The British nobility takes its heritage seriously, and there are painted portraits and landscapes throughout the show’s castle. If you’re at a rummage sale or consignment shop, pick up similar art and create a small grouping on one wall. You don’t have to be descended from these somber-looking subjects to bring their sophistication home.
While many elements of Downton Abbey style have a feminine appeal, there’s no mistaking the bold, masculine feel of Lord Grantham’s library. Add jewel-toned leather furniture or leather throw pillows to your reading areas for a twist to the muted espresso brown that has been popular in recent years.
Consider turning a little-used dining room into a study, using the table as a hearty desk fit for the lords and ladies of your home.
“People are wanting to do something different in their dining rooms, so a lot of dining rooms are being filled with bookcases,” Barnett says. She advises painting bookcases the same shade as walls, but in a gloss or lacquer finish.
Contrasting with the rich decor of the show’s upstairs rooms is the subdued, neutral palette and texture of the downstairs staff’s living and working quarters.
“Think natural materials like linen, cotton, raw wood, and a simplistic farmhouse-type aesthetic that is influencing DIY projects,” says Becki Speakman, trend and design director for Michaels Stores.
One way to fashion the look is to use washed and softened painter’s dropcloths for inexpensive curtains and slipcovers.
Lawlor recommends a palette of grounded grays and varnished ivory.
Creating flourishes of Downton Abbey style throughout a home can add interest and refinement. But give just a nod to the era — don’t try to replicate it.
“The idea is to incorporate some of the glamour of that time in our modern-day setting,” Barnett says, “without creating a museum in our homes.”