How To Decorate Your House Like The Mansion In Knives Out

According to The Boston Globe, much of the murder mystery "Knives Out" was filmed on location in Massachusetts at the Ames Mansion. The mansion is in Borderland State Park in Easton, Massachusetts, and was built in the early 1900s. Now a public building that is occasionally open for tours, the home was once owned by women's rights activist and artist Blanche Ames and her husband, Harvard botany professor Oakes Ames, who was the heir to a large fortune (which is how the couple could actually afford the home).

Fans of the film are not only particularly drawn to the gloomy atmosphere of the estate, created by excellent set design, but also by the local topography and weather. "There's something about fall in New England that is just murder mystery-esque in the perfect way," director Rian Johnson told The Hollywood Reporter. While you might not be able to bottle up the dreariness of a New England afternoon, if you want to try to recreate some of the vintage murder mystery aesthetic cultivated in "Knives Out," you are in luck. Here is exactly how to do it.

Sit pretty in leather furniture

In the film, patriarch Harlan Thrombey has just turned 85 and is a very wealthy mystery novelist. His home reflects both his age, his taste, and the genre he holds so dearly. To this end, leather furniture is seen prominently throughout the film as the seat of choice in most of Harlan's personal spaces.

According to the Victoria Advocate, there are many advantages to choosing leather furniture over other upholstered options. The first reason is the pure quality of leather. Modern tanning processes are very advanced. Because of this, leather tends to last for generations with minimal wear and tear, like cracking and peeling. Leather also feels luxurious and has a signature smell associated with opulence. Including leather pieces in your home immediately elevates the space. In addition to this, leather furniture is very comfortable to sit on no matter the temperature. It is a terrible conductor of heat, so in warmer weather, it feels much cooler to the touch than upholstered alternatives.

Don't be afraid of animal prints

Harlan has hunting trophies in his office in the form of animal skins hanging on his walls. In the modern age, big game hunting is controversial, and the buying and selling of materials associated with it is illegal in some places without extensive permits and paperwork (via IFAW). To recreate the look while avoiding controversy and import fees, consider purchasing high-quality duplicates instead. Or, if you are purchasing the real thing, always double check to see how it was obtained.

According to Handmade Base, both real and faux animal skins are great to use as functional items around the home just as much as d├ęcor. For example, cow hides make great, durable floor coverings for high-traffic areas in your home, while sheepskins offer a warm, fluffy place for your feet to rest on a cold winter morning. You can also use these elements as bedspreads, or even throws for the couch in your living room. Finally, think about incorporating animal prints in other ways, like through art prints, picture frames, and lampshades.

Combine wainscotting and wallpaper for an antique look

The combination of wainscotting and wallpaper makes a classic look in any home. Typically, it's wainscotting on the bottom half of the wall with wallpaper up on the top. We see it all over the Thrombey family mansion, and it really adds an air of antique realism to the set. According to Southern Hospitality, if you want an easy DIY look that doesn't involve major renovations, there are plenty of companies out there that sell duplicate beadboard. It's essentially wallpaper, but it has the texture and look of more traditional wainscotting. By combining it with peel and stick wallpaper, you have a quick fix to really bring "Knives Out" home.

If you want to do the real thing, you can install real wainscotting, but it's just a little bit more expensive. However, it's just as easy to DIY for the especially determined and can be purchased at any local hardware store (via Full Dad Mode).

Create a patio that's to die for

Curating outdoor spaces is just as important as indoor ones. When the police interview Harlan Thrombey's home nurse, Marta, we get a glimpse of the mansion's luxurious outdoor seating area. Even in the dreary weather, it looks inviting. According to Den Garden, if you don't already have a backyard patio, even those new to DIY can usually put one together in about a weekend. You can purchase most of the items, if not all, at your local hardware store (think Lowe's, The Home Depot, Ace Hardware, etc.), and your budget doesn't need to be astronomical, either.

If you don't have much space, you can start with a smaller corner of your yard and work your way out from there. The key elements to keep in mind are a nice place to sit, some shade, and a few nice plants to liven things up. If you have space and money left over, be sure to add a table and maybe even a bird feeder for local wildlife to enjoy.

Don't be afraid to use cushions outside

Decorative cushions are a nice addition to any outdoor space. Some people might avoid including cushions on their patios because of fears of mold or dampness, but you don't need to worry about these cons anymore. According to Peters Billiards, there are now plenty of manufacturers who create cushions specially made for use outdoors. These pillows have moisture-resistant fabrics on their outsides, while their insides are filled with less absorbent materials to reduce the chance of internal rot.

However, depending on the climate you live in, you shouldn't leave cushions outside overnight, or in inclement weather. If you live somewhere with a lot of humidity and you don't have porch that covers your cushions, it's best to bring them inside if you don't want to always have a damp bottom while enjoying your morning cup of coffee on the porch ... or while you are being interviewed by police detectives over your employer's mysterious death (via Picnic Tale).

Recreate the famous knives chair

One of the most iconic pieces of set design in "Knives Out" is the large chair made entirely out of knives in the living room. According to Variety, it's not a copy of the iron throne in "Game of Thrones" and it took weeks to get it just right. "I never even looked at 'Game of Thrones,'" production designer David Crank told Variety.

To finally get the design settled, film set dresser Rebecca Greene had to go out and find a large enough structure to act as the base of the chair, then individually wire all of the knives to it. To recreate the look at home, you would be wise to follow the same sort of design process. However, remember that just like we discover at the very end of the film (no spoilers!), not all of the knives attached to the chairs are actually real. For safety's sake, it is probably best to follow suit for all the knives on your chair at home.

Use dark wood elements across each room

Older furniture tends to have darker colors, giving the space a more established feel. According to Duffield Timber, most associate dark wood with wealth, opulence, and history. However, using darker wood furniture in a space doesn't have to automatically relegate it to feeling old-fashioned or stuffy. It's quite the opposite, actually.

For example, woods like Wenge or American Black Walnut work particularly well in more modern rooms as both furniture and flooring. If you use dark wood for flooring, it adds an extra level of insulation to the floors of your home because darker wood tends to stay warmer to the touch. If you live in a colder climate like the Thrombey family does, this could be a great option. In addition to these choices, charred timber is becoming more and more popular for use in cladding, sometimes called siding. Its increased use has added benefits, like resistance to fungus and insects.

Incorporate patterned furniture into your home

You might notice a trend in older homes like the Thrombey family mansion: furniture with interesting patterns. What we might now think of as gauche or old-fashioned was in high demand during the late 1800s and early 1900s. To mimic the "Knives Out" set design at home, you can use these prints to add a splash of personality. According to Our Fifth House, the key to decorating with patterned furniture is to only pick patterns you actually like.

It's true that patterns can be polarizing, so when considering adding one to your space, most of the household needs to be able to deal with looking at it every day. From there, you have two options: choose a pattern with colors that already complement the space you have or build a room's color palette off of the upholstered item. Sometimes this choice can make itself, depending on whether you are moving into a new space, or simply find an item you like and want to add into the mix.

Heavy drapes make for a dark interior

"Knives Out" has a moody color palette which suits the murder mystery and adds to the overall spookiness of the film's ambience. If you want to recreate part of this look at home, you can use drapes to do so. According to Centurian Window Fashions, there are a few things to consider when selecting the types of window fabrics you use.

The first is density, as fabric with a heavier density will restrict the amount of light that passes through, even on the brightest of days. To recreate the gloom of "Knives Out," the thicker the fabric you select, the better. In addition to this, thicker fabric is great to use in bedrooms as it can assist in a better night's sleep. Sometimes called blackout curtains, these curtains don't actually need to be black. However, when selecting drapers worthy of a murder mystery, be sure to stick with stronger, darker colors like black, brown, gray, or blood red.

Be sure to have plenty of places to sit

The large rooms in Harlan Thrombey's mansion have plenty of places to sit. To mimic this, you'll want to select the correct amount of seats at home. According to Style by Emily Henderson, it can be difficult to strike the balance between not enough furniture and a room that is overcrowded. To start, choose the largest piece of furniture as the anchor of the room. In a living area, this is typically the couch. Next, any accent chairs should be within about 4 inches of the same height as the sofa.

When placing items, you should have one seat available at all times for each member of the household, plus another two or three seats for potential guests. If more are needed, you can bring them in from other rooms at the time, but you don't want to crowd the space for daily living. Finally, try to keep at least 42 inches between each accent chair and the couch to ensure things feel breathable.

Use sparse landscaping for a spooky look

The outside of the mansion has no flowers and very little greenery. According to Variety, most of the principal photography for "Knives Out" took place during the fall months in Massachusetts. So, the overall bleakness of the landscape had more to do with the seasons than anything. However, production designers loved the look so much, they chose the fall to film on purpose as it contributes to the spooky atmosphere.

There is no reason that you can't recreate this sparse look all year round, especially if you want your home to look more like "Knives Out." To do this, you'll want to focus on low-maintenance landscaping. It will still require some care so you don't end up with a dead lawn, which isn't the vibe of the movie, but you won't have to be on your hands and knees weeding your garden each weekend, either. You can plant slow-growing bushes like blue spirea and boxwood bushes that won't require much work and even no-mow grass (via Gardener's Path).

Art doesn't just have to hang on the walls

We see lots of three-dimensional art in nearly every room of the Thrombey family mansion. To recreate the look of "Knives Out" at home, you can start by elevating your art collection by including sculptures. According to Canvas, if you are struggling with how to include more sculpture in your home, the key is to start small. Purchase pieces that are small enough to be easily displayed on your nightstand, or even your bookshelf. This is a particularly good look, as it can help fill any unused space on the shelf so your books stop falling over.

You can use sculptures to breathe new life into spaces in a way that framed artwork simply cannot, as you can play with both texture and dimensions in new ways in this medium. Sculpture also does not have to be expensive or individually commissioned. You can start small by purchasing figurines that catch your eye at your local home goods store and branch out from there.

Every gentleman's study needs a bookcase

Harlen worked in publishing, so it makes sense his bookshelves would be nice and stocked. According to Variety, the production design team spent weeks ensuring the library looked authentic. "Our art decorator, Jeremy Woodward, took over developing and designing Harlan's books. Jeremy had this idea of designing the book covers for each decade. There was over four decades worth of books. He designed how the covers would change over time," set decorator David Schlesinger told Variety.

If you want to recreate the look at home, the best way to style your bookshelf is to start with the largest items first. This way, you can ensure that things like your encyclopedias, artwork, and globes fit on the shelves and you won't have to do any rearranging last minute (via Style Curator). From there you can decide how you would like to arrange things, whether it's in alphabetical order, by color of the cover, or even by release year.

Consider candelabras over traditional lighting

If you want your home to seem more like a spooky Gothic mansion that is worthy of a murder mystery, you should consider candelabras over traditional lighting. It's an easy swap that adds great character to a room. According to The Charlotte Observer, when purchasing a modern candelabra, you can definitely stock it with candles, but for a more reliable option, stick with candelabra light bulbs instead.

LED candelabra bulbs are now the most popular choice because they tend to be more energy efficient, brighter, and even last longer than other options. This way, you can more light to read murder mysteries like "Knives Out," while hopefully not getting caught up in your own. In addition, candelabra bulbs come in a variety of colors and finishes, including clear, tinted, or frosted. So, you have even more control over the kind of ambience the light will create in your home.