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11 Traditional Interior Design Ideas (with Pictures)

Traditional Interior Design_Max Vakhtbovych_Pexels

As modern, ultramodern, and boho designs become more popular, it has given rise to an opposite reaction. A lot of people are exploring traditional designs for their interior spaces. While many people are getting cleaner, more minimalist, and more modern, some people yearn for the warmth and familiarity of a traditional home.

There are many different ways to add traditional design touches to your home. If you are someone looking to make their home feel more classic and traditional, these suggestions will help give you the inspiration you need to craft your own personalized design. Here are 11 interior design ideas to help kick start your next project.

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The Top 11 Traditional Interior Design Ideas

1. Utilize Symmetry

Traditional rooms use a lot of symmetry to create iconic looks. A space will be flanked by identical bookshelves, matching end tables, symmetrical lamps, or a pair of chairs. A room that utilizes symmetry gains a sense of balance that remains a staple for traditional design.

Buying things in pairs and ensuring that two sides of a room remain similar and balanced is a surefire way to create a timeless look. Symmetry is a stark contrast to the haphazard boho and minimalist designs that dominate today’s philosophy.

2. Feature Traditional Furniture

Another easy way to tilt a room towards traditional style is to use furniture in the traditional style. Brightly colored seating, deep armchairs, and dark wood tables are just some of the ways to help mold a space into a more classic look.

Traditional furniture can be antique, retro, or modern recreations of old-school pieces. You can even give the furniture in smaller spaces an upgrade by using retro vanities, large headboards, and cupboards to turn any room into a traditional paradise. Furniture is highly customizable and can be added to nearly any space for a fresh look.

3. Create A Warm Welcome

One of the gathering places in a traditional home was the foyer or the entryway. Entry spaces were designed to be functional, elegant, and opulent. The foyer was the space where a person’s home and family would make their first impression.

Traditional foyers are warm and welcoming and show off some of the homeowner’s style. There should be a space for coats, a spot for shoes, a key tray, and other amenities. It is the place where you will greet guests and talk to strangers. Some foyers might even have a space for drinks such as brandy or coffee, even a liquor cabinet. A welcoming foyer is a timeless way to make a traditional first impression in your home.

4. Show Off Your Collection

Curio cabinets make excellent focal points for any traditional space. A curio cabinet (or shelf) displays a collection as part of a room’s overall look. These collections can be anything from books to steins to silver spoons. A collection adds a dimension that is both unified and varied.

A large collection of books can really add to the feel of a space. People back in the day collected a lot of different things and proudly displayed them in their homes. Displaying your own collection is a great homage to those days, as well as a design statement. It allows you to show off a part of yourself while enhancing a traditional look.

5. Contrast Dark Wood with White

One of the best color combinations for a traditional space is dark wood paired with white. This can be used in many different rooms, including the bathrooms, bedrooms, and kitchen. A wood headboard can be the focal point of a white bedroom. A dark vanity can anchor a white bathroom. Another great way to incorporate this look is to use stained trim rather than white trim. Stained trim in a white space truly frames a room and enhances the traditional look you crave.

Lots of old and antique furniture was made from dark hardwoods and then put into whitewashed spaces. This look persisted through the 19th and early 20th centuries and continues to be a recognizable look today.

6. Retain Dens and Other Traditional Spaces

Modern homes do their best to eliminate as many rooms and walls as possible. Most homes now only have bedrooms, kitchens, and open living spaces. Everything is open. Traditional homes have more rooms and spaces that have largely fallen out of style. Retain dens, libraries, mud rooms, and traditional dining rooms to maintain a traditional feel. Having small, cozy rooms is a hallmark of a traditional home.

Each room can be decorated in its own style. A brightly colored living room might sit next to a small dark den with a lot of wood and a fireplace. A modern kitchen might sit beside a traditional dining room with large, winged chairs. The possibilities are nearly endless.

7. Use Antiques as Accents

One of the staples of traditional design philosophy is using unique antiques as accents and centerpieces. An old piece of inherited furniture can be used as a focal point in a living room. Antique cabinets or shelves make great curio cases. A heavy end table can bring some dark wood to a bright space.

The best part about using antiques in a traditional design is that it is flexible and fun. The antiques can reflect your hobbies, family history, heritage, and more. Looking for the perfect piece to tie a room together can take weeks or months, but when you find it, the payoff is huge. Antiques give designers and homeowners a ton of versatility in their designs and aesthetics.

8. Install Candelabras and Globe Lights

Traditional lighting fixtures eschew the more eclectic offerings of modern design for traditional candelabras, chandeliers, and globe lights that were found in homes a century ago. A dining room can go from basic to traditional with the addition of a classic chandelier. Bathrooms with old-school globe lights instantly feel retro. Simple candelabras for hallways, foyers, and living rooms tie everything together and anchor the aesthetic firmly in the traditional realm.

Today, lighting continues to get weirder, bigger, and brighter. Many people are using it as a centerpiece for their designs. Traditional lighting can do the same thing for a more classic appearance.

9. Go for Maximalist, Not Minimalist

One of the staples of modern and ultramodern design is a minimalist aesthetic. Minimalism arose as a contrast to the maximalist design philosophy that was popular in more traditional homes. Maximalist design fills a space with furniture, art, rugs, accent pieces, antiques, and shelves filled with collectibles and knick-knacks. The goal is to fill a space as much as possible without it feeling cluttered, non-functional, or overwhelming.

Using a maximalist design will instantly set your space apart from the clean, minimalist designs popular in modern homes. Maximalism also gives you the flexibility to show off your unique pieces and style with the art and antiques that are featured.

10. Don’t Forget the Trim

Trimming out a room with traditional molding can truly transform it. Traditional molding includes large crown molding, rosettes, and fluted casing. Adding these touches will put a room over the top. Rosettes make for tasteful traditional accents that can be added to the corners of your door casing. Adding crown molding to a living or dining room will immediately hammer home the traditional feel of your design.

Adding molding is relatively affordable when it comes to redesigning a space. Molding runs anywhere from $1 to $2 a linear foot, but the amount of flavor and character it can add to a room is priceless.

11. Lean into Textiles and Upholstery

One thing that can quickly take a room from modern to traditional is the use of textiles. Large, thick curtains instantly take a room back in time. Utilizing stylish throw pillows, thick patterned upholstery, and raised rugs can also help soften a room. Textiles can be added as accents to help soften and warm up a space. Even something as simple as swapping out blinds for curtains can help bring out the traditional feeling of a space.

Many people do not think about upholstery or textiles when they walk into a space but making these subtle changes can create a big difference in style and feel.

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Don’t Forget: True Traditional Takes Time

Building a truly traditional space that is both coherent and personal takes time. Modern design, by comparison, is relatively quick and easy to pull off. The modern design aims to subtract rather than add, and that is usually easier to achieve. A traditional space with a good collection of antiques, artwork, textiles, and furniture will take time to pull together. And that is perfectly alright.

A traditional design that has been handcrafted by you over a period of months or years will be truly spectacular. Looking for the perfect antiques or collectibles can be a fun endeavor. The end result will be something completely unique and personal to you. Do not rush that kind of excellence.

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Whether you simply want to add thicker curtains to a cozy living room or revamp your traditional dining space, there are plenty of ideas here to help create a warm and inviting traditional look. Traditional designs are popular because they are timeless and classic. At the same time, other styles come and go, and traditional sticks around forever, even if it is not the trendiest style at any given time.

Featured Image Credit: Max Vakhtbovych, Pexels


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