Traditional style has stood the test of time for one simple reason – comfort. Elegant shapes, refined textiles, and a charmingly predictable sense of order. Therefore, make traditional style one that is always warm and welcoming. While decorating trends may change, traditional living rooms will always be in style.
Traditional design can be tricky because if you use the wrong finishes it can quickly look dated. The main finishes to avoid are polished brass (too 80’s) and chrome (too contemporary). Instead look for more muted metals that have a nice patina. Thus, like the ones used in this traditional living room from Dayna Kaitlin Interiors. Think oil rubbed bronze and ever so slightly tarnished silver.
One of the hallmarks of traditional style is symmetry. While rooms aren’t always made up of perfect mirror images. Hence, they are usually very well-balanced, both in terms of furniture and architecture. Notice in this traditional living room by Cameron Mobley Interior Design. Thus, although the armchairs are completely different from one another. Hence, they consist of similar visual weight, balancing each other out and maintaining the symmetry of the space.
A giant stone fireplace is the perfect starting point for a comfortable, traditionally decorated living room. Since traditional rooms rely on balance and symmetry, having such a distinct focal point to arrange furniture around is ideal. Designer Kim Regas used muted neutrals, soft textiles and inviting furniture to create a feeling of relaxed elegance.
If there’s one thing you can count on in traditional rooms it’s furniture with curved edges. While you may see a square or rectangular side or coffee table, the majority of pieces (particularly seating) will have soft edges and curved details. Whether it’s the arms of a sofa or chair, a demilune table, or a carved console, there’s a softness to furniture that gives traditional rooms an aura of relaxation. In this room from Stratus Group, you can see it in the seating, the light fixtures, and the clock.
One of the trademarks of traditional design is (what some people consider to be) fussy details. These details are represented in this room by Gray Walker Interiors by the ruffled decoration at the top of the window treatments and the fringe at the bottom of the armchairs. When used in moderation these types of embellishments add just the right amount of ornamentation. When it comes to traditional rooms a little fuss never hurt anyone!
Nothing says traditional like a room with mahogany or cherry paneled walls. Different from the cheap veneer paneling popular in the 1970s, the solid wood, rich color, and detailed millwork, like in this room from PFA Design Group, is a hallmark of the traditional style.
While it’s normal to see a fair bit of color in traditional living rooms, an all neutral space like this one is more than acceptable. And while a lot of frills and details are also often found in traditional rooms, they are not mandatory. This room, designed by Markalunas Architecture Group, is more demure than most traditional spaces, but still fits in thanks to the architecture, materials, and symmetrical furniture arrangements.
While some say that the majority of floral fabrics went out with the 80s, fans of this old-world style know that they’ll always have a place in traditional rooms. When combined with other traditional items like Chinoiserie antiques and large-scale gilt mirrors, floral fabrics can truly shine, as evidenced in this classic living room by J. Stephens Interiors.
Just because a room is traditional it doesn’t mean there isn’t room for a great modern piece. This classic living room designed by Robinson Home is traditional in almost every way, but the lucite coffee table adds a modern uplift which pulls it into the present.
Traditional style is often associated with grand spaces, but there’s no reason why a smaller space can’t be decorated in an elegant, traditional way. This room has very high ceilings but not a lot of floor space, so designer Amanda Carol substituted a coffee table for two stools, used large-scale art to balance out the window, and incorporated tall millwork over the mantel to draw the eye upwards. The result is a somewhat small space that appears much grander than it really is.