Traditional Design Style, What You Need To Know

Design Style Series

Traditional Design Style, What You Need To Know

You probably grew up in a home that was decorated in traditional style and didn’t even know it.  Matching furniture, two of everything, brass and bronze accents.  Sound familiar?  Traditional design is a nod to 18th century England and the beauty and refinement you would have found there.  It’s a wonderfully classic style that with a few updates survives to this day.

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What you need to know to decorate with traditional style


Let’s break down the elements of Traditional Style

Traditional Style Fabric

You would typically see fussy florals, stripes, or intricate patterns.  These fabrics weren’t just used for upholstery, but also used for window treatments so that everything matched.  Deep burgundies, blues, and browns made the spaces warm and inviting.  Now, if you still like these patterns, no worries.  Adding them to your space in small doses would be a great vintage touch to your traditional space.

traditional fabrics from the 1800's

Traditional fabrics today are less fussy and more modern.  Burgundies, blues and browns are still characteristic of traditional style, but to make it look more current and trendy, think azure and cobalt blue, ruby and crimson, or coffee and wheat.

Current traditional fabric

Traditional Style Furniture

Traditional style furniture was ornate with high profiles and dark woods.  Although they didn’t look comfortable, the deep seats and high backs made it easy to sit and visit with friends and family.  Today’s styles can be just as ornate (if you’re into that sort of thing) or more casual with less embellishment.  Deep seats and comfy cushions make it great for taking a nap or curling up with a good book.

Dark woods and simple fabric designs make traditional style more current for today's interiors

Traditional Style Decor Items

Traditional Style is all about symmetry and balance, everything matches and creates a space that is comfortable, warm, and inviting.  Think in “sets” of items.  Two of everything is a great rule when decorating in traditional style.  Brass and bronze decor bring character to the space when used in lighting and wall decor.



Traditional style pillows, lanterns, and mirrors

Traditional Style Architectural Elements

Traditional style has some of the most graceful and elegant architectural elements.  Crown molding and board and batten give a traditional space character.  Built in book cases make a traditional space feel cozy and inviting.

traditional design style uses built in bookcases, crown molding, coffered ceilings to bring character into a space

Today’s traditional style doesn’t have to look or feel like your parent’s home.  Using current style decor items, paint colors, and fabrics will make your traditional space a space you love to be in!  Above all, stay true to your style and only have decor you love!

Is your design style traditional?  What are your favorite traditional decor items, I would love to hear all about it in the comments below!

Are you unsure what your design style is?  Take my quiz and find out and be on your way to creating a space you will love!

If you like this post, I am sure you will like my post on industrial style.

Until next time,


Shop my traditional style picks from Target

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  • Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Susanne – this is a great overview of traditional style, and good ideas on how to update it, without losing the richness and comfort. I do have an influence of traditional style from my Grandmother, and it finds it’s way into my own personal style. Just yesterday I was drooling over Ralph Lauren fabric at Calico Corners. Thank you for these resources and inspiration!

    • Reply
      June 8, 2017 at 9:28 pm

      Thanks Kristine! I feel like traditional style gets a bad rap nowadays, but it can be so much fun!

  • Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 11:24 am

    What a great post! I will be sharing this with some of my clients. Also, this would be great in my linky party. Here is the link if you would like to add this post. If you have any questions let me know. Thanks!

    • Reply
      June 8, 2017 at 9:27 pm

      Thanks Linda! I popped over and linked up 🙂

  • Reply
    June 8, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    Great post Susanne! I guess I have a little traditional in me. But I jazz it up with hats and drums.

    • Reply
      June 8, 2017 at 9:26 pm

      YeSSsSS to hats and drums 🙂

  • Reply
    Jessica Devlin Design
    June 12, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    Love this post! it’s exactly how my aunt decorates everything! I love how you broke it all down for us too!

    • Reply
      June 12, 2017 at 7:34 pm

      Thank you for visiting Jessica! I look around and I have elements of traditional style in my home 🙂

  • Reply
    Janice Thomas
    June 13, 2017 at 8:31 am

    I don’t know why I always think of traditional as dated. But after seeing this I’m convinced it’s not!
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      June 13, 2017 at 6:09 pm

      It’s because we always think of our parents or grandparents when we think traditional, lol!

  • Reply
    Hoir Canry
    July 26, 2017 at 1:44 am

    Thank for changing my perspective 🙂

    • Reply
      July 26, 2017 at 7:57 am

      Glad I could help 😉

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