When you are struggling to decorate your home, taking the time to understand several basic design styles can really help narrow down a look to make creating a space you love so much easier. My “Style Made Simple” series is a once a month deep dive into one home decorating style so that you better understand what each one is and things to look for if it’s a style you’d like to try.
Today we’re taking a deep dive into Traditional homes. While this style often gets passed over as old and boring or too fussy for most of today’s families, it’s actually a somewhat misunderstood style that is actually quite appealing.
What is Traditional Style?
Traditional style is more or less what it sounds like it is. It’s classic, often warm and comforting, rooted in the traditions of the past without being overly period specific. Traditional style is rooted in 18th and 19th Century European decorating styles. Think Queen Anne or Chippendale style furniture. Traditional style decor often includes embellishments such as soft, gentle curves, piping, tufting, wing backs with no sharp edges.
While traditional style can be perceived as fussy or formal, it can also be very relaxed and comfortable. It’s actually the embodiment of comfort, harmony and order because everything feels familiar, everything matches and nothing feels overly jarring to the senses.
Traditional style is seeing a bit of a resurgence right now I think because it’s so much about being timeless over trendy. It also has the ability to evolve a bit which keeps it from ever looking dated or out of style.
What do you find in Traditional Home Décor?
Traditional home decor has a “collected over time” look about it. You don’t decorate a space in one shopping trip or in a weekend. It’s more about layering pieces that you collect over time with a mix of vintage and antique along with a few current items.
Neutral wall colors are the norm in traditional home decor. From soft warm grays to creams, beige and off-white. The color and pattern usually comes in through fabrics, rugs, accessories and furniture.
If you prefer color on the walls, muted blues, greens and even reds can also work beautifully in this style just keep in mind that nothing is ever super bold in traditional décor.
Wood Tones and Millwork
Traditional design often incorporates richer and darker wood tones. You’ll often see cherry, mahogany, walnut, and oak over the more modern lighter woods or painted furniture that you see in other styles.
And speaking of wood tones, traditional style homes often feature detailed millwork. From detailed window and door trim to wainscoting and crown molding. These details often elevante a space without feeling too fussy or formal.
Colors and Patterns
Traditional style homes often have neutral, light walls but don’t lack color and pattern. In fact, traditional style homes often layer patterns from florals and checks to stripes in saturated colors. You may even see subtle global accents.
Symmetry and Balance
In traditional style, symmetry is key. From furniture placement to the flow of a space, balance is intentionally created.
Rooms are designed to be functional and family friendly making this style a great option for many homes.
Tips for Decorating in the Traditional Style
Over the past year or so, I’ve been leaning into more of a traditional and classic style in my own home. I’m tired of feeling like I need to chase all the trends and I’m finding that traditional style makes a really great jumping off point where i can then add in non-traditional pieces that creates our own unique take that represents us. The same can be true for you.
- Stick with a neutral color palette for the walls and trim but you can expand into muted blues and greens if color is a must.
- Pay attention to furniture layout. Remember symmetry, comfort and family-friendly.
- Incorporate some antique and vintage pieces to add character and interest.
- Select furnishings that match but avoid buying every matching piece from a collection so your space has personality and not look like a furniture showroom.
- To add color and interest, go for a Persian style rug.
- Opt for furniture with rich wood tones
- Don’t be afraid to use traditional accessories like china, tablecloths, etc. just try to use sparingly to avoid too much clutter.
- Use layered window treatments.
- Mix patterns in the same color family like checks, stripes and florals.
Traditional style is probably one of the most popular and lasting styles (most of us grew up in a traditional home) yet one of the most overlooked as well. Traditional style allows a lot of room for interpretation which makes it a great style to use as a baseline to infuse your own unique personality into it.
I love it because it never goes out of style unlike many popular trends and I hope that I’ve convinced you to consider it too!
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