While we’re all awaiting the next season of events from Downton, why not host a Masterpiece of a manor party yourself? With the right background materials and props you can set the stage for an entertaining wedding, formal dance or charity event this summer.
To start, let’s agree that for castle-like buildings our Flagstone pattern is where it’s at. In flagstone you have a choice of materials: poly vinyl, corrugated paper, flat paper, and gossamer. Let’s look at the relative merits of each:
- Poly vinyl is economical, flame retardant, and tough stuff you can use outdoors. You’ll get terrific coverage on walls and you can hang light items on it.
- Flat paper covers well, you can stick light items on it and you can paint on this paper if you are so inclined. Use it to wrap a homemade cardboard fireplace (in this case, use a marble pattern and/or plain buff or gray).
- Corrugated paper looks terrific on walls and will not sag. What’s more, this is a paper you can build 3D decorations with, such as pedestals.
- Gossamer is an economical choice and easy to hang because it is light. Although it is translucent, it will look fine over walls that are fairly neutral and in fact will give you a quite realistic look.
Don’t hesitate to use more than one “flagstone” material if it works for you. A poly or paper could go on the walls – all the better for holding a cutout suit of armor every so often – and you could switch to gossamer for hanging in front of the windows.
In front of the window coverings, place the castle view panels shown at the top of this post. The panels are a magnificent 7-plus-feet tall, and free standing so you won’t have to worry about how to hang them.
Best of all, the panels are a takeoff on our highly-rated castle photo backdrop. Personalize the backdrop as a greeting banner, and select the same design in edible party favors such as mint tins and candy bars for a luxuriously customized experience.
Meanwhile, against all that gray stone you’ll need a strong secondary color to contrast with the gray. A true red is the natural choice for warming up the space, and gives you as many options in props and accents as you could hope for. Drape red, translucent gossamer from the ceiling in a tented pattern to maximize the impact of an exquisite chandelier at the center. Tack down red aisle runners as a rolled-out red carpet for guests.
Inexpensive medieval cutouts – crests, flags, pennant banners – bring a trio of bright colors to the walls, including red for continuity.
Take particular care with your tables, especially if this is a dinner party. Cover them in white satin and pull out the silver or gold plate chargers. Finish with large, sparkling glass vases of red flowers and candle arrangements using our new twisted-stem glass pillar holders, which are available in three heights for many decorating possibilities.