and mysterious and different. It should have been a very different [scene].
Nimoy got his chance to improve the set on Star Trek III, which he directed. The grey of the previous film was replaced with red, orange and amber.
The Next Generation
The Next Generation rebuilt the set using a modular design, so it could be customized to different characters. But it used many of the same elements and the set occupied the same location on Paramount’s Stage 9, behind engineering and across the corridor from sickbay.
Notably, the curved walls from Kirk’s quarters were maintained. They were painted blue in the first season and later converted to beige.
Worf’s quarters were smaller, utilizing about two-thirds of the set with a temporary wall reducing the size of his bedroom (in Data’s case his office).
Voyager used the same set for the quarters of its junior officers and enlisted crew, but it switched the color back to — wait for it — grey.
To drive home that Voyager was a smaller ship than the Enterprise-D, lower-rank personnel are seen sharing quarters, for example in the episode “Good Shepherd”.