We’ve got some news: traditional interior design is coming back into the mainstream. While the mid-century modern design style has been popular for quite some time, its place at the forefront of popular interior design might be fading just a bit. Why? In these unstable times, it seems we’re looking for comfort in the familiar. And what better way to soothe our collective anxiety than returning to a familiar interior design style at home. The traditional style interior design many of us saw in our parents’ or grandparents’ homes feel safe, comforting, and stable—especially during a season with so much uncertainty.
What is traditional interior design?
When you think of traditional design, you might think of your grandma’s house—where the dining room table was always set for guests, the furniture was fancy, and you definitely were not allowed to put your feet on the sofa. Or maybe your mind wanders toward the more simple, colonial take on traditional, as seen in the Hamilton set design. Or perhaps you’re a Nancy Meyers fan, and you think of the dreamy homes featured in her movies—think the interior design style featured in films like It’s Complicated to Something’s Gotta Give and Father of the Bride.
Traditional design comes to life in many different ways, but it’s all generally based on colonial or craftsman interior design styles. With these humble roots, it has an understated look despite the sometimes-formal design elements it features. It’s all about approachability and livability, with a focus on materials and forms that celebrate the skill of the craftsman. In homes with a traditional interior design style, you’ll see a lot of wood, dark leather, soft fabrics, and furniture with minimal ornamentation.
And though traditional home decor can seem somewhat predictable, it doesn’t have to be cookie-cutter. Traditional style rooms often include antique furniture and decor pieces—which actually allows you to incorporate some really unique elements into your home.
There’s a reason that traditional interior design is considered classic and timeless—as its influences come all the way back from our country’s beginnings. But that doesn’t mean the result is a dated look.
Introducing New Traditional: A New Take on an Old Design Style
In fact, today, we’re focusing on “New Traditional”—aka a slightly more streamlined and updated version of traditional interior design that’s ready to take on mid-century modern as the new trendy style on the block. While New Traditional, of course, features traditional design elements, it also has hints of trendy style updates. We’ve dreamed up a home that brings this style to life and is filled with tons of New Traditional interior design ideas you can steal. So, settle in and enjoy this home tour of our new favorite take on a traditional style!
The New Traditional Entryway
Dark walls and organic decorative accents set the tone for this traditional entryway design—not to mention the rest of the home. While it’s certainly grounded in the traditional, with the shapes and wood tones of the furniture, this entryway hints at the modern twists that you’ll find throughout this New Traditional home.
The Key Elements:
Paint an accent wall. Accent walls create a visual “moment” and are a fun, modern way to define a focal point. Instead of the light neutrals that you might find in most traditional spaces, a pop of dark paint gives these traditional furniture pieces a modern edge.
Use warm, dark wood tones. Opt for furniture in warm, dark woods. This console table has such a rich finish and adds depth to the space. It’s a great way to make a decidedly traditional first impression!
Add hints of antiques. When you think of New Traditional design, you may think of something a bit more modern. But this style is also a great place to add antique furniture pieces for a pop of something unique. Here, we’ve added an antique chair, which pairs beautifully with the traditional console.
The New Traditional Living Room
Traditional style living rooms tend to lean more formal in their layouts, but you’ll notice that this one still feels cozy and inviting. This space is perfect for curling up with a book, shared conversations, or—thanks to the two seating zones—a little of both.
The Key Elements:
Use traditional shapes and materials. When it comes to the living room design, go with classic pieces of traditional furniture—like wingback armchairs, roll-arm sofas, and a traditional floral-motif rug. Throughout this living room, you’ll also notice accents of wood and metal that feel traditional and “heavy”—but not overbearing. All of these elements help ground the space, giving it an inviting vibe. But you can add a modern twist with patterns in the upholstery, like the chairs in this design.
Create zones. We love the idea of creating two “zones” within one living space. Above, you’ll notice there’s the formal living area, but there’s also another conversation area by the fireplace for more intimate chats.
Go classic with a blue and white color palette. Blue is calming and serene. And paired with whites and creams? Absolutely classic. So, incorporate it throughout your traditional living room design. A rug is the perfect place to ground a color palette—but add pops throughout the other upholstery and decorative accents like we did here in the chairs and pillows.
The New Traditional Dining Room
On tonight’s menu: dining in traditional style! In this design we paired a traditional, rustic table with slipcovered end chairs along with traditional ladder dining chairs on the sides of the table. But a deep red wall, the light fixture, and an eclectic rug give this traditional dining room an updated vibe. It’s the perfect mix of old and new.
The Key Elements:
Opt for an updated traditional rug. While this rug leans traditional in the overall pattern, it has a more eclectic take in both the color tones and the way the pattern comes to life. This leans into the “new” element of New Traditional design.
Install an industrial light fixture. While this light fixture has the traditional-inspired candle lights, the shape and material lean more industrial. This gives a modern edge to the traditional design scheme.
Mix formal and casual. This dining room features some very formal slipcovered chairs on either end of the table. But, in between, is a much more casual dining chair style. While both of these dining chairs fall into the traditional camp, mixing them together gives a pleasant high-low feel to this space.
The New Traditional Bedroom
This bedroom is beautifully American Traditional—but it definitely has moments that celebrate that “new” take on traditional, too. You’ll notice those updated elements in the shape and finish of the spindle bed, as well as the use of two stools rather than a bench at the end of the bed. The result? A cozy, inviting, traditional bedroom design, perfect for relaxing at the beginning and end of each day!
The Key Elements:
Go symmetrical. To ground this look in the comfortable predictability of traditional design, go for a symmetrical layout. But add an unexpected twist by opting for more modern industrial sconces rather than traditional bedside table lamps.
Mix patterns. Traditional checkered pillows pair with striped shams behind and a more modern pattern in the lumbar pillow. All of these are paired with a vintage-inspired washed out rug in a traditional pattern, creating a dynamic, layered look in the bedroom design.
Add an unexpected element. Putting a bench at the end of the bed would be a very traditional design move. But, to off-set the American Traditional vibe of this bedroom, we added in a slightly unexpected element by opting for leather and wood stools instead!
Collaborate With An Interior Designer On Your Traditional Home