When constructing or remodeling your home, your first step is to decide on the style and tone you want for your home and for specific rooms. The options are limitless, but most designs lean either toward the minimalist side of the spectrum, with clean lines, open space, and solid colors; or to the traditional side, with comfortable furnishings, busy patterns, and classic callback pieces that combine to give a welcoming ambience.
It’s this second style we’ll be targeting in this article. The traditional style has retained its popularity over the years because of the cozy, lived-in air it provides, and its stylish dark woods and intricate details connote the class of 18th and 19th-century European homes.
If you want to pull off the traditional look in your home, there are, of course, a variety of ways to achieve it. But, each successful effort will have at least a few aspects which mark it as a classic example of the genre. Here are some must-have features to include in your modern traditional redecoration.
1. Accessorize with Rich, Soft Furnishings
As modern tendencies in design have turned towards simplicity and clean lines, it’s become standard to look at light colors and minimal cuts for those finishing touches that tie a room together. But going in the other direction, the ideal traditional styling will achieve a pleasing coziness that has a lot in common with the Danish hygge phenomenon of contentment and charm.
To achieve this style in your home, the tendency should be towards heavy curtains with a plush feel; once closed, these curtains can shut out the coldest winter day. Pair them with rugs that are intricately patterned; Persian or Bohemian area rugs offer some of the most outstanding examples of a traditional style. If you’re looking for a color palette, it’s hard to go wrong with warm colors. Try including burgundy as a central color, or using jewel tones like ruby and sapphire.
2. Wood Windows Add Timeless Style
For a traditional feel, there really is nothing to top the look of wood-framed windows. These windows will have a chunkier look than aluminum and often vinyl, and they’re a reminder of the comfortable designs of family homes of decades past. The one drawback to a solid wood window frame is that, exposed to the weather, they can all too easily bend out of shape, losing their look and their insulating ability. To prevent that, you can use the best paint for exterior wooden surfaces so the frames will stay fresh and in shape for a much longer period.
A smart alternative that doesn’t compromise appearance but adds durability may be to choose wood-clad windows. Though the frame’s core is made of a more durable material—usually aluminum or vinyl—it’s wrapped in wood, maintaining the integrity of the look and the structural integrity at once.
3. Period-Appropriate Furniture Is Essential
Furniture has a huge effect on the tone of a room. Traditional-style furniture is more ornate and detailed than modern or minimalist leaning. Chair frames in darker woods such as mahogany or cherry, and ideally upholstered in linen or a similar fabric, offer a classy look. Popular details in tables, chairs, and armoires include clawed feet and scalloped edges. An old-style wing chair can also work wonders for the room’s feel.
The effect of the furniture is caused almost as much by how it’s arranged as by the furniture itself, though—it should be positioned symmetrically, paired and squared off in an organized structure.
4. Classic Hardwood Floors Transcend Era
An old-fashioned glamor can be achieved with elegant carpeting, but if you want to underline the traditional style of your home, you’re probably best picking a hardwood floor. Large area rugs can deliver comfort and color accents, and your rooms will benefit from the durability and charm that comes from hardwood flooring.
What’s more, if your floor is stained, dulled, or dented over time, then it can be refinished with a minimum of fuss. The same effect can be achieved on the walls with wood paneling, which is a stylish alternative to paint or wallpaper.
5. Little Touches Make a Difference
In any style of remodel it should be remembered that, as much as large pieces of furniture or fixtures matter, the smaller elements of the design can be every bit as important in delivering a finished look. Touches like throw pillows for the sofa and chairs can give the room a pop of color and balance patterns and solid colors as needed. Leather-bound books can also give a room a feel of lived-in sophistication.
Candle sconces and figurines that are period-appropriate can make a great impact, especially arranged atop a stylish wooden-finished mantelpiece. If you choose to have a mirror above the fireplace, as many do, then choose carefully: a baroque-style gold-effect frame will work exceptionally well, but anything too ornate can also risk drawing the attention away from the rest of the room.