When you think of traditional home furnishings, you may recall your grandmother’s parlor, where plastic coverings pristinely preserved the lampshades and sofa arms. In reality, this type of design style symbolizes elegance, grace, and timeless comfort, and works in almost any home. The genesis of the traditional interior design dates to the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe; however, today’s interpretation of this style is versatile and appropriate for the modern family.
What is Traditional Décor?
At the heart of the pure traditional style are classic furniture silhouettes, rich wood tones, and architectural embellishments. Wing-backed chairs, carved table bases, claw feet, and heavy upholstery were combined with rich, saturated color palettes. Paired items were a hallmark of the traditional room, such as coordinated armchairs flanking the sofa, matched vases, or pairs of candlesticks displayed on an accent table. Crown mouldings, pilasters, turned posts, and carved corbels provided detail and no small degree of fuss. Fabrics were typically floral, damask, or richly hued silks or velvets. Wallpaper and heavy draperies with tasseled pullbacks were de rigueur. Lampshades were trumpet or tulip shaped, and made of pale, pleated silk (no wonder Grandmother kept the plastic on!)
In today’s updated take on the traditional style however, the stuffy details you associate with the parlor of your childhood have given way to a more modern, approachable feel that creates the perfect family gathering space. Furniture, although still of significant proportion, is less carved, less ornate, less fussy. Colors are softened and lighter, at least in feel if not in hue. Fabrics are softer and window coverings less heavy. Pieces no longer have to be matched or paired. Lampshades take on a more modern look, made of fabric that is more durable or paper and colored in any shade that complements the décor (and suits your fancy!).
Fine Furniture Details
Keep your traditional style light and approachable by minimizing clutter. Finish the room with beautiful but simple accent pillows, interesting accessories, and wall art that you love. Many of today’s traditional furniture pieces are practical as well as beautiful, offering extra storage for media, game systems, or electronics when not in use.
When considering the traditional style of interior design for your home, you may be tempted to focus only on the living room, den, or family room; however, this approach can be easily adapted to other living spaces, including bedrooms, your home office, and even the kitchen.
Traditional interior design blogs are an excellent resource for learning more about this approach to decorating your home, as are online magazines and design community websites such as Houzz.com. Use Pinterest to collect and organize photos that resonate with you, and share them with your interior design professional to provide a visual representation of your unique taste. Ultimately, a design consultant will be the most qualified to help you locate specific furniture elements and accessories that fit your budget and your family’s lifestyle, along with your vision.
If your home’s interior needs a bit of an update, consider a traditional approach to your design. It’s not just for your grandmother anymore!