Design Styles : : Traditional

Traditional style highlights the finest in historical detail spanning centuries and countries the world over. Some of the more familiar traditional influences of the 18th and 19th centuries include neoclassical, Greek revival, French provincial, Georgian and regency.

A traditionally furnished room is best described a stately yet comfortable. Elements such as handcrafted millwork, luxurious textiles, rich colors, beautifully turned furniture pieces with elegant lines define this enduring design style. All this and more contribute to a traditional room’s trademark look and feel.

Symmetry is a subtle but effective principle in traditional design. Everything from architecture and furniture arrangement to the painstaking placement of accessories is based on the logical model of balance and order. While important to traditional style, designers sometimes stray from the strict definition of symmetry to create a space that caters to today’s more relaxed lifestyle.

To master the art of symmetry in a living room, position seating pieces across from each other to create balance. A fireplace, artwork, television or picture window can serve as the room’s focal point and is best situated at either end of the conversation group. Use lamps, plants and side tables in pairs to flank a sofa, fireplace or a built-in bookcase. Maintain symmetry when hanging artwork by centering the pieces horizontally and vertically on either side of a center point.

Pattern and Hue
Choose pleasing colors for a traditional space. Avoid extremes and stay with similar wall colors when moving from room to room. As far as fabrics go, many familiar patterns work well in traditional rooms. Florals, damasks, toiles, paisleys, stripes and plaids are all solid choices. You can save the abstracts and polka dots for another time and place.

Rich Wood Tones
From a Queen Anne dining set in mahogany to dark walnut columns, beautiful wood grain and elaborate turnings are an essential element of traditional style. Traditional wood furniture features details like barley twists, curves, bun feet and ornamental carving, which give these time-honored pieces graceful movement that modern lines can’t match.

You often see wood furniture painted to create an antique or weathered finish. In a traditional setting it’s best to leave the wood in its natural state. Rich wood tones provide just the right amount of warmth and elegance keeping it true to the style.

Windows and Floors
Understated window treatments are best suited for traditional spaces. Anything too ornate takes away from the beauty of the architecture and furnishings. Layering natural woven shades or gossamer sheers under simple panels of linen, silk or velvet create classic perfection. Shutters are also a traditional option for a library, dining or sitting room.

Traditional rugs are always in style and are the design standard in the world of interiors.Styles in the traditional realm include all too familiar Persians and Orientals but Aubussons and Axminsters are equally suitable accents in traditional spaces.

Choose refined pieces and avoid over ornamentation. Keep accessories to a few carefully curated items. When arranging accessories, focus on simplicity and place items in groups to create simple vignettes on bookcases and side tables. If you are a collector, pick a few favorites and rotate them every few months to maintain a clean and uncluttered appearance.


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