Set in the post-Edwardian era in the Yorkshire country estate of Downton Abbey, the series tells the tale of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants.
One of the defining images has been the beautiful home in which so much of the action is set. While we may not all be fortunate enough to live in such a splendid building, there is no reason that fans of the show can’t recreate the Downton Abbey look in their own home.
This is primarily because it is so easy nowadays to get your hands on reproduction mahogany furniture – for example, from online boutiques like Woodlands Furniture. This means that you don’t need to part with the sort of cash that would be necessary to purchase original antiques.
The best way to go about recreating a period look when you don’t necessarily have the castle to go with it is to invest in a few staple pieces, and then use soft furnishings and decoration (such as painting the walls) to pull the look together.
For a Downton Abbey look, the period style that you will be looking to recreate is from towards the beginning of the 20th century, following Edward VII’s reign (1901 to 1910) when George V (1910 to 1936) had taken the throne.
You will need to be investing in relatively heavy, dark wooden furniture, as this was extremely popular at the time.
In the sitting room, opting for a couple of beautiful chairs displaying gilt work and softer, more neutral and tufted upholstering will combine nicely with perhaps a dark mahogany dresser, to give you a Downton Abbey look without making the room too oppressive.
As for the bedroom, a four-poster mahogany bed combined with a heavy, imposing wardrobe really are absolute musts. Dressing screens were also common and so may add a touch of extra authenticity.
You should also have lots of natural light if possible. Electricity was still nowhere near as commonplace as it is now, and so many households will have enjoyed having big windows that let in as much natural light as possible. In a similar vein, no Downton Abbey home would be complete without a candelabra or ten – certainly gracing the centre of the dining room table.
A lamp with a fringed lamp shade, however, would certainly be permissible and bang on-trend – as would a stunning chandelier fitting.
In terms of furnishings, a delicate floral wallpaper will instantly give your home a period feel – you don’t even have to opt for the same one throughout the house if you want to add a bit of variety. Speak to a specialist retailer about different patterns and motifs heralding from the post-Edwardian period, and combine this with pastel paints which were certainly popular at the time.
You may also like to use cushions, rugs and fabrics with oriental and Asian motifs, as visitors to the colonies may have brought these back either as a gift or for their own homes.
As for finishing touches which can help tie your look together, think copper in the kitchen. Lots of copper pans hanging up. Everywhere. This will instantly give your kitchen post-Edwardian chic! As will ornate bird cages, beautiful glass perfume bottles, bells, brass knobs, lots of books and all things equestrian, as horse-riding was a popular pastime during the era – et voila.