Get the Ken Barlow look

March 14, 2011

Firstly, apologies if you’re not from the UK or if you are from the UK but actually have a life and don’t watch trashy soaps. The following will make no sense to you at all.

‘There’s nowt quite like a trio of decorative flying ducks’, I thought, as I stood in Ken Barlow’s living room. On Friday, I had the pleasure of visiting a bizarre but accurate reconstruction of Ken and Deirdre Barlow’s terraced Coronation Street house inside Earl’s Court at the Ideal Home Show. (See a tour on As I chatted to the stylists about the trials and tribulations of scouring eBay and junk shops to find exact replicas of sideboards, ash trays and the like, my eyes were drawn to the rather lovely (well, perhaps in grander surroundings…) William Morris Windrush wallpaper (available through Morris & Co, Sanderson) on the Barlows’ walls:

UK soap set designers have a whale of a time decorating, but, alas, there are no credits, so internet forums are full of confused, lost people trying to get that gorgeous soap set ‘look’ in their own homes and other people trying to advise them as best they can. Exhibit A:

Well, I am tragic enough to know that Phil Mitchell in Eastenders has new curtains made in Sanderson’s Dandelion Clocks fabric…clearly Shirley has better taste than I thought. In fact, the old Dandelion Clocks is a favourite design in the soap sets at present; Katie Sugden in Emmerdale has the wallpaper on her walls, as does that annoying Nancy girl from Hollyoaks. Although she doesn’t look very happy about it. Exhibit B:

Talking of Hollyoaks, I was pretty devastated to see my favourite Cole & Son ‘Woods‘ wallpaper in Warren’s house* recently:

(*This may or may not actually be ‘Warren’, I might have made that up. Also, this may or may not be ‘recently’. I’ve never really seen Hollyoaks. Thankfully.) Elsewhere in Chester, there’s some elegant B&Q wallpaper (inspired by Sanderson Pillemont?) going on:

Going back to Corrie, I know this has been keeping you awake at night: Before Ashley Peacock died in that tragic tram crash and the house he shared with Clare exploded and burnt down and she ran off to France (I know), what was that [INSERT ADJECTIVE HERE] watering can wallpaper on their kitchen walls? Answer: It’s Galerie Kitchen Concepts, £26.54 a roll. (Here they are, in happier times, when Ashley nearly choked to death on a Lancashire hot pot):

Meanwhile, over in Albert Square, as Kat and Alfie mourned the death of their baby (although, as we all may or may not know or care, said baby was actually pinched by Ronnie), I couldn’t help noticing Kat’s stylish walls, papered in Cole & Son‘s Rococo Leopard. I bet she didn’t buy THAT down the market:

Queen Vic chic…coming to a magazine near you? Or maybe not. – Ellie

14 Responses to “Get the Ken Barlow look”

  1. Frances Says:

    Brilliant, well done your eagle eyes. I do find myself going off designs if I see them too many times on the TV (poor Dandelion Clocks is a case in point). I clearly need to have a budget of an Albert Square resident to get the wallpaper of my dreams…

  2. I do think it’s interesting how these rooms are papered in expensive wallpaper – surely most of these characters wouldn’t be able to afford to buy Cole and Son etc wallpaper, and would be better off with own brand replicas? Just a thought . . .

  3. Hannah Says:

    Great post! But I wonder how these characters can afford the likes of Sanderson and Cole & Son? Think you’re right though Rebecca…The Sanderson one IS actually a B&Q lookalike of a Sanderson design!

    God I love wallpaper.

    • homeshoppingspy Says:

      Hannah – you are totally right. I am going to edit this blog post now so that nobody ever knows about this deliberate mistake. Ever. E x

  4. Emma DB Says:

    The dish holding that self same hotpot is from Sainsbury’s. I have the same taste in crockery as Clare 😦

  5. Charlotte Says:

    Emmerdale is the worst for the whole wallpaper thing. I really dislike the programme anyway but hate it even more for decorating people’s houses in such an unlikely way. It makes the sets look even more set like than before

  6. TPLC Says:

    Haha you’ve obviously done some great research!

    As someone has previously stated, it’s not exactly realistic for the characters to have such costly wallpaper. But it’s TV right?!

  7. jill Says:

    great post!

  8. Charlotte Says:

    Oh this is brilliant Ellie – very funny. (Coronation Street is actually my secret vice, though I don’t admit to this very often and pretend I listen to Radio 4).

    Hmmm. I actually quite liked Ashley and Claire’s house – it was kind of young and fresh. Is it awful that I quite liked the teapots?


  9. sneet Says:

    kat and alfies great wallpaper i would like to know where to get it please

  10. Anna Crumpton Says:

    Where can I buy the hummingbird wallpaper and matching curtains as seen in Ashey and Laurels home in Emmerdale?

  11. YVONNE ADAMS Says:

    hi am so in love with kAt and alfies wallpaper its also on sky living commercials…….av now seenIT in three colours,am desperatly trying to track it down i hav learnt todaY that it is actuaally discontinued….am totally gutted …what do a do? ANY HELP AND IDEAS….XX.

  12. Sarah Says:

    Does anybody know where I can get the wallpaper showning in the main living area of Syed and Christians new flat in Eastenders?

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