In honor of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's birthday (and Sherlock Holmes Day) on May 22, 'Sherlock' production designer Arwel Jones tells how to get the look of the show's signature wallpapers.
Production designer Arwel Wyn Jones has a reputation for transforming a room in one fell swoop. Since 2010, Steven Mofatt and Mark Gatiss's British TV series Sherlock has popularized Jones’s signature standout wallpaper selections, an obsession for many interior-minded Sherlockians.
Those seeking to mimic the look of the sets on the hit show starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman can reach for a 1959 Le Corbusier armchair or skull-print art similar to John Pinkerton's iconic painting, but a key detail that is harder to synch up from a screenshot is the eye-catching wallpaper.
"I've used everything from DIY (from home improvement stores) to antique and handmade papers," Jones tells The Hollywood Reporter. "It's more to do with the pattern and color than exclusivity."
So in the spirit of Sherlock Holmes Day (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's birthday) on May 22, Jones helped round up a meticulous match for five key Sherlock wallpaper patterns to solve this lingering decor mystery.
Good taste is always in style and flock (the gold-standard for wallpaper) is having a resurgence--most recently in Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock living room. Jones considers the "iconic" status of this pattern "a personal triumph," adding, "Everyone was in love with this wallpaper!" It suits the low-lit interiors of a bachelor pad with "the show's mix of modern meets old" aesthetic.
Zoffany's Navarre pattern is a large-scale flock of a dark chocolate fleur-de-lys motif ($155 per roll) within a trellis pattern as intricate as the workings of Sherlock's mind. For similar flocks try Designer Wallcoverings or Walnut Wallpaper .
The devil's in the details (literally) with darker themes and colors for dramatic walls. What better design for a high-end dominatrix? Irene Adler's (Lara Pulver's) bedroom is papered with Timorous Beasties' Devil Damask ($295 per roll) in black on carbon with a devil mask motif that plays off Adler's mysterious vibe. Jones says, "Once you know the cast, you can start to decorate." Season 2, episode 1 ( "A Scandal in Belgravia") was Emmy-nominated for outstanding art direction for a miniseries or movie.
The transformative powers of geometric patterns and spiraling shapes instantly add interest and dimension to a room.
Harlequin's Vortex pattern in mink ($187 per roll) can be seen in the mind-bending season 3, episode 3 ("His Last Vow"). The trippy graphic design demands close attention.
Watson's (Martin Freeman's) living room wallpaper is a fan favorite. For the record, Jones confirms that he turned again to Harlequin for the now-discontinued Amaranta pattern (still available for $33.95 per roll at fruugo.us) on a burgundy background embellished with a gold metallic branch and foliage motif. Depicting a forest scene, it gives the traditional floral style a modern twist.
Bringing the outside in, leafy botanical and tropical plant patterns are having a resurgence in interiors. From seasons 1 to 4, Baker Street's lower level was decorated with retro brown bamboo flock wallpaper by industry veteran Trevor Howsam. We found a similar flocked bamboo patterned paper by GP&J Baker ($69.99 per roll) at decoratorsbest.com.