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Downton Style, Downstairs Kitchen, Downtown Budget

Recently, The Lovely Side reader and fellow Downton Abbey fan Ashley wrote in:

"I'm obsessed with the kitchen in Downton Abbey. Yes, the downstairs kitchen where the servants cook! I recently moved into a tiny studio in the city with a small but separate kitchen. It has white cabinets, counters, and linoleum. Basically, it's a blank slate. I'd love to get the Downton look for my kitchen, but I'm on a tight budget and in a tight space. Any advice? Thank you!"

Ashley, I think your kitchen is off to a great start even if (well, especially if) it has plain white cabinetry, walls, and floors. It's definitely a great blank slate to build up on. Since the Downton kitchen is downstairs, it lacks the luxury and ornate feel up of the upper floor. Use this to your advantage. Here's how I'd get that Downton style for your apartment:

1. Go Antiquing and Thrifting
Do this first because you never know what you'll find. Go everywhere from your local Goodwill to corner antique shops. Look for stoneware, copper, and iron kitchen items. Think creatively. A stoneware canister could store flour or sugar. Without its lid, it is a great utensil holder. If you happen upon a jackpot of white dinnerware, mix and match it for an authentic "downstairs" feel. (You know the servants didn't dine on the fine china.)

2. Do Selective Splurging
The Downton kitchen was filled with copper pots and pans. Copper goes for a pretty penny, especially with its growing popularity. Instead of spending big bucks on copper kitchenwares that will be hidden away in your cabinets, splurge on a few copper pieces you'll use and can keep out in the open. Perhaps a set of bowls, canisters, or even measuring spoons. A little gleaming copper can make a big impact.

3. Do-It-Yourself
I love the servant bell on the wall of the Downton kitchen. While you won't have any servants to ring for, you can still pull off the idea. Purchase some bells and plaques, spray paint them with a dark metallic spray paint, attach them to a stained wooden board, and label the plaques underneath.

4. Cottage Chic Furniture
Ask your older family members if they have any spare, older furniture stowed away in their garages or attics. Or, keep your eyes open while thrifting and antiquing. The servants didn't chow down on a long, polished dining table. A worn farmhouse table, cottage chic round table, or butcher-block table will do just the trick. Just pull up some Windsor-style dining chairs and you'll be set.

5. All in the Details
Whether it's a candle holder with a handle for walking around in the darkness or a tea towel printed with vintage kitchen items, don't forget the finishing touches. An old teapot on the stove. An antique-inspired corkscrew hanging on the wall. And I'm partial to the idea of a sepia-toned photograph of Mary on the fridge... or is that a little over the top?

Thanks for the design question, Ashley! Now I'm considering decorating my kitchen in a Downton-inspired style. So tell me, dear readers, which room in Downton would you most want to adapt for your space?

To shop for items from the set above, click here.

P.S. I know many of you have sent in decorating questions and decor board requests! They've piled up quickly, some take longer than others, and I'm getting to them as quickly as I can. :) Happy decorating!


Disclaimer: I'm neither the the set designer nor in touch with the set designer for these television and movie rooms. Unfortunately, I do not know the sources for most of the decor, furniture, etc. These inspiration boards and posts are meant to show a similar look and help guide you in shopping for items that will help you get there. If you really want to know the source of a specific item (for example, where a pair of curtains can be purchased), feel free to leave your question in the comments. If I knew, it would definitely be listed in the post. However, maybe another The Lovely Side reader out there will know!

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