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Merrimack Valley

March 14, 2013

'Downton Abbey' comes home

Pop culture phenom influencing interior decorating

(Continued)

Tapestries and oriental rugs can be affordable and add the feel of affluence. Check out Etsy.com for “Downton Abbey”-style fabrics and textiles.

LOVELY LIGHTING

Another easy way to achieve the upstairs style, while keeping things practical and comfortable, is to hang an ornate light fixture or chandelier.

Affordable plaster or stencil medallions placed around light fixtures can be another eye-catching element.

Or can use candlelight, which will bounce off mirrors, glass and crystal, creating the sort of warm glow that makes the Crawleys’ multi-course dinners look so enticing.

WONDERFUL WINDOWS AND WALLS

The return to detail and decoration includes opulent upholstery, drapes and wall coverings, says Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, founder of ApartmentTherapy.com.

“People seem to be ready for more and more luxe materials and dramatic finishes,” he says. “Even wallpaper, which was trending modern, is back to classic floral patterns and English traditionalism, but often with a bit of a twist.”

Painted walls are darker, with a gloss finish, experts say. You can create the upper-crust feel with bold jewel tones, including emerald and sapphire.

Also in the traditional “Downton Abbey” palette, says Mary Lawlor, manager of color marketing for Kelly-Moore Paints, are refreshing pastels and creams, One of the mansion’s expansive drawing rooms, for example, features a pale green wallpaper further softened with richly upholstered furniture in a mix of rose and classic ivory.

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.

SIMPLE SENS IBILITY

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.

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