Downton Design, Featuring: European Antique Rugs

Conceptual Cues from Across the Pond

Lady Mary Pillow

Back for a fourth season, Downton Abbey’s beloved residents are now just a few years shy of the jazz age, evidenced by the Crawley sisters’ new hairdos and drop-waist dresses – quite a change from the late Victorian ensembles of previous seasons. Of course, no one expects the grand Abbey itself to change quite so quickly – there are all those centuries of heritage to preserve!

Home goods retailers have been capitalizing on the PBS-induced Anglophilia for quite some time now with Downton-inspired paints, candles, textiles and more. Much of the merchandising is rather lacking in Edwardian authenticity, and maybe that’s fine: There probably aren’t that many of us who want to turn our homes into mock noble estates.

But there is inspiration to be taken from the richly decorated interiors of Highclere Castle, the show’s main filming location. Here’s a look at lessons we can glean from those lovely sets:

Rooms as period collections


The castle’s saloon was finished in 1860. Richly ornamented from floor to ceiling, it has Gothic-period vaulted entryways that draw the eye upward and highlight the room’s grandness and opulence. Continue reading