How to Decorate Your Home With Downton Abbey Style

02 Feb

How to Decorate Your Home With Downton Abbey Style

Photo: Roger Davies

Photo: Roger Davies

While you may not be able to summon Anna to find your shawl or command Carson to pour another cup of tea in the drawing room, your decor can still rival the magnificent interiors of Downton Abbey’s eponymous castle. London-based interior designer Broocks Robertson of CBR Interiors Ltd.—who studied at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Institut d’Etudes Superieures, and the Inchbald School of Design—offers tips for how to give your modern-day residence old-world British style.

Frame the room around the fireplace.

“Homes didn’t have central heating back then, so there were always fireplaces going,” says Robertson. Re-create the feeling of a cozy Downton Abbey drawing room by treating your fireplace as the focal point of the room, arranging your sofas and chairs around it.

Collect museum-worthy art.

At the turn of the 20th century into the 1930s, an English estate would have been chock-full of sumptuous pieces collected throughout the family’s travels, says Robertson. American artist John Singer Sargent, for example, was an internationally acclaimed portrait artist during the time that Lord and Lady Grantham would have run Downton Abbey. Start your own collection—and don’t be afraid to display the works in every room of your home.

Invest in a Brussels Weave carpet.

Brussels Weave carpets, first brought to England from France in the 1700s by the Earl of Pembroke, were considered the height of luxury in early-20th-century Britain, says Robertson. Visit Simon Playle in London, one of Robertson’s favorite shops, to find these gorgeous styles.

Partake in the ritual of afternoon tea.

Where tea was taken—and with whom—was a top concern, and the tea sets and porcelain china used at homes like Downton Abbey can actually be found today, both originals and reproductions. In the U.S., Robertson recommends reaching out to Kathy Crow at Crow & Company Antiques in Houston, a direct importer of English antiques.

Make a bed of roses—or hunter-greens.

At wealthy houses of the Downton Abbey era, one could always tell the lady’s sleeping quarters, which were often decorated in feminine pink or rose, from the man’s, which might be navy-blue, brown, or hunter-green. The must-have bedroom furniture pieces for both are easy to emulate nowadays: a canopy bed with curtains to keep out the cold, plus a dressing table or vanity (with a mirror that also happens to alert the arrival of unexpected guests).

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