How To Decorate Your Home Like The Aunts' House In Practical Magic

Any fan of the iconic, highly underrated flick "Practical Magic" is bound to be obsessed with a few things. The spark of magic, the spooky black cats, and undoubtedly the Owen's ancestral home, or what the viewer knows to be the aunt's house in the film. It's a beautiful Victorian home built especially for the movie, and it has dazzled fans for years. So much so that it has caused those to obsess over ways to best replicate elements of the home in their own space.

What casual viewers might not know is that this house doesn't exist in real life — according to Pricey Pads, the production team rented a plot of land in the Pacific Northwest and spent six months building the house and landscaping. The New York design studio in charge of the home's design, Roman and Williams Buildings and Interiors, was inspired by various aesthetics, including centuries-old scrollwork and East Coast lighthouses, all to create this gorgeous Victorian house. Though interiors showcased throughout the movie were primarily filmed on a Hollywood soundstage or in piecemeal set designs (via HistoryLink), the Victorian Gothic and rustic stylings inside are just as enchanting, though possibly daunting to try and replicate in one's own home. Below we've broken down how to understand the Owens' aesthetic and embrace its design roots, which give it a unique charm and sense of connection.

Balance light and dark with dark neutral colors

Part of the reason why "Practical Magic" has gained a cult classic status is what some critics say is its ability to balance a multitude of tones and themes, both dark and light. Though initially marketed to be a romantic comedy, one could go so far as to say there are at least four genres present in the movie, says Collider. And just like its main characters, the Owens home contains dark and light throughout its interior design, and it marvelously balances the two.

This balance is seen both inside and outside the house, mainly achieved through the home's Victorian style, which finds solace in rich, darker tones, with an excess of sun-lit rooms. Dark, muted colors more or less defined the Victorian, which according to MasterClass, was an effort to mask the effects of smoke and ash from coal-lit homes during the time period. In the Owens' house, you see this in its dark brown wood floors, which are paired with white-washed walls or lighter colored wallpaper and soft, yet bright lighting choices. Using dark neutral colors in your spaces can help replicate this effect. Use dark, rich browns and gray tones with lighter white or cream colors — you can even use a soft green if you're looking to keep some color on your walls. If you can't paint, try this with your furniture. Use darker wood or black finishes with white or light touches, or vice versa.

Give your kitchen a farmhouse rustic makeover

Alongside its excellent balance of light and dark, the Owens' house also does a great job of balancing styles. This is seen most notably in its large communal spaces like the kitchen. The kitchen's design was important, particularly for this film and its characters, with decisions about its execution going as far as picking the perfect stove. "The AGA is almost like a shrine," said Robin Standefer, production designer of the film, in a 1998 interview in Victoria Magazine. "This is the place where they do their work; it's where they place the cauldron."

An important room in any household, the Owens' kitchen displays great farmhouse rustic features and design methods. Farmhouse style, particularly in New England, showcases beautiful patina and distressed wood beams, as designer Cheryl Rosenberg tells The Spruce. "The interiors are simple, approaching utilitarian, because farm life isn't precious or luxurious," she says, all of which can be found in the Owens' kitchen.

These farmhouse/rustic elements can easily be replicated in your own home, all with strong ties to the original design. Invest in a large apron sink and white cabinetry, or worn-in features and decor that make the room seem more familial. To go more rustic, experts at HGTV recommend showcasing distressed wood finishes, larger tables, or pieces to gather the family around.

Highlight glass everywhere

According to Salisbury Joinery, glass plays an important role in many Victorian-style homes, as the style's intricacies work well when given room to shine. The main rooms of the Owens' house, particularly the kitchen and conservatory, showcase these intricacies well in a few different ways. Glass bottles, vials, and vases are seen throughout the set, and glass cabinets are present in the kitchen, conservatory, and pantry.

The use of visual light and airiness of the shiny glass helps keep the room's balance, as the reflection of glass takes away any darkness or dullness with its sparkle (via McCarley Cabinet Company). It gives it almost an ethereal glow, adding to the overall witchy mystique. If you're unable to change the look of your cabinets, the best way to replicate this in your own home is to invest in some intricate curios or glass shelf cabinets. These pieces bring visual interest and help shine the light (no pun intended) on the pieces inside, even if they're just dishware. Simpler ways could be investing in some ornate or detailed glassware for decor or utility.

Highlight wood craftsmanship in your space

Any classic Victorian house is known to have excellent craftsmanship. However, off-shoot Victorian styles like Gothic Revivals utilize woodwork details such as spires, stained glass, pointed arch door surrounds, and iron accents to add even more visual appeal, as per the National Trust. Some great renovations that utilize Gothic details blend the old with the new to bring a historic edge to a 21st-century home (via Hooked on Houses). The Owens' house is no exception, showcasing beautiful woodwork in each room, particularly through crown molding and wood furniture, all of which give that vintage feel.

If your home isn't outfitted with great wood details, there are easy ways to remedy this breach in style. Bring in wood pieces that look great or appeal to you, whether with detailed picture frames, furniture, or new crown molding. These pieces should feature unique details — small or large — and balance the room's design.

Create your own conservatory or greenhouse

Though this idea seems daunting at first, a conservatory or greenhouse is not only iconic to the Owens' home but easier to attain than one might think. This room is seen several times within the span of "Practical Magic" and could be considered a character for the amount of life and energy it brings to the scene, and the home itself.

Though Better Homes and Gardens reports that building a greenhouse requires a lot of planning and forethought regarding your homesite, weather fluctuations, and budget, the essence of a greenhouse or conservatory is a bit easier to replicate. Many design ideas are possible for creating your own conservatory in your home, according to Real Homes, from hanging plants from the ceiling to turning your existing porch into a quasi greenhouse with an abundance of plant pots. Incorporating flowers or greenery in small glass vases or votives in a well-lit spot will make it feel like there's a conservatory in your home. Even adding furniture reminiscent of a greenhouse — maybe a metal bistro table and chairs — is a great way to bring this unique idea to the forefront.

Embrace botanical prints through art and wallpaper

The interior and exterior of the Owens' home embrace the beauty of greenery and florals, incorporating everything from vine and rose-draped lattices to flowering, colorful hydrangea bushes. Not to mention important sprigs of lavender and rosemary that every Owens woman needs in her garden. Botanicals, in general, play an important role in this witchy household, and no matter where you live, you can include them in your home as well — through design.

A great way to bring botanicals into your indoor space is through prints, art, and wallpaper. Botanical, vintage, and modern art prints are a great way to tie the film's aesthetic into the home. According to My Modern Met, illustrations of plants and flowers have been around since early civilizations, and they're known for showing the importance of herbs for remedies and scientific exploration. There is no doubt the Owens would have acquired their own art prints over their family's history. You can decorate your house with similar prints to copy their witchy aesthetic. A gallery wall of prints would bring these lovely pieces to the room's forefront, or you can subtly weave them into your existing decor by adding them sparingly around the room (via One Kings Lane).

Go bold with your walls

Many rooms in the Owens' home have at least one accent wall, and these walls don't stray away from color or prints. Examples from the film include the beautiful warm yellow tiled wall behind the stove in the kitchen or the floral print wallpaper in the living area where the coven performs the ritual. Though the colors inside the "Practical Magic" home aren't necessarily bold color-wise, choosing to do something different with your walls is in itself a bold choice, and there are dos and don'ts to make sure it's the right one. For accent walls specifically, make sure to choose the right wall, which is one that you won't mind getting a lot of attention, as per Arizona Painting Company. Or, if you prefer the whimsy of full-blown prints, take that bold approach to your own home and add wallpaper to your spaces. 

Ideal Home recommends several ideas to best fit the room with this design element, including matching wallpaper with complementary tile, paneling, and decor. To better go with the "Practical Magic" home theme, stick with dark neutral tones, florals, or warm/white tiles, ensuring that the balance of the light and dark in the space remains.

Create archways wherever you can

We've already noted that the "Practical Magic" house embraces wood and craftsmanship through its Gothic-esque accents, but it has more than just dark wood details. Certain areas of the home, such as the upstairs bedrooms and the foyer, portray Gothic Revival elements like pointed or lifted archways. These elements add a dramatic essence and remind you that you are standing in the ancestral home of a magically powerful family. The sweeping curves are beautiful, but most people assume they are only displayed on centuries-old churches or historical buildings. Surprisingly, these striking details are oh-so fun to bring into one's own home.

Today's design era leans heavily into doing what makes you happy, and for those looking to bring this movie's set into their daily world, spicing it up with dramatic archways is a good step. As noted by Archways & Ceilings, you can use arches in unexpected ways, meaning they don't have to just be over a hallway or entrance. You can also use them in wall niches, cozy alcoves, or closets. There are at least three styles of archways possible, all of which can help you do things like creating an interesting nook in an open space, or just making a walkway more interesting (via Style By Emily Henderson).

Create the vaulted ceilings and beams of your dreams

Beautiful vaulted ceilings are seen in the attic and upstairs section of the Owens' home in "Practical Magic" and are an iconic element within Victorian architecture. Vaulted ceilings were representative of wealth during this period since they contrasted against smaller homes with low ceilings, as per Bindley Hardware Co. With the Owens' house using plenty of dark wood accents, more ceiling height means larger windows and more light, finessing that balance once again. Though we can't all have dramatic ceilings, creating the illusion is easier than you think.

The best way to do so is to bring as much attention to your ceilings with architectural details, including highlighting beams, using paint, or incorporating molding. Perhaps this means painting your ceiling a brighter color to offset darker or differently colored walls. You could even go as far as to add non-weight-bearing beams to the corners of rooms or across your ceiling. These can be pieces of natural wood or faux molding, and are great for budget-conscious decorators (via Rachel Maksy).

Find your perfect pendant lighting

The Owens' home utilizes pendant lighting throughout the house, strategically creating spots of warm light and balancing its light-and-dark aesthetic. According to Fat Shack Vintage, pendent lighting was popular in the 17th and 18th centuries, especially in the French Provincial aesthetic, which was made for the wealthy gentry living in the countryside. Some examples of this aesthetic are lantern or cage lighting.

Not only are pendant lights ideal for yesterday's witch, but they're also great for today's homeowner. Pendant lights produce targeted light in smaller amounts, meaning the light is often softer and gives more of a glow, helping with keeping a moodier atmosphere (via Curated Interior). They also light up smaller spaces perfectly, making them ideal for the eco-conscious designer. If you're able to change your lighting, choose designs that feel Gothic or Victorian in nature, focusing on stained glass, iron, or crystal pieces.

Play up your heirlooms proudly

Right from its opening scene, "Practical Magic" reveals the Owens family's long history, dating back all the way to the Pilgrims. As production designer Robin Standefer told Victoria Magazine, "There is a whole world in this house and garden ... These women are outcasts and this place is their sanctuary." In their isolation from the outside world, one could say they've had plenty of time — call it centuries — to collect trinkets, oddities, and heirlooms passed down from generation to generation. Throughout the movie, you see these pieces through family portraits covering the foyer, beautifully worn in copper pots and pans in the kitchen, vases, fabrics, and much more.

These pieces give the home an overall sense of strong family connection. A great way to tie "Practical Magic" in your own home is to show off your own familial or friendship connections. You can do this through any means that you'd prefer, whether through family vacation pictures, souvenirs from your travels, or even unique and meaningful keepsakes. An underrated heirloom could be simply fabrics or blankets you've kept or handed down that are more traditional, says Art & Home. This can include velvet, damask, and brocade pieces, and you can use them as accents in the room, such as turning them into curtains or pillows.

Let out those lighthouse vibes

The location of the Owens home — though never explicitly revealed where — is set on the cliffs of an island. The tall spire of the house looks to be inspired by a lighthouse, plus its proximity to water makes fans wonder if the home was a lighthouse at one time. Just as everyone has different sides, your own witch-inspired house could also use some nautical design elements to bring the style full circle.

Bring this coastal energy indoors with island or lighthouse-inspired decor, from small shells and artwork to cooler toned colored walls that remind you of the beach. There are plenty of ways to get creative with it, too. House Beautiful recommends tons of ways to get nautical with your space, from using vintage accents like trunks or old maps, to adding stripes wherever you can. Another way to help tie in the "Practical Magic" theme further is to use wooden details, such as decorating with built-in benches, driftwood console tables, or rustic kitchen accents (via Curated Interior).

Fill out with ivy and vines

Decorating with vines or ivy isn't just perfect to replicate the "Practical Magic" aesthetic. It's also a popular trend at the moment, fulfilling those cottagecore fantasies you might not have realized you had. There are many ways to outfit your space with vines, whether simple or jungle-like. notes any room in the home could benefit from these green additions. You can use them to decorate the empty spaces along your kitchen walls, the edges of your framed art or mirror, or perhaps an entire wall in your bedroom, draped over your headboard like a fairytale bedroom suite. However, you have to decide whether you want to use real or artificial vines. Popular trailing plants are widely used to create living green walls, but depending on where you are located and the amount of sunlight you get, this might not be the most ideal. Luckily there are plenty of artificial vine styles, according to TheStreet. They require little to no maintenance, cost less, and are non-toxic for cat owners. 

Add in details everywhere

Victorian styling was highly motivated to leave no space empty. According to Ron Nathan Interiors, the art of finishing decorating was making sure every surface was covered with decorative pieces, from tables and mantles to windows and couches. Though this practice often wavered into excess, it also brought out a home's character that could be hidden behind heavy drapery and fabrics (via Quality Bath).

Watching "Practical Magic," you might notice that set designers filled each room of this home with detailed pieces that would make this set a real home. The same must be done in your own home to truly get the feeling of living in the world the film takes place. Minimalism is simply out of the question, though that doesn't mean you need to go full throttle. Curate bowls and intricate dishware to display in your kitchen. Utilize candles and vases to fill open tables and vanities, and add plenty of plants throughout the house. No detail is too big or small.