26 Oct

Written by Lizzie on October 26, 2012

ITV’s hit series Downton Abbey struck it’s own personal best last Christmas when a record number of viewers switched on to watch. Known for it’s opulent set and costume design, over 12 million viewers in Britain alone tuned in over the festive period so as not to miss the characters, storylines… or the furniture. No one can deny that Lord Grantham’s estate is an early 20th Century palace glistening with glorious details. A treasure trove of exoticism mixed with Austen-esque British classics, there’s no wonder interior designers everywhere are trawling both antiques stores and the high street to replicate it.

Downton Abbey is set in the Edwardian period. Following the more restrained Victorian era, Mary, Edith and Sybil were brought up in a world that revelled in gilded finishes, floral patterns and light colours. The richness of the sets may seem difficult to recreate, but becoming Lord or Lady of your own home doesn’t have to cost a bomb. Mix my pick of Downton inspired pieces with bits you already have to create a polished look, fit even for the likes of Dowager Countess Violet!

One thing that Downton Abbey does well is lighting. From the bedrooms to the dining room there is no shortage of chandeliers, candelabras and more creating a golden glow. Replicate this in your own home with the Isadora Chandelier – champagne coloured and made up of rectangular mirrored pieces, it’s an understated piece which will  add old-world character to your room without stealing the spotlight. If that’s not for you, try the Impex Dante Chandelier. Hang it alone for a simple look or invest in 2 or 3 to create a focal point.

Another way to add a touch of that elegant style is to use luxurious fabrics on everyday pieces. I love this Vivien Large Sofa in Taupe, it’s perfect if you fancy a bit of needlework or maybe some poetry after dinner. Feeling rebellious? Swap Taupe for Cassis and you’ll have something a little more Sybil than Mary! Next you’ll need lots of storage for those modern appliances – there’s no place for a Wii at Downton Abbey! The Chinese Collection Yan Sideboard will banish all trace of the 21st century and it adds a touch of mystery from the orient. The Donna Armchair and Penryn Grand Sofa are also subtle tributes to times gone by, with their hard wood legs and classic shapes. They’d look gorgeous in any parlour!

Now, as any fan of Downton Abbey will know, that place is not short of wallpaper. With intricate designs in practically every room (my favourite is the red print in Lady Mary’s bedroom – just stunning with the cream and dark wood furniture), wallpaper in the early 20th century was used to show off wealth and social standing. To recreate that in your own home you’re going to need to give your walls a pick-me-up. John Lewis have tens of detailed, colourful designs on offer, but my personal favourites are the Graham & Brown Kinky Vintage Wallpaper in Bordeaux Bordello and Sanderson Wallpaper in Morris & Co Fruit, Wine & Manilla. At £60 and £55 respectively, rolls of this stuff doesn’t come cheap, but use sparingly on selected walls or alcoves and you don’t have to blow your budget all at once.

If you’re not in the market for a big change, the Double Tassle or the Lola Tie Backs are top, budget savvy ways to add a touch of the 1910s to your curtains without splashing out on a new pair. Smaller pieces like this Dartington Crystal Chateauneuf Decanter and this John Lewis Breeze Glassware are guaranteed to have you feeling like aristocracy whatever your surroundings – not to mention how much they’ll impress the guests at your next dinner party. The same goes for this Wedgewood Cuckoo Teacup and Saucer, it’s the perfect mix of old and new. The Beaded Swirl Cushion adds a splash of luxury to any sofa, and finally, I love this Brissi Candelbra – shame Mr Carson isn’t around to polish it for me!

You can follow Lizzie on Twitter now @LizzieShopScoop

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