Proper English tea wouldn’t be a proper English tea without having it in style. The Dowager Countess of Grantham surely can’t have tea in just a simple way. She may even prefer to have it outside more often as oppose to having it inside despite the elegant interiors of Downton Abbey. But of course, outside scenery are, both literally and figuratively, a breath of fresh air.
But unlike the Lady Violet Grantham, we don’t have servants who can always carry a brolly over our heads to shield us against the British sun. Then again why choose a brolly when we can have stylish verandas housing us comfortably? Surely, having lovely extensions right outside our homes where we can get away for even just half an hour to sip our teas and talk about the latest developments of the Crawley family is much more stylish and fashionable.
And we shouldn’t stop at just a veranda. We’d secretly love to make Lady Grantham green with envy so of course we should definitely have grand ideas to dress up our verandas and make it as grand as Downton Abbey, one way or another.
The Secrets of an Enigmatic Outdoor Aura
Before choosing what ornaments or outdoor furniture to pick, you should first consider which kind of veranda to have. A contemporary styled veranda, which is popular nowadays, is designed for modern houses. Its construction is more linear and uses standard posts. Its roof can be made of either polycarbonate or glass, depending on the owners’ preferences.
On the other hand, a traditional styled veranda has latticed and Victorian designs and quarter arches to give it a more classical feel. This type of veranda is more on the lines of a Downton Abbey-like design as its framework matches the aesthetics that can be found on the grounds of Highclere Castle (where the series was shot).
But while a traditional type of veranda is the more obvious choice, it doesn’t mean that the contemporary type cannot be dressed for the part. With a little creativity, the modern design can be mix-and-matched with classically structured outdoor furniture to give it a “Downton Abbey meets 21st Century Home” kind of feel.
Essentials of the lavish 20th century inspired design
Like any other Downton Abbey fan, you’ve probably eyed at the elegant pieces of decor and props that decorated each scene, whether inside or outside the estate. The set designers of the show made sure to be accurate when it came to their designs. But while they spent a couple of thousand pounds for it, you can have it for less but still have the same feel for your outdoor extension.
You can start with the outdoor furniture. This shall be the focal point of your veranda design. Add those that blend into the colour of your house and veranda. As much as possible, choose pieces with designs and structure similar to your veranda. To give it a feel of the elite, embellish it with a white tablecloth and place an elegantly simple flower vase. Give colour to it by adding a colourful bouquet of flowers from your garden.
Of course, tea time is an essential part to your veranda theme so why not use white porcelain teapots, teacups, and saucers matched with silverware. To complete the stylish afternoon relaxation, add throw pillow on the chairs and a matching rug underneath. And if you have the preference of idling outside during night time, you can add patio heaters, lamps, or even candles to brighten up the mood.
Four Themed Inspirations to Suit your Mood
Still having difficulties to decide how exactly to dress up your verandas. Get ideas from the following Downton Abbey-inspired themes:
• Victorian Romance
Be reminded of the romance between Matthew and Lady Mary while you have tea. Match your black traditional latticed style veranda with black or dark rustic furniture adorned with a simple white vase housing red, pink, and white roses. Add round white silk pillows on the chair and make to have other potted plants and flowers around. To top it off, add four candles, preferably around the vase to give it a nice warm glow.
• Warmth in Winter
Your snow covered garden might be stunning to look at it but it might make you shiver if you stay out too long in the cold. To add warmth on your outdoors, a gray-blue veranda would do the trick with added sliding glass walls to protect yourself from the cold weather but without sacrificing the view. You can use a rustic gray outdoor dining set and cover it with white and light brown table cloth with matching square throw pillows (the more the merrier) to make it cosy. If you want, you can even add a blanket or two. Add potted plants around and match it with classic stone urns to match. To add more warmth, you can get an outdoor patio heater so that you can enjoy it more.
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• Afternoon Tea
Be like the Dowager Countess with a traditional veranda matched with either white iron or wooden-themed antique tables and chairs. Drape the table with a cream coloured floral tablecloth (you can also have it bare) and add cream colour floral silk throw pillows. The table wouldn’t be complete without a regal tea set. You choose a white tea set with flowered embellishments paired with your finest silverware. You can surround your veranda with potted plants and other ornaments to make it the finest afternoon rest you can ever have.
• Shades of Beige
This one is inspired by the Lord and Lady Grantham. Beige colours underneath a warm coloured veranda set the mood in for a morning stroll (or sit down). Beige coloured furniture coupled with white to very light brown throw pillows (make it a good mix of round and square shaped pillows) invite warmth and serenity. Add a thin flower vase with a single carnation in the middle of the table and perhaps add a leather bound book. You can also add a brown finished lantern on a wall or on the ground for a nice touch.
There you have it. Design ideas inspired by the elite and grandeur that is Downton Abbey. In all honestly, it’s relatively easy to design a cosy atmosphere for your veranda. But what makes it more rejuvenating will be the scenery it will give you, specifically of the scene of the garden you nurtured to life.
Now why not take the time and pick out a lovely spot that has the best view of your garden. You deserve it and it will be worth it.