GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Lifestyle

March 15, 2013

'Downton' style

Show inspires more formal home decor

Intrigued by the drama and inspired by the sophistication of British aristocrats in “Downton Abbey,” some fans are plotting to bring the series’ style into their own homes, from gilded finishes to opulent upholstery to portrait paintings.

“We’ve gone so casual in the last decade in terms of home decor. I think there is a desire to be a little more formal, or a little more glamorous,” says Kristie Barnett, an interior design blogger in Nashville, Tenn. “That doesn’t mean it can’t be family-friendly.”

“Downton Abbey,” in production for its fourth season, features the noble Crawley family “upstairs” and its servants “downstairs” in a sprawling country estate. The characters are struggling to bring the estate and their traditional sensibilities into the 1920s, a time of social and political ferment.

Ornate drawing rooms, flowing boudoirs, vibrant gardens and crisp, clean servants’ quarters make the gorgeous backdrop for the PBS Masterpiece melodrama.

So how do you bring some of that aristocratic look into a comfortable modern home?

GILDED FOR GLAMOUR

One of the simplest ways to achieve the “upstairs” look of “Downton Abbey” is to apply gold metallic paint for a gilded finish on wood furniture, picture frames, mirror edges and other decorative items, including bookends and lamp stands.

In her living room, Barnett, who blogs at TheDecorologist.com, used gold paint to make a barley-twist coffee table appear worthy of nobility. Golden candlesticks and a crystal doorknob atop piles of books finish the look.

“Gilt was all the rage during the British Edwardian Age,” says Barnett. “And it’s all the rage in my house.”

FURNITURE WITH FLOURISH

Richly upholstered settees, footstools, chaise lounges and Bergere chairs can add a touch of bygone beauty, but you should allow plenty of space for more livable pieces such as a traditional sofa. If you can’t afford new furniture, consider adding silk or damask throw pillows.

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