I’ve put this style off for so long because it’s SO loaded. The traditional interior design style can go so many different directions – preppy traditional, classic traditional, eclectic traditional, charming traditional – yet they all still are labeled traditional. Lately I’ve noticed traditionalism trending or rather reemerging, so I thought it was time to break it down.
Traditional design often times gets a bad rap for being outdated and fussy. And yes, sometimes it does feel like that, but often times traditionalism is done in a way that feels fresh. More than just fresh though, to me, a traditional space feels much like a maximalist space in the same way that you get lost in it. There’s so much to it…. It’s often misunderstood, but when it’s not, this style has the most loyal following. True traditionalists will never venture out and buy the trendy mid century modern dresser or the modern brass sconces. Once one commits to being a traditionalist, chances are they don’t venture too far.
Bottom line: A traditional space is centered around warmth and comfort. It’s always charming and welcoming to its guests. A traditional space feels familiar yet refined….. always classy.
YOU MIGHT BE A TRADITIONALIST IF:
You need symmetry.
Symmetry brings order to a space and can be done in a way that doesn’t feel predictable. I’ve always felt a need for symmetry through table lamps, end tables, art (sometimes), really through anything that can be repeated without looking boring and predictable.
A space without rich wood tones is unfinished to you.
Yes. You’ll never find a traditionalist painting an antique piece. Often times traditionalist consider themselves purists meaning they would NEVER be caught dead painting wood. Natural wood instantly makes a room feel so rich and cozy, which is what traditional design is all about.
when you find a pattern you love, you repeat it. a lot.
This can be done in a cheeky way (above and even below), which is the way I personally prefer pattern repeat. Repeating pattern in this way really adds an eclectic element to a space but the original concept is very much so traditionalism at its finest.
You need a space to feel refined and pulled together in every way. in other words, You need classy….
Walking into a space that is pulled together, which in turn feels very intentional, is refreshing. A traditional space would never want its guest to feel uneasy, so it will always feel classy in this way.
You are drawn to soft edges.
English arm roll sofas, claw-footed tables, arched doorways, wing back chairs, anything curved is usually a yes in your book. Does it mean that every piece in the space has a soft edge? No. That’s where you venture to a space feeling fussy…….. Soft edges are easy on the eyes as a sharp edge could potentially feel cold or modern. Going back to that cozy factor, traditionalism is all about it.
You love a classic antique rug. And you loved them far before everyone else in the world decided they loved them.
There are enough antique rugs to go round, no doubt, BUT you did like them before the rest of the world decided they loved them too (just saying)….
Custom, tailored window treatments…….everything.
You are an advocate for custom, tailored window treatment and can justify the price too. A custom window treatment alone can bring a space from thrifty to classic.
You love to mix patterns, particularly a mix of large and small scale patterns so the room still feels balanced.
Sure, a lot of design styles enjoy mixing patterns. Traditionalists are no different, but they do it in a wide range of ways. Classic traditionalists like to mix pattern in a subtle way, yet eclectic traditionalists mix pattern in an eclectic way….
Blue and White. Always & Forever.
Blue + white will forever = classy.
I think a lot of people are surprised to find out they might have a bit of traditionalism in them… Thoughts?
More design styles I’ve covered: