Traditional Design: 15 Ways to Give Your Home Timeless Style
Traditional style is considered timeless for a reason — symmetry, classic patterns and a conservative color palette combine for a foolproof design style that's both curated and comfortable.
Photo By: Ben Rollins
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Photo By: Photography by David Tsay; styling by Matthew Gleason
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Photo By: James Merrell (Styled by Christina Wressell)
Photo By: Stacey Brandford Photography
Photo By: John R. Wood Properties, a member of Luxury Portfolio International
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French design plays a big part in traditional style, particularly the furniture styles that were popular during the reigns of Louis 13-16. In this polished entryway, a fauteuil, or open-arm chair, is paired with a console table; both pieces feature Louis XVI (or 16) style, also known as Neoclassical. The straight fluted legs were a break from the curvy legs of Louis XV and harken back to ancient Greek and Roman design. We can also attribute the widespread appeal of parquet floors to Louis XIV, his use of it throughout Versailles made it all the rage in grand European homes.
Incorporate Period Pieces
The centerpiece of this bedroom, designed by Sarah Richardson, is a traditional four-poster bed. Introduced in the 15th century, the poster bed's original purpose was to support fabric hangings that, when closed, reduced drafts and kept the sleepers warm. Even without the functional draperies, the bed's fashionable form has charmed homeowners through the centuries, ensuring its popularity today. HGTV Magazine shares a tour of Sarah's timeless home.
Symmetry is Key
French doors open up to a space is that is all about balance. A formal seating arrangement of Windsor chairs surrounding a large farmhouse table initiates conversation in this classic blue dining room. A hutch with plate railing is perfect for showing off the homeowners' Staffordshire china.
In this light and airy entryway, bright white balusters pair with a gleaming black railing for look that's simple, clean and always on-trend. An artful arrangement of black-and-white family photos personalize the look while a wool runner adds softness to the hardwood steps. Wool was chosen for its timeless appeal and durability. See more pics of this home, that was featured in HGTV Magazine.
Black-and-white toile wallpaper sets the traditional tone in this open entryway and dining room. An antique dropleaf table is paired with black Windsor chairs, which got their start as garden chairs for Windsor castle. Because of its light weight and portability, the Windsor chair became a popular seating option both indoors and out throughout England. Later, English ex-pats brought the timeless chair to America where the look has remained popular to this day.
Choose Timeless Furniture
Traditional style feels predictable in a good way, like stepping into a room that's comfortable and welcoming. For this dining room, upholtered chairs, which feature complementary fabrics and a painted frame, are paired with a glossy light wood table. A matching buffet provides storage as well as an elegant place to serve food.
Display Your Collection
The display in this serene bedroom proves the power of a well-planned gallery wall. Homeowner Laura Burleson hit local flea markets to pull together a mismatched grouping of creamware plates, platters and saucers to create the look. For far less than the cost of a standard framed print, the plates beautifully fill the space above the bed and create an interesting focal point. Take a tour of Laura's home, that was featured in HGTV Magazine.
Pretty Patterned Paper
A signature look in traditional design, patterned wall coverings began in Europe as tapestries. The thick woven fabrics acted as both insulation and artwork, but around the 16th century, block-printed wallpaper became the preferred way to dress your walls. Here, designer Sarah Richardson adds a bit of the timeless look by backing a colorful fabric with sizing, then applying it to the walls above the dining room's white-trimmed wainscot.
Rely on Antiques
A surefire way to create traditional style is to bring in antiques. A beautifully painted antique sideboard with bail handles is paired with a black-and-white photo gallery. Chair railing creates a natural divide to use two different wallpapers, a contemporary twist on the traditional wall coverings.
All in the Details
Beautiful ornamentation feels right at home in traditional design. Here, An elegant white desk, featuring classically curved legs, leaf molding motifs and ornate rosettes, is transformed into a long, open bathroom vanity. Adding a classic touch is the gray-and-white marble backsplash with ogee edge.
Take the Style Overhead
Popular in Old World architecture, coffered ceilings have found renewed interest with today's traditionalists. The raised box detail are an easy way to add architectural interest to any formal space. Here, grasscloth panels fitted inside each coffer lend texture and color.
Add Drama With Architecture
Carved wood panels and moldings are a hallmark of traditional style. Whether ornate or streamlined, they're a surefire way to give even a small space a more upscale look. And, of course, no traditional room is complete without a crystal chandelier.
Grounded in Tradition
Classic shapes and materials are used to create a chic vignette on this dressing table. Used as a symbol of immortality, the urn is a traditional shape that was often found in cemeteries or monuments. Though silver trays may have gotten their start as tea servers in the late 1700s, they quickly became a popular accessory in interior design.
Timeless materials bring a traditional vibe to this formal living room. Grasscloth covers the walls, while windows are dressed with classic curtains and scalloped valances. Shiny metals, like chrome, don't have a place in traditional design. Look for warm bronzes, golds and coppers to add sparkle to the space.
Bursting With Ornamentation
Architectural details, like Corinthian columns and elaborate moldings, make a dramatic yet formal statement in this bedroom and sitting room. A beautiful chandelier hangs above a four-poster bed, while Oriental area rugs, a true classic, bring warmth to the hardwood floors.