HBO's Game of Thrones is one of the most expensive shows in the history of television, with a reported budget of over $10 million per episode. That said, showrunners make sure to utilize every penny to produce the most authentic-looking set design and costumes, not just for the main characters, but for the hundreds of people who make up the cast every season.
The task of being in the costume department is taxing and tedious. Each episode and through the entire season (and coming shows), costumes and props should remain consistent in order to maintain the fantasy element of the show, across the different cultures in the Seven Kingdoms. Quite notably, the Starks and the men from the Night's Watch dress a whole lot differently from those residing in King's Landing. Costume designers look to different places to make each garment look real and to have distinguished and unique feel depending on the terrain and climate in the Westeros regions.
Michele Clapton, one of GoT's costume designers, gave a talk at the Getty Museum last year where she discussed where they source materials for the show. There, she divulged that the Night's Watch members' capes, including Jon Snow's, were actually made from IKEA rugs.
"We take anything we can. We cut, and then we shaved them, and then we added strong leather straps, and then break [them] down, which is like a religion on Game of Thrones. Here they were waxed and frosted so that they actually belonged to the landscape," she says.
Breakdown is a technique in costume design where items are dirtied, beaten, and distressed to make them appear old or worn down. This process makes the fur capes in GoT look like real pelts to pass off as medieval clothes.
Watch the full Ikea rug hack below.