These 7 Traditional Dining Rooms are Making Us Re-Think Our Mid-Century Obsession

Mid-century modern and eclectic styles have been trending for a while—but they’re not for everyone. If you don’t love the look of modern designs, you’re in luck. Because lately we’ve been seeing traditional and classic designs come back into the spotlight!

One area, specifically, where traditional and classic interior design elements are being embraced are in dining rooms. While many open-concept homes have done away with formal dining rooms in favor of open living rooms/dining rooms, they’re far from out of style. In fact, here at Modsy we’ve recently seen a rise in formal dining room designs! While super formal dining rooms were definitely out of vogue for a while, people are returning to them, with the desire to have a nice, dedicated space to gather around the table for meals.

What is traditional interior design style?

So, let’s dig a little deeper. What is traditional style? Well, it actually encompasses several different sub-categories of interior design—including rustic, classic formal, and American traditional.

Rustic design celebrates the vintage charm of pre-industrial design styles. Some of the traditional features you’ll notice in rustic styles are natural, weathered wood combined with simple accessories, architectural fragments, or one-of-a-kind pieces. Overall, this style is comfortable, warm, and inviting.

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Classic formal relies more on antique and heirloom pieces of furniture to create an elegant, formal feel to the space. Classic formal interiors have traditional elements and expected furniture arrangements and layouts. The patterns you’ll find in these spaces are classical, like damask, floral, chinoiserie, and toile, and you’ll find them layered in furniture upholstery, drapery, and bedding.

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On the other end of the spectrum, American traditional design is a bit understated and a less formal style than other traditional options. It’s based on an older American style that pulls inspiration from colonial and craftsman interiors. In these spaces, you’ll find dark leather and upholstery or muted, woven patterns, along with dark wood furnishing with minimal ornamental details.

Explore traditional design ideas

We love that there are so many different approaches to traditional, so you can find the design sub-set that best suits your style! Want to get the look of a traditional dining room in your own home? Keep reading for seven ways to bring a traditional dining room to life!

The Style: Rustic Warmth

Rustic Warmth gives you rustic-traditional vibes with some contemporary design elements. It’s a cozy but clean look that’s an approachable, practical take on rustic-traditional style.

The Key Elements

This style is full of traditional dining room elements—like the slipcovered and spindle chairs and the trestle table. But the contemporary nod comes in with the streamlined forms of the furniture. However, the rustic materials and natural textures keep this look decidedly grounded in the traditional sphere, featuring textures from rugged wood and chunky jute to linen and antiqued metals. As for the color palette, you’ll see a lot of high-contrast neturals—which keeps this space cozy but enlivened.

It’s perfect for…

Families, since the dining table and chairs are all solid and approachable. It’s also great if you like a hint of those rustic-traditional vibes but want a more contemporary approach.

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The Style: Farmhouse Chic

Rustic and glam elements combine to create this farmhouse chic look. It’s an interior design style that’s fresh and feminine but has plenty of cozy vibes, with some definite hints of luxury throughout.

The Key Elements

Farmhouse chic relies on traditional shapes in the furniture—like wingback dining chairs and this ornate pedestal dining table. But the mix of materials is both chic and rustic, from the weathered and distressed woods to velvet, brass, and decorative nailheads. There’s also a variety of natural materials in this space, with pops of jute, seagrass, and linen. The color palette is neutral and muted, but features pops of pastel pinks, blues, and yellows to warm it up—as does the natural light flooding into this room. And with those colors comes an eclectic mix of patterns, which gives this dining area a playful edge.

It’s perfect for…

Those who love both cozy and glam styles. They may be seemingly opposite design tastes, but this room is proof that they can co-exist. In a similar vein, it’s also perfect for those who like a little luxury but also want some countryside charm.

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The Style: Timeless Traditional

This look is where traditional design and classic formal elegance meet, for a look that’s timeless and traditional. This style has a stately, formal air, giving a sense of history to the spaces it’s in. We love that it creates a livable yet polished space.

The Key Elements

Key to the timeless traditional style is choosing foundational furniture for your dining area that are in traditional or classic formal styles. You can include a lot of antiques in this style—now is the time to choose pieces with great history or interesting stories of origin. Furniture in timeless, traditional dining rooms should be in dark wood tones or even black, and will feature ornate carved details—like spindles and fluted bases (peek this petite dining table). In this type of formal space, you’ll want to go with expected, traditional layouts. A statement chandelier helps create a focal point in the space. And, for any pops of colors and patterns, keep it traditional with damask, toile, chinoiserie, and oriental rugs.

It’s perfect for…

Anyone who loves a space with timeless appeal and antique elements. This one goes out to everyone who isn’t a fan of sleek, modern spaces.

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The Style: Refined Rustic

Classic and rustic styles combine to create refined rustic. Formal styling and elegant design elements keep this look in the traditional camp, with a timeless air. But this style also carries a sense of history with its smattering of vintage touches—while still being livable and warm.

The Key Elements

This style relies on rustic materials and shapes. For a dining area, think a distressed farmhouse dining table, slipcovered chairs, an antiqued oriental rug, and spindle dining chairs. As for the layout, you’ll notice that this style tends toward the formal, traditional dining room layout that’s symmetrical and expected—giving a sense of order and curation to the space (peek this guide to learn all about dining room layouts). You can finish off this look with vintage touches, like an antique-style mirror or a vintage-inspired chandelier. An added element that helps this style shine? Tons of natural light.

It’s perfect for…

Lovers of vintage spaces who gravitate toward classic, formal polish that’s warmed up with rustic elements.

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The Style: Contemporary Connoisseur

Classic formal design is softened with transitional and contemporary design elements. While, overall, this style has classic undertones, you’ll notice a more contemporary approach to finishing touches.

The Key Elements

The contemporary connoisseur look relies on classic foundations—like formal chairs, elegant accessories (like the chandelier, mirror, and sconces), traditional patterns, and a symmetrical layout. However, none of these pieces are full-on classic; rather, they all have slightly toned-down aesthetics. In this traditional dining room, you see this in the muted color palette and the streamlined captain chairs at either end of the table, both of which make this space more approachable. However, the soft, neutral color palette also features some pops of blues to add a cheery vibe to the space and is punctuated by pops of dark metal, which add a slightly contemporary air.

It’s perfect for…

Someone who wants a classic look but wants it to still feel approachable.

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The Style: Vintage Farmhouse

Vintage Farmhouse design is a mix of American traditional and rustic design elements. The traditional side is based on the older American style we mentioned earlier, which pulls inspiration from colonial and craftsman interiors. While American traditional is a very—you guessed it—traditional style that’s not necessarily “on-trend,” it’s still one of our favorites. It has stood the test of time for good reason. This is one of the more “masculine” approaches to traditional style and effortlessly pairs rustic touches with formal shapes and stately antiques.

The Key Elements

With vintage farmhouse design, you’ll often see dark upholstery, leather, and dark wood furnishings that have minimal ornamental details. In this traditional dining area, we opted for a small, round dining table to give it a more intimate vibe. Meanwhile, the blue wingback chairs are polished, stately, and have a formal air. Subtle pops of patterns found in the art, the ginger jar in the corner, and the texture on the rug drive home that vintage feeling—as does the dreamy color combo of blues and neutrals found in those patterns and throughout the dining room. Rustic materials come through in the distressed wood dining table and the antique metal chandelier.

It’s perfect for…

Those who want to fill their home with a sense of history with antique and vintage elements but still want to keep ornamentation to a minimum.

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The Style: Comfortably Classic

Classic formal is mixed with a bit of charm in this comfortably classic design. This style features a rustic sense of warmth and coziness, with a contemporary ease and approach to styling.

The Key Elements

Rustic materials are foundational to comfortably classic design. In this space, that means a distressed rug, an antique table, and distressed wood window frames-turned-mirror. However, the linen dining chairs add a crisp, clean vibe and their shapes add a contemporary flair. The relaxed arrangement feels more welcoming and family-friendly than other traditional dining room designs—and the swap of chairs on one side for a bench only adds to this feeling. (A bench is also great if you don’t want little ones near white upholstered chairs!) Finally, plants bring this space to life and add a welcome pop of green and texture!

It’s perfect for…

Those who want a classic space that’s still family-friendly, livable, and welcoming.

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