The final season of “Downton Abbey” officially debuted in the U.S. on January 3 and we’re in a Yorkshire state of mind. You can’t blame us for getting sucked into the intoxicating aristocratic world of fox hunting, high teas and grand dinners where all of the women are outfitted in fabulous Roaring Twenties fashion, à la spit curls, beaded headbands and evening gloves. Yet while the cast’s glam wardrobe traces an evolving 14-year period across the show’s six seasons, the stately English manor decor remains ever-preset and ever the same. The tufted upholstery! The brocade! The wood paneled walls! Never, ever change Downton!
Wouldn’t it be nice to bring this sense of tradition and class into your own home? We’ve compiled a list of simple (and not so simple) ways you can incorporate a little bit of the Abbey into your living spaces this winter.
Photo via Graham & Brown
Wallpaper. Instead of covering your entire living room or dining room in wallpaper, try a feature wall. Let the colors and motifs speak to you. Bradbury & Bradbury and Graham & Brown have plenty of classic collections to choose from. Or maybe you want something more bold and whimsy, like this Peacock Toile wallpaper from Anthropologie. The positive thing is — once you narrow down your choice, it will help inform all your other decisions about paint and furniture in the space.
Photo via Santa Barbara Chic
Lattice Work. Maybe you don’t want to install something as permanent as a lattice window or door — and you shouldn’t have to. Instead, opt for a Tiffany lampshade in a sitting area. (If the real thing is out of reach, imitation Tiffany will do. Shh. We didn’t tell you that.).
Books. You know those things with words and sentences and paragraphs and chapters printed on paper? (Sorry, Kindles don’t count, Millienials!) Invest in a Victorian book shelf (or two), and load it up with your favorite English classics like “Wuthering Heights” and “Sense & Sensibility.” Stack books on your coffee table and run up a few books on your mantle. It’s the least you can do to turn your home into a manor.
Photo via Pottery Barn
Warm It Up. England is cold…and damp. Nothing warms the heart quite like a hearth. If you don’t have a fireplace and it’s out of your budget to install this season, add loads and loads of candles instead, and drape a faux fur blanket (like this one from Pottery Barn) over your sofa. At the very least, it tells your guests: “Curl up on our couch and stay awhile.”
Rugs. It’s time to say goodbye to your carpet and hello to wood floors and rugs. Nothing says “Downton” like rugs…Turkish rugs, Kilim rugs, Persian rugs… you get the idea. Go with any color, and if it looks as if WWI soldiers have trampled all over them, do not fret. The older, the better. You want a sense of history, here.
Photo via Horse and Hound
Tapestries & Needlework. Remember that needlepoint your grandmother embroidered for you years ago? Well, it’s time to break it out. Tapestries hang everywhere in the Abbey too, it’s time to dust those off or invest in a few key pieces like this equine pillow and get to work hanging them.
Choose Your Fabrics Wisely. You can’t go far in the Abbey without encountering at least one of these fabrics: chintz, toile, brocade, velvet, tartan. This is your chance to let your creativity shine. Mix and match patterns and textures until you arrive at a combo that works for you.
Photo via Tidbits & Twine
Layer Your Paintings. Head over to your nearest flea market and start bargaining your way to towards a collection of antique oil paintings and portraits of people that could be related to you…maybe, just maybe. Then start stacking them one on top of the other on the wall.
Drapery. Vertical blinds? Passé. Bamboo shades? So last year. Nope, if you want to live in a Downton Abbey world, it’s all about the drapery, dahling. Opt for rich, decadent silks, velvets, damasks, fur, leather and suede dripping all the way to floor. The longer, the better.
Tuft it Out. Because everyone needs an opulent, curvaceous tufted piece of upholstered furniture — like this Cambridge sofa from Restoration Hardware — in their study or formal living room. Especially if you’re a fan of lounging around playing chess and asking questions like, “What is a weekend?”
Which of these ideas would you try in your home? Do you have other tips? Let us know in the comments below, and make sure to tune in to PBS each Sunday night at 9pm for the final season of “Downton Abbey.”