Loyalty to traditions of the past is still strong, which is undoubtedly reflected in the interior design. However, if almost everyone has heard about the Classical style, much less is known about the Traditional one. Yet, this is not a reason to deny yourself the pleasure of creating an elegant and respectable atmosphere in your home. Thanks to this direction, the basic techniques of decoration will not seem at all difficult.
What is Traditional design?
It is believed that the Traditional style was inspired by European interiors of the 18th and 19th centuries when the Classical reigned in the homes of wealthy residents. However, even then, the classical solutions lost their eye-catching luxury and obvious pretentiousness, retaining what was most valuable – grace, elegance, comfort, and an amazing sense of the inviolability of the hearth, combined with the best examples of classical art.
The style was finally formed and recognized at the beginning of the 20th century, and today designers insist that it can be called timeless. It survived the era of brilliant, slightly extravagant Art Deco, the brightness of Eclecticism, colorful yet laconic Mid-century, and the charming sentimentality of Vintage. Even in recent decades, when Loft, Minimalism, and Scandi are fighting for leadership, it can be said with confidence that most residents of Europe and the USA grew up in traditional houses with balanced interiors, cozy individual pieces of decor, and an atmosphere of homely warmth that seems eternal.
Basic principles and key elements
Today, the term “traditional style” is usually understood as a complex system of decisions characteristic of the era of the 18th and 19th centuries. Of course, even at that time, certain details and decorative techniques became trendy. Still, they all fit perfectly into the same classical patterns and, like puzzle pieces, formed a cozy, elegant picture of stable and predictable family well-being.
Although modern life brings its own (it should be noted, very unobtrusive) adjustments to the traditional style, its principles have remained unshakable for many decades. Let’s dwell on them in a little more detail.
Colors and prints
In general, two key palettes can be noticed in traditional interiors – light and dark. In the first case, the leading role will belong to muted white, beige, cream, peach, or pale gray tones; in the second – blue, brown, and what are called precious-stone tones, that is, ruby, burgundy, sapphire, and emerald paired with exquisite golden trim.
In any case, all shades are very warm and, as they say, down to earth, and golden and brown wood tones of furniture and finishes are sure to be present in any setting. Also, today, in traditional color schemes, one can increasingly see pistachio, pale and dusty blue, light sunny yellow, sage, and mint, as well as warm and slightly flirtatious salmon.
It is also important to pay attention to the obvious love of the traditional style for the so-called classic patterns. You can use baroque patterns, floral motifs, chinoiserie, arabesques, paisley, damask, and stripes typical of the Empire style. The possibility of using more than one print is allowed, but it is advisable to stop at a maximum of three. One more thing: the closer the elements with prints (pillows, sofa upholstery, curtains, carpet, etc.), the more similar the patterns should be.
The basic interior design in the Traditional style is very similar to the Classical one, so there will be difficulties only in finding suitable materials that are not too cheap. Everything is extremely simple, but first things first.
Wall decoration options for traditional interiors are so diverse that you may have to rack your brains over the choice. As a rule, they are painted, finished with boiserie panels, or covered with wallpaper. The range of possibilities for the latter is impressive. There are baroque ornaments, empire stripes, arabesques, and even trompe l’oeil wallpapers, which are 3D images of romantic landscapes.
In addition, in the decoration of walls for a traditional design, there are many structural elements – laconic false columns, skirting boards, and moldings, which harmoniously echo the stucco ceilings.
Ceilings in traditional houses are not as spectacular and richly decorated as in the Classical ones. Still, they look no less elegant. Caissons, sockets, and stucco can be used – the more elegant and concise ones. In some cases, many opt for ordinary whitewashed ceilings or decorate them with wooden beams.
The best flooring for traditional-style rooms is, of course, good old wood parquet. You can safely choose any option for its installation, from deck flooring, diagonal deck pattern, and chevron to braid, herringbone, and more complex patterns. As for the tiles and porcelain stoneware, there is more to be discussed.
The luxurious Classical style supposes large-format tiles, including those with marble and onyx textures, as well as the so-called ceramic carpets, which are not peculiar to the Traditional style with its comfort and friendliness without any pomp and pretentiousness. Tiles in such an interior are more appropriate in the kitchen and bathroom, but if you still want to integrate this approach in the hallway or living room, choose matte porcelain stoneware with natural wood texture.
The furnishing of traditional rooms leads to the same admiration as the decoration of classical houses. However, there is much more comfort and much less solemnity and pomposity. Wood of deep saturated tones reigns here – brown and dark red armchairs, tables, and chairs with intricately curved legs, cozy sofas with whimsical back lines, and delightfully elegant consoles. For decoration, carving and metal accents with a satin texture are used, while steel is not welcome at all, and bright gold is undesirable – copper, brass, and bronze look much more interesting.
The variety of upholstered furniture types – sofas and armchairs – gives its charm to the traditional interior. Here you can see Chesterfield and Camelback models, exquisite ottomans and chaise longues, Queen Anne style armchairs, Voltaire or wingback. And all this is based on high-quality wood, beautifully curved legs, and plain or patterned upholstery made of dense textured fabric.
Lighting scenarios for the Traditional style are fully consistent with its principles – discreet chic and elegance, many curls and smooth curves, and jewelry elaboration of decorative details. The center of almost any room is a chandelier – voluminous, with a metal frame that pairs perfectly with a large number of crystal pendants.
Highly decorated sconces, exquisite floor lamps with lampshades made of expensive fabrics and pendants, and table lamps with bases worthy of the title of works of art are also considered. At the same time, the key principle for their placement is pairing – ideally, all lamps should be in pairs and in a certain symmetry. If the size of the room allows you to hang even a couple of identical chandeliers, this can be considered the standard of a traditional interior.
The interior in traditional interiors is a real celebration of textiles. There are practically no spaces where fabric elements would not be present. Sofas are decorated with soft pillows with damask or paisley patterns, cozy high-pile carpets with an oriental pattern lie on the floor, and tables in the dining room are covered with satin jacquard or tapestry tablecloths. At the same time, maximum attention is paid to the design of windows, where curtains made of dense and heavy materials (tapestry, velvet, silk) are combined with spectacular lambrequins, valances, and decorative details in the form of tassels, fringes, and luxurious cornices.
Traditional décor includes classical art objects and units embodying elegance and discreet luxury and exotic accessories as if brought (or, really brought) from the East. The classic interior set includes:
In interiors decorated in this wonderful style, decor holds a significant role – so much so that they even equip display cabinets and niches with illuminated shelves under them.
Traditional style in various rooms
The Traditional style is so cozy and organic that it can be safely chosen to decorate the whole house. Let’s take a closer look at exactly what principles and features the decoration of different rooms is based on.
In large traditional living rooms, several functional areas are usually distinguished. As a rule, this is a recreation area, where a sofa, an armchair, a coffee table, and a carpet are usually placed, a tea area with an appropriate set of furniture, and a fireplace area. By the way, a lot of attention is paid to the fireplace: the hearth is decorated with a luxurious portal, and the shelf is made wide enough to show off an elegant and expensive decor.
In general, the interior of a traditional living room is completely subject to classical principles – symmetry, pairing, thoughtfulness, visual and functional comfort.
The bedroom, decorated in the Traditional style, is a real oasis of serenity, tranquility, and beauty, in which it is pleasant to wake up. As a rule, light colors, charming and expressive finishes, and rich, multi-level lighting scenarios are chosen. It is especially pleasant to bask on a very wide and soft bed with a high luxurious headboard, a large warm blanket, and a bunch of pillows in such an environment. Finely carved nightstands and a chest of drawers or a console in the same design add harmony – just like the mandatory carpet and curtains of warm shades flowing in soft folds.
Dining room and kitchen
The traditional-style kitchen is characterized by very soothing tones of cream, light gray, and sage, which create an extremely pleasing combination with dark blue, cream, pale green, and wood kitchen cabinets with brass and bronze fittings. The selection of furniture, in this case, is not difficult. However, you have to think carefully about hiding the modern kitchen appliances that can bring serious dissonance to such a cozy atmosphere.
As for dining rooms, they are usually decorated on a large scale, and there is nothing surprising in this: this is where the whole family gathers, and such a tradition is especially valuable. The key element is, of course, a huge wooden table with a set of soft chairs. No less attention is paid to other elements – these can be sideboards and chests of drawers, stucco decoration of the ceiling and walls, spectacular mirrors, and paintings on the walls.
The traditional entrance hall is a huge field for furniture manufacturers, offering various solutions. They include elegant built-in sets, magnificently carved wardrobes, and open coat racks, not to mention dressing tables, chests of drawers for storing gloves, and coat racks for hats. A real must-have is soft banquettes or large poufs: upon entering the house, you can immediately rest your feet and relax while taking off your outerwear and shoes.
As for the palette, the designers still advise choosing light colors to make the hall more hospitable and spacious.
If you happen to have a bathtub with spectacular gilded legs at your disposal, and you have not yet figured out how to integrate it, immediately start decorating the bathroom in a Traditional style. Of course, this is all a joke, but there is a certain amount of truth in it: it is precisely such plumbing that will look most organically in such interiors.
Don’t forget about luxurious brass faucets, shower columns, and matching towel rails – the rest will be taken care of by traditional design tiles, elegant classic furniture, and a luxuriously framed mirror paired with a similar wall lamp.
Although less pompous and formal, a traditional-style office is very similar to a classic one. There is also a lot of wood, and massive furniture prevails. However, the colors are chosen lighter, the tables are not so huge, and the stone decor is replaced by photos in table frames and sophisticated figurines.
Modern Traditional style
The Traditional style is based on tradition, but this does not mean at all that change is not peculiar to it. Experts note the following changes that are characteristic of the Traditional style today:
Traditional interior: is it trendy now?
The concept of trendiness is, in principle, alien to traditional design. The fact is that it is timeless and is far from the changeable trends and ultra-fashionable solutions that everyone praises and integrates at every opportunity and then calls them, after a while, completely irrelevant.
The Traditional style has a completely different story. Such interiors symbolize classical aesthetics and harmony, home comfort, and unshakable family values. In such an atmosphere, one wants to live, work, and enjoy the warmth and beauty of life – without the desire to loudly declare oneself and one’s originality.
Why should you try this style?
Take for a reason the fact that, in our restless and difficult world, it is very important to have a corner in which warmth, peace, and the familiar balanced beauty reign. As we wrote above, many of us grew up in traditional interiors, and maintaining the atmosphere in which we grew up in childhood will definitely contribute to your positive outlook on the world.
Who is the Traditional style suitable for?
Of course, those who are used to living in a crazy rhythm and doing their best to keep up with trends will find traditional interiors a bit boring. However, we have no doubt that you will like it in the following cases:
Traditional style in different countries
It can be extremely interesting to witness the development and realities of the traditional interior in different countries. We will not talk about decorating houses this way in China or Japan: the local culture dictates its own traditions of creating an ideal homely atmosphere. However, we are sure that many from the US and Europe will find our little design tour entertaining.
Dark wood is very popular in traditional English interiors – there is a lot of it in terms of furniture, floor, and wall decoration. Consider gleaming chandeliers, tartan wallpaper, numerous hunting landscapes, and matching style portraits, and you have the most traditional setting ever.
In contrast to the UK, traditional American interiors are distinguished by an abundance of light and even pastel colors. Rounded shapes and smooth lines dominate the furniture designs. Preference is given to empire stripes or large floral prints, or even plain fabrics. Also, you can see more modern solutions in the decor, such as mirrors on belts, posters instead of paintings, and rather laconic stools instead of benches with curved legs.
The Traditional style in France is the abode of the most refined and sophisticated solutions. Here, dusty blue and soft white tones coexist with unobtrusive gilding, sofas and armchairs delight with the grace of cushions and curves of the backs, and bold notes like tables with glass tops feel charming. In addition, there is not too much furniture here, and preference is given to more miniature forms – consoles, small poufs, accent tables, and tall and narrow cabinets.
The Germans interpret the Traditional style in their own way. Everything is much simpler, more concise, and, at the same time, as sound as possible. In their houses, there is room for half-timbered elements and wooden beams combined with classic fabric or leather upholstered furniture, an abundance of green plants, and very high windows. By the way, the textile decoration of windows here is perhaps the most restrained in comparison with traditional interiors in other countries. They prefer strict straight draperies to intricate lambrequins and quite often do without tulle.
The Traditional style for Scandinavians is the same era of King Gustav, which we wrote about earlier. In Swedish houses furnished in this way, extreme simplicity, naturalness, and modesty closely coexist with obvious luxury items – mirrors in gilded frames, elegant massive chandeliers, and a couple of carved furniture options against a characteristic wooden background. At first glance, such an interior may seem empty, but you begin to fully feel all its charm after a while.
The traditional interiors in Spain have not been without the influence of the warming and hospitable houses of the Mediterranean. Here, classical furniture and decor enter into a surprisingly beautiful combination with characteristic, even ethnic architectural solutions – an abundance of semicircular arches, terracotta and yellow tones, niches, and massive forging. Designers assure that such combinations have their own originality, which is impossible not to admire.
In principle, between the Traditional style in Italy and the Classical style, you can almost without hesitation put an equal sign – they are so close. The love of Italians for luxury is a well-known fact, and therefore it is fully present in their traditional interiors. This can be seen in the beige and creamy range, the stunning furnishings, and the desire to use carved decor and textiles almost on the verge of pretentiousness.
Traditional design refers to a special era in the past – the era of elegance, harmony, and nobility, with which the desire for family well-being is closely adjacent. Modern housing is often devoid of the scale of European mansions of the 19th century. Still, a more cozy yet no less refined and aesthetic style creates a perfect atmosphere that helps people feel that they are finally home.