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Opposites Attract: 15 Ways to Make Modern Traditional Design Work

You’ve heard that opposites attract, right? Well, it’s just as true in style as in love! We get asked how to combine modern and traditional furniture all the time. So many people want to know how to merge these two styles without their space looking jumbled and confused. Other people wonder if it’s even possible for these two styles to co-exist!

So, can you mix modern and traditional styles? Absolutely. And there’s not one right way to do it. Unlike more “pure” styles like mid-century modern or bohemian, modern traditional decor can take on many different looks and be done in so many ways. Of course, endless possibilities can feel overwhelming. So, today we’re sharing 15 tips on how to bring a modern traditional home to life! Find the looks you love below and use the tips to bring modern traditional style into your space!

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1. Go for a Traditional Layout

Symmetrical layouts are a huge part of traditional decor. Embracing this design principle in your room’s design can give your space a traditional feel, even if the furniture is not super classic. In this space, the furniture leans more contemporary, with hints of traditional design elements balanced by sleek forms. However, the symmetrical layout gives the room a formal air and feels very traditional. This is a simple, sneaky way to merge modern and traditional design.

You could also do the opposite and arrange traditional furniture in an asymmetrical layout!

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2. Remix Traditional Forms

Look for furniture that has traditional silhouettes or classic-inspired shapes but that have been remixed in a fresh and modern way, with clean, sleek lines. Pieces wrought-iron beds are a staple of classic design. But if you want to blend modern and traditional decor, you can take the idea of a classic piece and give it a modern facelift by removing ornate details and going for a cleaner silhouette. The bed pictured here was brought to life in a more contemporary, streamlined form—making it feel both modern and traditional at the same time.

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3. Layer Traditional Furniture Over a Modern Rug

A great way to create a modern traditional living room or bedroom? Choosing more traditional furniture forms, but layering a modern rug beneath. In this bedroom, we paired a bold, geometric rug (that feels decidedly modern) with a traditional four-poster bed. The combination works because the other decor in the room is relatively simple, letting these two statement pieces do the talking.

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modern traditional decor with vibrant rug

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4. Ground Mod Furniture With a Vintage Rug

On the other hand, you could also start with modern furniture, paired with a vintage-inspired rug! (The approach you take simply depends on if you’re more drawn to modern or traditional furniture forms.) Vintage patterns, like what you see on the rug above, makes a big statement in a room—helping set the tone of the whole space and balancing out the contemporary furniture.

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5. Insert Traditional Staples

There are certain pieces of furniture that are touchstones of traditional design—slipcovered sofas and wingback chairs being two staples. Integrating iconic pieces like these in an otherwise modern space is a perfect way to bridge the gap between old and new, traditional and modern.

In this living room, a slipcovered sofa and wingback chair are the foundational pieces, but everything else—from the wall color to the clean lines of the other furniture pieces—leans modern. You can modernize even further by opting for traditional pieces with a more streamlined, less ornate shape. (Like we mentioned in our second tip, above!) Here, both traditional pieces have cleaner lines, making them feel both modern and traditional at the same time.

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6. Bridge the Divide With Natural Materials

Modern design can feel very futuristic. In a modern space, you’ll see a lot of manufactured materials, like tubular steel, plastics, and plywood, which were born out of the Industrial Age. In contrast, traditional design is much older and uses more natural and hand-crafted materials like wood and leather. That may make the divide between modern and traditional styles feel wide—but the use of woven natural materials can help bridge the gap! Soft, woven materials like jute, sisal, seagrass, or cane add texture and create a neutral backdrop that helps modern and traditional pieces coexist. Think of these materials as the glue that holds these two disparate styles together!

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7. Apply Traditional Materials to Modern Forms

Like we just mentioned, traditional interior design uses more natural materials—like wood, wool, leather, and cloth—than modern design. So, a fun way to blend modern and traditional design styles is to look for pieces that use traditional materials but in very modern forms.

This dining table for example—it features gorgeous wood with live-edge detailing. This kind of wood especially, where you can see the character and graining, is decidedly traditional. But the simplicity of the design and the sleek metal legs feel very modern. The modern elements are then balanced out by the rest of the decor, which leans more elegant and classic.

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8. Opt for Antique Forms Rendered in Modern Materials

The inverse approach to the suggestion above? Keeping your forms more traditional and antique-inspired, but giving them an update through the materials with which they’re made. This is a fun way to juxtapose old and new within a single piece of furniture.

In this design, we brought this idea to life through both the sofas and the side tables. Pedestal side tables are a classic move in traditional spaces—but here, instead of wood, these tables are made of brass. (And they have a more modern foot design as well!) And then there are the sofas. They have a classical camelback shape, with a fully visible wooden base and bench seat—all typical elements of antique sofas. But the seaglass velvet upholstery? It’s decidedly modern, bringing these sofas into the 21st century with ease. (And a whole lot of style.)

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9. Insert an Iconic Modern Piece

Tulip tables were originally designed by industrial designer and architect Eero Saarinen in the 1950s. And since then, this dining table style has become an iconic symbol of modern design. When creating a modern traditional dining room, we love the idea of pairing an iconic design staple like this with other pieces that feel decidedly traditional, like these cane dining chairs. This is certainly a more eclectic approach to combining these two styles—but we think it’s a fun and bold way to mix eras and styles!

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10. Balance Traditional Foundations with Modern Accents

Something that will make a space lean traditional is choosing foundational furniture that has traditional design elements—like weathered wood, turned legs, or molding on cabinets. But we love balancing out these old-school moments with more contemporary and streamlined accents. Here, we started with a large, traditional cabinet and a weathered wood desk but balanced them out with a sleek desk chair and clean, transitional lighting. Keeping the color palette neutral but high contrast is the perfect way to blend transitional and traditional styles for a look that feels truly timeless.

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11. Go Modern in Your Core Furniture and Traditional in Your Accents

Some people love the sleek, clean lines of modern furniture—but they still crave moments of traditionally inspired design. If this is the case for you, ground your space in traditional style by laying down an antique or vintage-inspired rug. Since rugs cover so much space, it helps set the tone for a room. You can then layer in pops of traditional accent furniture and decor throughout—say, through a side table, antique painting, or more traditional light fixture. This is also a great approach if you want to decorate with antiques in a modern space.

modern traditional decor with green walls and upholstered bed

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12. Stick With Minimal Surface Styling

The way to make sure neither modern or traditional moments in a room talk too loudly? Minimal surface styling. (Like we did here, with this nightstand.) By keeping things simple but stylish, you can let the larger pieces in your room sit in the spotlight and set the style tone for the room. However, when using this approach, opt for highly textured elements like a ribbed vase, greenery, or a lamp with detailing for more of a visual impact.
modern traditional decor with deep blue walls

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13. Seek Scalloped Designs

There are certain motifs that feel very traditional—and scallops are one of them. So, even small uses of a scalloped form, like the scalloped mirror and side table in this living room, can make a contemporary space feel slightly more traditional. When you pair these visual elements with more modern or contemporary furniture, you get a look that effortlessly mixes the past with the present.

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14. Add An Eclectic Touch In Decor

If you prefer traditionally inspired furniture, but want to make sure your room feels like it was designed in the 21st century, add a touch of the eclectic in your decor. Abstract artwork or an eclectic collection of pillows and small decor pieces add a little personality and quirkiness to a traditional space. Just make sure you keep the color palette consistent so the eclectic pieces don’t feel random.

modern traditional decor with velvet sofas

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15. Hang a Tapestry (Or Other Traditional-Inspired Art)

Another great way to add some traditional balance to a modern space? Hanging traditional wall art. Tapestries are a favorite way to do this; tapestries are a medium that originates from the middle ages and they add an old-world feel to any space. Bonus points if your tapestry features one of our current favorite trends: botanical motifs. However, if a tapestry feels a little too old-school, you could also go for a more traditional painting or print—say, a landscape painting, a still life featuring a vase of flowers, or an antique-inspired portrait.

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12 Tips for Designing a Timeless Home

You’ve probably heard the phrase “timeless interior design” used to describe homes. But what exactly makes a timeless home?

The timeless look often brings to mind images of classic and traditional interiors, but it’s so much more than that. While there may be furniture and decor with a clean-lined classic look, the idea of a timeless home comes down to a space that has lasting appeal and style. Think designs made with quality materials that stand the test of time, patterns that never go out of style, colors that blend with any decor, and furniture that have tried-and-true silhouettes.

Even so, it can be difficult to put the idea of timeless style into practice in your spaces. To help with that, we’ve rounded up our top designer tips to inspire you to create a timeless design aesthetic in your own home.

What is Timeless Interior Design?

To sum it up, timeless design is a look that’s not tied to any specific era, design movement, or trend. In fact, it exists outside of the trend cycle but it always feels fresh and stylish.

That means timeless interiors are often designed with versatility and flexibility in mind so that it can evolve seamlessly over time—they shouldn’t be so rigid that you can’t change anything in these spaces. A great example of this? All the interiors from Nancy Meyers’ films: They’re comfortable, welcoming, and full of style and personality without feeling dated. It’s easy to see why even interior designers love getting inspiration from Meyers’ movies.

Keep reading to get our easy tips to create a timeless design look in your home!

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1. Choose Furniture With Clean Lines

Opt for foundation furniture with simple forms, which will always stay in style. Upholstered seating, tables, and large furniture that have clean lines never feel dated or “over”, and they have sophisticated looks that will work with furnishings and decor in any style over time.

Adding furniture with detail, like a sofa or chair with turned legs or a table with ornamentation, isn’t a no-go, nor is picking furniture from a specific era. But if you’re going for timeless appeal, try to keep to furniture that doesn’t have too many flourishes that reference specific design eras.

airy and timeless living room

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2. Look to Classic Silhouettes

You can’t go wrong with designs that have classic and traditional silhouettes. These include furniture, such as a tufted sofa, a farmhouse dining table, wingback chairs, and the ottoman coffee table. They feature shapes that have stood the test of time, so they’ll never go out of style. Not to mention, they’re foundational pieces for timeless interior design.

Anchoring a room with one of these pieces is an easy way to instantly create a timeless look. Or you can also group several of these tried-and-true silhouettes together in a seating area. Either way, always start with larger furniture pieces with a classic shape to ground a space.

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3. Keep Your Tones Neutral

If you’re looking for a color palette you can easily create a timeless design aesthetic around, stick to neutral hues. Neutrals are your friend because they will work with any style of furniture and interior. It’s a color scheme that can unify different design elements.

The neutral approach holds true for walls and floor finishes as well, so keep these to white or wood tones. It will allow you to incorporate new colors seasonally through pillows, drapery, and rugs. If you want more color, leaning into earth tones is a safe bet! These saturated warm colors bring in colors from nature and they can add some oomph but won’t trend out over time.

rustic and classic living room

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4. Layer Natural Textures

A timeless home is often rooted in quality natural materials, drawing inspiration for furniture and decor from nature and our surroundings. So play up natural elements, such as wood, stone, linen, and greenery in your spaces, which make for universally timeless touches.

Try to steer clear of engineered and highly polished materials that can signal specific design styles or eras, such as acrylic or Lucite (Retro ’80s vibes), tubular steel (Industrial Modern feeling) or even colorful velvet (Hollywood Glam for days!). Keeping to natural materials will prevent your interior from leaning into any particular design aesthetic too much, ensuring a timeless look for years to come.

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living room in timeless style

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5. Consider Less Is More

A timeless home is not just about the style of design you bring in. Yes, it’s about investing in the right furniture that will last for decades, but it’s also about having fewer decor pieces that keep clutter at a minimum over time. When your rooms are too layered or overly styled, it starts feeling more maximalist, which is a popular look that many people love, but it has a more eclectic look.

Keeping that in mind, resist the urge to fill every corner and pile your surfaces with accents. A well-curated and organized space is just as important as having clean-lined furniture when it comes to a timeless look.

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6. Blend Old With New

Mixing vintage and antique pieces with new furniture is a key tenet of timeless interior design. The old-meets-new combination ensures that your space spans many decades instead of looking like it’s referencing one design style or era.

Look for vintage pieces that have a classic look and mix it with some clean-lined modern pieces. The streamlined look of the furniture will blend nicely together. Try to avoid combining opposing design styles, which will end up looking more eclectic. If you need a little guidance, check out our tips mixing antiques into modern spaces

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7. Work in Traditional Patterns

Classic patterns like gingham, stripes, plaid, damask, and toile are popular among interior designers for a reason—they instantly provide a timeless interior design look. They also never go out of fashion, which is why they’ve been used for years and years in traditional and classic interiors.

The trick to decorating with these traditional patterns is to add them through accents, which will allow them to shine without feeling stuffy or overly refined and formal. In small doses, they’ll feel both old and new at the same time.

Classic and timeless eceltic living room

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8. Skip the Trends

The one seems obvious, but it’s worth repeating. Trends are fun and can breathe new life into a space but they usually are the opposite of timeless. If you’re committing to create a timeless design look, pieces that feel trendy—like the edgy industrial side chair or the sculpture-like floor lamp—are guaranteed to feel dated over time. Keep your furniture classic and clean-lined.

All that is not to say you can’t play at all with trends. Just do it in smaller ways, like a pillow with a stylish or unique pattern that you can easily swap out or an of-the-moment art piece you can replace with something down the line.

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9. Add Built-Ins (Or Fake Them)

When it comes to large-scale design elements, built-ins have timeless appeal by default. They’ve been used in homes for decades (if not centuries) and they always bring a classic look to rooms.

If your home doesn’t come with built-ins or if it’s not in your budget, try faking the look with a series of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. Then style them minimally with decor inspired by nature (to nod to natural materials) along with neutral accents (for an airier look). A balance of practical items, like baskets and trays, with decorative accessories is key for a tastefully styled built-in.

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10. Hide Your Technology

With any timeless interior, the furniture and decor is the main focus of the space. So try to avoid putting electronics and technology front and center in the room if you can. Find a way to conceal (or disguise) large TVs, stereos, and wires, whether it’s within a media cabinet or keeping it to an entertainment room. This will help to bring a more elevated, timeless feel to your space without taking away from having technology in our lives.

Office with timelass transitional style

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11. Aim for Quality Pieces

High-quality furnishings are essential if you want to create a timeless design look. This means durable pieces made with quality materials that have staying power and can stand the test of time.

While your furnishings don’t all have to be investment pieces, they should all feature exceptional craftsmanship and design that’s visible. These can include a well-made wooden desk and a tightly upholstered chair or sofa or a handwoven rug. They are sure to outlast more trendy pieces that can wear easily and quickly cycle out after a few years.

glam, eclectic, and timeless living room

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12. Follow Your Muse!

Last but not least, what truly makes a timeless home is a space you’ll love for years to come. So the most important rule is to decorate your home to be a comfortable and inspiring place you love spending time in.

You shouldn’t feel the pressure to design your interiors based on what Pinterest, influencers or magazines say is on-trend. Be your own muse and follow your instincts to choose pieces you absolutely love living with. This will ensure the space you create is one you love and that will always be timeless

Browse our gallery for more timeless interior design inspiration!

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Style Spotlight: A Designer’s Guide to Shabby Chic Decor

Are you a fan of a more soft, relaxed, and romantic interior design style? Then Shabby Chic design might be right up your alley. Shabby Chic is a look that’s comfortable and inviting, but with a hint of old-world elegance that’s evocative of an old English country estate. In fact, Great Britain is where this design style was born.

It came onto the style scene in the 1980s, a decade of opulence and grandeur. Expensive, modern furniture and decor had become very fashionable during this time. A counterculture movement of bohemians and artisans bucked this trend, instead of adopting a Victorian-inspired look in their modern homes. It was faded and worn, with the type of decoration found in old country houses—full of chintz upholstery, faded portraits and landscape paintings, and sagging furniture that had solid frames. The result was a charming, elegant look that also evoked the sense of an English estate that had been in the same family for generations.

traditional classic bedroom plant on side table

This style was more broadly embraced in the late 80s and early 90s, with Laura Ashely prints and ruffles becoming quite popular. Author, designer, and entrepreneur Rachel Ashwell even launched a brand in 1989 under the name Shabby Chic—which was full of pieces that embodied this design style. While this style faded from popularity in the 2000s, with the surge in popularity of Cottagecore style, Shabby Chic is actually having a bit of a moment right now—but in a slightly different format than years past. It’s no longer Laura Ashely-style frills and florals, but a more refined take on this cottage style.

traditional bedroom sofa

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What is Shabby Chic Design?

As an interior design style, Shabby Chic combines rustic style with elements of classic design. It’s a twist on farmhouse design, with feminine touches and more frilly accents. Furniture and upholstery has an intentionally worn down and faded look about it—but these distressed pieces feature classic silhouettes that elevates the aesthetic. This style is often associated with distressed wood and vintage furniture, soft hues, linen and cotton upholstery, sofas with slipcovers, and florals galore.

The rustic design elements of Shabby Chic come through in the focus on comfort (think: sink-in sofas and plush upholstery) and the wood finishes used in Shabby Chic spaces. Natural materials are very popular in this style, with plenty of jute, rattan, and caning found in furniture and rugs. Wood pieces often have soft finishes, like a whitewash or grey wood finish. You’ll also see a lot of reclaimed, painted furniture in Shabby Chic spaces. Antiques, flea market finds, and upcycled objects are celebrated in this style, with lots of old trunks, stools, cabinets, and dressers painted in soft neutrals or pastel colors. These painted pieces will often have an antique look, with intentionally distressed finishes or chipped paint that reveal layers of other colors and finishes beneath. Shiplap walls are also a hallmark of the Shabby Chic look.

The classic side of this style shows up in the details. Upholstered furniture with nailheads and tufting add some refinement to this style, and scrolling and turned-wood legs on furniture add subtle ornamentation. You’ll also see some classical elements in furniture shapes and light fixtures—whether it’s an English roll-arm sofa, a scalloped headboard, or Rococo-inspired or vintage chandeliers.

The combination of these rustic and classic design elements results in a style that’s charming yet accessible, elegant but a little undone.

classic living room blue couch chandelier

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Is Shabby Chic Still in Style?

Right now, Shabby Chic is undergoing a bit of a facelift. Today, we’re seeing it remixed in a way that’s reminiscent of French Country design. This style has always involved European influences, and the more modern take on Shabby Chic involves European elegance taking the place of some of the more kitchy elements of the traditional Shabby Chic aesthetic. So, say goodbye to mason jars and bring on the vintage vases! Today’s Shabby Chic also involves more gray wash and natural woods than painted finishes. Gone are the days of painting and intentionally distressing wood furniture. Rather, Shabby Chic style now celebrates antiques and vintage-inspired wood pieces in all their natural glory. But soft neutrals, upholstered furniture, and plenty of natural materials? That’s definitely still at the heart of this look.

calming dining room traditional classic clock on wall

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Since this style evokes the simplicity and elegance of the European countryside, you’ll notice that it has a lot of the same stylistic roots of the wildly popular Cottagecore aesthetic. The more “precious” side of Cottagecore involves florals and ruffles, which is where Shabby Chic elements primarily show up in this style. But Cottagecore and Shabby Chic also place the same premium on comfort and lean into a more romantic aesthetic.

The collected nature of Shabby Chic interior designs means that, depending on the furniture silhouettes and decorative objects you choose, it could also lean a bit bohemian. In this case, you’d dial back on the florals and ruffles and lean more into the farmhouse side of this style, with plenty of natural materials.

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traditional bedroom natural texture chandelier

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What colors are good for Shabby Chic interiors?

Shabby Chic is big on the neutrals. Whites, creams, beige, flax, and other soft neutral colors form the base of this design style. But other soft colors—like bleached out pastels and earth tones—bring some color into Shabby Chic spaces—the most common colors being pinks, blues, and greens. In a more 90s/early 2000s take on Shabby Chic, these colors would have shown up in upcycled painted furniture. Today, you’ll see them more in patterned upholstery—in vintage floral patterns, ticking stripes, and linen pillows, bedding, and slipcovers in earth tones.

traditional classic bedroom vanity desk

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7 Tips to Ace the Shabby Chic Look

Below are some of our designers’ key tips for getting a modern Shabby Chic look in your home.

1. Start With a Neutral Paint Color

This vintage-inspired style requires a neutral base which everything else can be layered over. So, go for neutral paint colors that lean a bit warmer to balance out the crisp white upholstery often used in this style.

2. Prioritize Comfortable Base Furniture

When choosing base furniture like sofas and beds, Shabby Chic style demands comfort. Cush, comfortable sofas are a must—and a slipcovered style is ideal to pull off this look. You want it to be something that you can really sink into, while still looking somewhat elegant. For a bed, opt for an upholstered bed with tufting for an extra dose of comfort.

traditional and classic living room big mirror by fireplace

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3. Opt for Upholstered Pieces

Rather than choosing a wooden bed frame or clean-lined modern accent chair, lean into upholstered styles that are super comfortable. Linen and cotton upholstery in white, cream, and beige are particularly popular in this style. Though, adding in some vintage-inspired patterns in bedding, throw pillows, and even accent chairs is a perfect way to mix in some color and add some charm. Slipcovered or upholstered dining chairs in soft hues are also big in this style. But your upholstery doesn’t just have to be cotton and linen fabrics. You can also mix in a bit of leather (bonus points for pieces with patina!) and even some velvet to add in a bit of luxury. These two materials are especially great in accent chairs!

4. Layer in Classic-Inspired Accent Furniture and Decor

While Shabby Chic design has rustic style as its foundation, classic design elements are what visually elevate this style. Bring in classical elements through accent furniture like side tables and ottomans, plus sofas or chairs with more ornate legs. You can also bring in classic-inspired elements into Shabby Chic decor through art and small decorative objects. This is a style where you can lean into collections—especially if they’re something like tea cups, porcelain plates, or Staffordshire dogs! A very Victorian move, this affinity toward collections comes from the English estate side of this style, where homes tend to strike the delicate balance between ornate and cluttered.

5. Mix Woods in Similar Tones

Light-toned and raw wood add the perfect rustic tone to Shabby Chic style. But this look doesn’t demand perfectly matching wood tones. You can mix wood tones, as long as they’re in the lighter finish range. (You could also go for some natural, light finishes mixed with whitewashed wood pieces.)

traditional classic bedroom beige color scheme

6. Look for Finishes with a Patina

Finishes should feel rustic and a bit organic and vintage in their patina. Historically, that has meant intentionally distressed pieces of painted wood furniture. But you can also get furniture with patina by looking for antique furniture and rugs that show a bit of wear. We always prefer genuine patina over a manufactured look! (Flea markets are a great place to uncover unique pieces of vintage furniture!)

7. Bring in Cozy Accents

We mentioned this earlier, but Shabby Chic has comfort at its core. So, bring on the cozy accents through plush pillows and bedding, soft throws, and antique or vintage-inspired rugs in traditional patterns (but in faded colorways). Poufs and ottomans add to the sense of comfort in Shabby Chic spaces!

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Modern Manor: Meet the Trend That Effortlessly Blends Old and New

Traditional interior design has been growing in popularity over the last year, as many people seek to make their homes feel more comfortable and approachable. One of our favorites takes on this resurgence of Traditional interior design is the New Traditional trend. This look mixes traditional and modern design elements for a space that’s comfortable and approachable while also being streamlined and updated.

Continued growth in the popularity of Traditional design elements, along with the Grandmillenial interior design style, were among our 2021 trend predictions. As it happens, we’re seeing elements of both of these design styles—along with the Cottagecore design trend—merge in new ways to create a new design trend we’re loving: Modern Manor.

Modern manor style living room with a white sofa and black walls

 

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What is Modern Manor Style?

Modern Manor is a fresh take on the New Traditional trend that incorporates not only traditional and modern design ideas but also a few more classical design elements. This style celebrates traditionally tufted and roll-arm sofas and chairs, as well as rich materials like dark woods, marbles, and leathers. It does this while stylistically blending traditional and comfortable elements, with a modern twist and the use of clean-lined furniture.

This style appears elevated—almost regal—because of its strong roots in the traditional camp. However, the traditional elements that this style is built on is more in the British traditional camp versus American traditional style. And when we talk about modern design elements in the context of this style, we’re not talking about the Mid-Century Modern brand of modernism.

Classic style entryway

Rather, it’s a more European style of modern, with the use of strong, sculptural forms and natural materials.

So, at its core, Modern Manor is a traditionalist interior design style, with Euro-modern influence. It’s these European influences that connect Modern Manor to Regencycore (think: Bridgerton) due to its slightly formal and classical nature. However, in contrast to Regencycore, Modern Manor style is more restrained and streamlined.

Modern manor style with roll arm sofa and dark grey walls

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Why is traditional design trending right now?

Traditional is having a major comeback moment. Many people have begun to look at traditional styles as solid, stable, and comfortable. (We could all use a little more stability, right?)

However, this isn’t your grandmother’s traditional. When it comes to current decor trends, traditional design elements are being remixed in subtle, trendy ways—such as in Modern Manor, where they’re given a slight twist of modern and updated classical elements. This is definitely a formal style that feels very considered—but without the frilly feel of an “old interior designer.”

For people looking for a slightly formal, put-together, traditionally grounded design style—this one is for you.

Modern manor bedroom with dark green walls and bold wooden bench

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The Key Elements of Modern Manor

If you’re looking to bring home the Modern Manor look, rely on a mix of traditional and modern design elements, with slight touches of classic and transitional. Here’s how to get the look.

Modern manor style living room with a white sofa and black walls

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Find Furniture That Combines Traditional Forms with a Modern Treatment

Start with traditional shapes in your foundational furniture, but look for pieces that have modern updates. A perfect example of this is the Straight Rolled-Arm Sofa in the design above—a piece designed by Kara Mann for CB2. It’s a new take on the classic roll-arm sofa design of the ’80s. However, its fresh, clean, tailored lines make the piece feel slightly modern with a stand-out quality.

Modern manor vignette with floor mirror and velvet accent chair

Be Intentional with Your Use of Color

In Modern Manor style, color is used in a very traditional way, with rich, deep hues in solid forms. Keep colors in the primary color family or opt for deeply saturated earth tones. To make a statement with color, invest in a solid-color rug that brings definition to a space as opposed to rugs with busy patterns. The same goes for throw pillows! Ultimately, color is used sparingly but with great intention to help draw the eye to a focal point of a space. (Like the two solid-colored pillows on the living room sofa.)

Modern manor dining room with dark green walls

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Incorporate Rich, Ornamental Materials and Finishes

As you choose furniture that fits the Modern Manor vibe, look for pieces that don’t have too much ornamental detail themselves. Rather, find pieces where the material itself lends to the ornamental quality—like oversized caning in a dining room chair or a marble side table. The use of more luxe materials and finishes such as marble, boucle, leather, and pleated linen give this style a more elevated vibe.

Modern manor bedroom with dark green walls and bold wooden bench

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Go Traditional With Your Art & Decor

When it comes to wall art, invest in traditionally inspired pieces, such as pastoral landscape scenes in a slight impressionist style, classical-looking portraits, or still life paintings. For tabletop decor, find classical vases and sculptures. Lampshades that are sloped or pleated can help drive home this style.

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Merging Styles: How to Combine Traditional and Modern Furniture

When couples move in together, they often struggle with how to combine their design styles. We often have couples asking about how to merge their different styles into one look or what to do when each partner wants something totally different out of their space. So much of this comes down to favoring different styles. And one of the most common style combination struggles is when one partner loves modern design and the other is more of a traditionalist.

Mixing traditional and contemporary design elements can be quite a challenge since they’re on opposite ends of the design spectrum. Not only are the lines and shapes present in modern and traditional spaces quite different—but the sheer amount of stuff in a traditional vs modern space tends to be quite opposite. While not always the case, modern spaces tend to have a more pared-back, minimalist bent, whereas traditional spaces lean more maximalist, with more going on visually.

But with design, as in love, opposites attract. And you can create quite a beautiful, comfortable home by combining traditional and modern design sensibilities. Since this is a combination we see often among Modsy customers, we want to outline some tips on how to combine modern and traditional furniture pieces. But before we get to the couples’ design tips, let’s define our terms.

traditional and modern bedroom combination style

Traditional Interior Design

Traditional design often refers to older Americana styles of Colonial and Craftsman. But, as Traditional design ideas rise in popularity, designers are also pulling inspiration from British design. (Think: English manor house or countryside cottage.)

Traditional spaces tend to feature dark wood furnishings. Craftsman and Colonial furnishings have minimal ornamentation, while Victorian-era furniture pieces lean a bit more ornate and detailed. Patterned and leather upholstery are both common in traditional style, as are wallpapered walls, slipcovered sofas, and finishing details like wainscotting and crown molding. In terms of color schemes, a blue and white palette is a classic traditional look. But for those who lean more toward the British take on traditional, saturated, earthy colors are common. Brass is the most common metal finish you’ll find in a traditional space, due to its beautiful patina that takes on an antique vibe.

Traditional design, as a whole, is an understated, less formal style that tends to focus on comfort and livability.

traditional and modern bedroom combination style

Modern Interior Design

When people talk about preferring a modern aesthetic, they’re often (though not always) referring to Mid-Century Modern. So, for our purposes today, we’ll define Mid-Century Modern design ideas. This style is inspired by mid-20th-century design and combines natural wood with bold colors. Furniture has clean lines and organic shapes with minimal ornament beyond the shape of the piece itself. It also tends to have tapered edges and rounded edges without any hard angles.

Colors in these spaces tend to be bold, with primary and secondary colors used most often. Think: teal, red, orange, yellow, and green. Graphic, geometric patterns are also common in these spaces. Wood tones tend to be lighter—either a Scandinavian blonde finish or an acorn or teak coloring. Though, a dark walnut finish isn’t out of the question! When it comes to metal, chrome is the most common finish you’ll find in a mid-century space, though brass and black metal are also used. For upholstery, leather, tweed, and vinyl are all common fabrics used on furniture.

Overall, Mid-Century interiors are comfortable and focus on relaxation and conversation.

traditional and modern bedroom combination style

Blending Modern and Traditional Design Elements

This is a good time to think about the five “spectrums of style” that we unpacked in our Interior Design & You seminar this fall. During our session on discovering your personal style, we talked about the style spectrums of old and new, as well as formal and casual. When you look at the “pure” versions of these styles, they probably feel drastically different. But a home that blends traditional and modern furniture styles exists somewhere in the middle of both of these spectrums. Watch the seminar to learn more!

And there are a couple specific areas where they overlap, which is a great starting point for couples looking to combine these two styles. Most notably, relaxed comfort is a priority in both of these styles. So, as a couple, you can both feel confident that you can create a home that’s really livable, feels comfortable, and is a space where you can relax and unwind.

But that’s not all! Read on for our top tips on how to combine modern and traditional furniture and design elements into one space!

Read Next: A lot can happen when combining styles. Learn about when to break the style rules

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1. Go Modern in Your Base Furniture

When mixing interior design styles, one style is always going to be slightly more dominant. When it comes to traditional and modern furniture styles, modern is easier to have as a base because of its cleaner lines. And, since traditional pieces tend to have a bit more personality, they’re easier to sprinkle in as accents. In this space, you can see we went for modern shapes in the sofa, accent chairs, and coffee table. However, the accent pieces—like the side table and the rug—are much more traditional. This mixing of forms gives a very dynamic look to your space. The traditional pedestal side table next to the sleek sofa and coffee table creates balance and focus in this space.

Just remember—you don’t want to mix anything ultra-modern with something super traditional. (Like a super mod egg chair with an antique, spindle side table!) Your space will feel more balanced if you keep elements “middle of the road” without jumping too deep into either style.

bedroom with bent iron king bed and neutral palette decor

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2. Turn the Dial More Traditional with Your Accents

The accent pieces you choose in your space can totally shift the vibe, pushing the overall look more modern or traditional. Consider this especially when picking out a rug, artwork, and tabletop decor. In this bedroom, opting for botanical-inspired prints feels more traditional, while abstract art leans more modern and eclectic. You could also go for a more traditional art piece, but lean it on a shelf instead of hanging in on a wall, or hang a print in poster hangers instead of a full-frame. Either approach will give a traditional subject a more modern spin.

With rugs, a lighter, vintage-inspired rug will feel more traditional, while a bold geometric rug will feel more modern. And a vibrant Turkish or Oriental-style rug is a perfect way to combine these two styles since this type of rug is found in very traditional and even classic homes, but it’s also popular in Mid-Century and Modern Rustic spaces.

Layering rugs is also a great way to add a more modern and casual aesthetic to a living room or bedroom. Try a neutral woven rug as your base, with a slightly smaller patterned rectangular rug on top. This will add depth and a more modern feel to your space. You can also layer by hiding rugs, which can add an organic shape to a more traditional space. (Keep scrolling for a perfect visual example of this…)

bedroom with tall upholstered headboard and navy blue paneling on the walls

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3. Opt for Modern Twists on Traditional Silhouettes

However, if you want to take a traditional-first approach (rather than modern being the dominant style) find base furniture with traditional silhouettes—but with a modern twist. A modern finish is a great way to achieve this balance because what determines the style of a piece of furniture is not just the shape, but also the finish.

Take this headboard for example. It’s tall and tufted, which gives it a more traditional vibe. But its pared-back form and cool grey upholstery give it a more modern perspective. The same approach could be taken in a living room, with sofas or accent furniture. A traditional roll-arm sofa can feel updated and modern with a contemporary upholstery. And a spindle-leg coffee table in a sleek finish, like a matte black wood, accessorized with modern accents and objects will give your set-up a more contemporary vibe.

combine modern and traditional furniture | mixing furniture styles

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4. Use Color to Set the Tone

Traditional spaces—especially those that lean toward that adorned British style—feature more warm and saturated color palettes. Meanwhile, modern color palettes are inherently more monochromatic and on the “cool” color spectrum. When combining these two styles, there are two approaches you can take with color, both of which will help set the tone for this blended style.

Pairing a modern, neutral color scheme with traditional furniture pieces is one way to go. This lets the rich wood tones and ornamentation of traditional furniture do the talking in the space. However, pairing a warm and saturated color palette with modern-lined, neutral furniture is another way to blend these styles into one space. In the room above, we went for the latter; the dark wall is a classic, saturated green—but the white brick and lighter wood tones of the modern bookcases create contrast and establish a more updated look.

living room that combines both traditional and updated design

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5. Mix Materials and Finishes

Mixing materials is another great way to blend traditional and contemporary styles together. In this space, the use of a chandelier is a more traditional move, but the minimalist style in a black metal finish adds a modern touch. Additionally, the mix of the brass mirror, seagrass bench, and hide rug adds a more eclectic and modern feel to the space, while still using more traditional materials and finishes. Warm, worn leather is a more classic material—but the form of the chair, with its clean lines and tapered legs, gives it a more modern vibe. Textural fabrics like tweed can happily be used to tie together both styles as well.

And think about wood tones as well. While Mid-Century furniture styles don’t tend to feature lighter wood tones, we mentioned that a dark walnut finish is sometimes used in these spaces—and walnut is a common finish in traditional spaces. However, mixing wood tones is a great way to bring in the heart of both styles! You can also mix darker woods (more traditional) with shiny metals (a total mid-century modern move) for a fun material combo.

tall ceiling living room with seating area placed in front of fireplace

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6. Balance Out Traditional Architecture

In a home with traditional design elements, be sure to highlight any architectural details—from fireplaces and crown molding to wainscotting or chair rails. But don’t be afraid to give them a modern twist! Paint your wainscotting a bold, saturated color rather than a more traditional neutral tone. If your space has detailed trim and molding, consider going for the same color on your trim and your wall—a very modern move. Or take a brick fireplace into the modern world with a whitewash or by painting the brick black for a more modern vibe!

But you could also leave these traditional architectural details more “intact” and simply balance them out with modern foundations through your furniture styles and the layout of the space. Matching, classically shaped sofas facing each other opposite a brick fireplace would feel very traditional indeed. But opting for a more eclectic mix of comfortable furniture and a more conversational layout will balance the traditional architecture and make the whole space feel more relaxed. Curtains flanking all the windows is a very traditional move—but using solid, dark drapery is bold and modern.

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7. Embrace (or Play With) Symmetry

Similar to your choices in decorative accents, symmetry in your layout and styling is a way to turn the dial-up or down, depending on if you want to focus a little more on modern or traditional. As a design principle, symmetry is a more traditional move. But the way you style symmetry within a space will make it lean more formal or casual. For example, you could also opt for modern furniture in a formal layout, or play with expectations within a formal layout. For example, the bedroom above features a sense of symmetry, but the mismatched nightstands and sleek furniture give the space a more modern appeal.

Needless to say, there are a ton of ways you can combine modern and traditional design styles into one space. And if you need some help, our expert Modsy designers are pros at combining interior design styles.

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Trend Spotlight: What is Cottagecore and How To Get The Look

There’s a new interior design trend in town, and it has us all kinds of excited! It’s called “Cottagecore” and it’s taking the internet by storm. As an interior design style, it’s a mix of traditional, classic, farmhouse, and eclectic design elements—all pulled together with a granny-chic influence.

Sound a little familiar? This style definitely has some overlap with the Grandmillenial style. But, whereas Grandmillenial is a bit more formal, Cottagecore leans casual, showing off a more relaxed, eclectic look. Consider Cottagecore the free-spirited younger sister of Grandmillenial! A space designed to embody the Cottagecore aesthetic uses bold colors and patterns, which often feature floral or foliage motifs.

cottagecore

Where did the Cottagecore trend come from?

As we’ve noted in our 2021 trend predictions, people are turning back toward comfort as a top priority in interior design. And Cottagecore has comfort at, well, its core. But this actually isn’t a new aesthetic. This trend visually came about in the 2010s on social media, with people connecting through the sharing of nostalgic, rural-inspired images and a longing for a simpler life. The Cottagecore aesthetic celebrates rural life, with idyllic images of countryside cottages at the center of this look. As this trend grew in popularity, cottages became a representation of the romanticism of folklore and symbolized a gentler, more simple way of living.

But this aesthetic has significantly grown in popularity this past year, both in fashion and design. And it’s no wonder—with a global pandemic and more time at home than ever before, there’s something nice about mentally escaping into an idyllic, romanticized version of life where gardening and baking bread are the only worries of the day.

In interior design, this trend shows up through the mix of classical forms and raw, rustic elements. The result is an idyllic English countryside vibe, full of florals, but with a more modern spin than the traditional cottage style. This is definitely a kitsch look that mixes a ton of different design elements, as we mentioned above—from classical and traditional to rustic and eclectic. It manages to embody parts of some of the biggest trending design ideas of 2021—traditional comfort, grand millennial style, biophilic design, jewel-box rooms. They’re all rolled up into one, showing up in various ways in the Cottagecore aesthetic.

What are the key elements of the Cottagecore aesthetic?

Classical shapes are foundational in this look, along with floral motifs, saturated colors, and a mix of rustic and ornate elements. This is a very antique-inspired look. So, hit up some antique stores to find vintage furniture pieces! Whether old or new, look for unique little end tables, slipcovered furniture, and textiles with classical motifs and patterns such as antique florals. Don’t be afraid to bring in color and play with the relationship between color and pattern. A more maximalist look more is more in this style. So, bring in that personalized and heirloom decor!

Keep reading for a breakdown of how to get this look!

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Go for a Cozy and Comfortable Vibe

Since Cottagecore is all about embracing a simpler life, comfort and coziness are key. So, prioritize comfort in the furniture you choose, while keeping in mind a classic, cottage-inspired aesthetic. A slipcovered sofa and vintage-inspired rug help set the tone for this space, and the spindle-leg side table manages to be classic-inspired while also embodying the approachable nature of farmhouse decor and cottage style. But don’t forget to add a dash of the refined! An understated yet formal chandelier hangs in the center of the space, elevating the look.

 

cottagecore

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Embrace Bold Colors

While Cottagecore has a very relaxed aesthetic, using bold colors—on the walls, in artwork, and in upholstery—taps into the British-inspired charm of this style. Bringing in bold, saturated colors gives a coziness to this look that marks it feel approachable and livable. However, you can also achieve this look through a simple mix of warm neutrals, which will make the look take on a bit more of that traditional cottage vibe.

 

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Bring in Luxurious Elements

While Cottagecore is all about simplicity and comfort, there’s also just a hint of luxury to this style. So, bring in small luxe elements to your space. In this living room, we did that through a velvet accent chair in a classical shape. When placed in contrast with the simple slipcovered sofa, this chair takes on a refined but relaxed vibe. Classical wingback chairs more your vibe? Embrace the look we created in our Little Women-inspired reading nook!

 

cottagecore

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Layer in Natural Materials

Cottagecore style is understated, nature-inspired, and derived from “simpler times.” Because of this, furniture can have some slight detailing—but most of it is fairly traditional, made of natural materials. When choosing wood pieces, note that in a Cottagecore space wood tones tend to be fairly natural. So, opt for pieces with a more natural finish, which lets the natural wood grain shine! In this bedroom, the comfortable bed features a cane element for slight decoration. You can also incorporate other natural materials and textures, like woven jute and wicker for more of that natural, down-to-earth feeling. And don’t forget about plants, which bring an essential bit of nature to the space—along with a slight bohemian vibe.

 

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Play With Patterns

Playing with patterns is big in Cottagecore style. So, embrace the chintz and bring on the florals in all forms! And don’t be afraid to mix bold patterns with subtle, larger-scale prints. You can go for more vintage-inspired floral motifs or opt for more modern renditions. In this space, we mixed florals, traditional checkered patterns, and a more modern, abstract pattern in the bedding, with the throw pillows, shams, and duvet cover. The curtains in this bedroom also bring a large, colorful pattern to the space—but because the scale of the pattern is different from the duvet cover, they aren’t competing for attention.

And when it comes to florals don’t forget to incorporate some actual flowers into your space—whether fresh or faux! A vase of flowers helps celebrate the nature-loving heart of this style.

 

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Choose Rural-Inspired Artwork

Artwork is another way to bring color and pattern to a Cottagecore look. In these spaces, artwork often features rural scenes or simple landscapes. We gave that idea a modern spin throughout this space, opting for landscapes in bold colors to bring more energy to the room.

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Trend Spotlight: 6 Rooms that do the Traditional Comfort Trend Right

As 2020 wears on, we’ve been seeing more and more traditional design elements enter the trend cycle. Traditional interior design has always prioritized comfort, and we need comfort more than ever this year. So it makes sense that this design style—which has been out of the trend cycle for a while—has made its way back.

We’re seeing it show up in comfortable furniture pieces that have been reconsidered in more modern, trendy ways. And, of course, we see it in the introduction of more comfort-forward pieces in popular design styles right now. (Modern rustic is a perfect example, which prioritizes comfortable furniture.) However, before we really dig into the Traditional Comfort trend, let’s take a closer look at what styles make up this trend and where it comes from.

comfortable design

What is Traditional Comfort?

The Traditional Comfort trend has roots in the combination of traditional and transitional interior design styles. Traditional elements combine with the simple lines of transitional design to create elegant and timeless pieces that are super comfort-forward. This comfort gives an element of ease to a space—resulting in rooms that are effortless but pulled together. Visually, they simply invite you to come and sit down for a while (while still feeling stylish, inspirational, and relatable).

Traditional interior design today isn’t necessarily what you remember seeing at your great-grandparents house, full of fussy, ornate details and breakables. In other words, it’s not purely American Traditional. Instead, today’s traditional design is more of a laid back take that easily integrates modern lines with traditional design elements.

Friends apartment in eclectic style living room

Traditional Comfort in Pop Culture

Traditional Comfort definitely had a moment in the 90s, which showed up in a big way in TV and movies. The home in The Father of the Bride is a beautiful example. (Along with other Nancy Meyers films, like Something’s Gotta Give and It’s Complicated.) Rachel and Monica’s apartment in Friends is another great example, with a more eclectic spin. And Rachel even tried to bring a Traditional Comfort spin to the apartment she shared with Phoebe later in the show. (Remember the Pottery Barn episode?? You know, “The One with the Apothecary Table”?)

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pink and blue eclectic living room

It even had moments in the early 2000s. Lorelei Gilmore, in Gilmore Girls, incorporated a lot of traditional elements in her funky, eclectic home. And, when we reimaged her home for 2019, we gave it more of a Traditional Comfort spin, while keeping her eclectic style. The design above is our modern reimagining of her space. All the base pieces in here are super traditional, from the sofa to the coffee table and rug, but when mixed together and with other elements in the room, it reads more eclectic. But comfort and approachability is definitely at the forefront.

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comfortable design

Why is Traditional Comfort rising in popularity?

Why is Traditional Comfort taking off as a trend in 2020? Well, to begin with, it’s super comfortable. With all the time we’re spending at home this year, there’s been a resurgence of valuing comfort in our homes. We want to live in spaces that feel like a welcoming retreat—with soft lines, plush materials, and forgiving frames.

This flies in the face of stark Mid-Century Modern designs, which have long been at the forefront of trendy interior design. And it makes sense. People have long turned to traditional interior design in times of social and political uncertainty. And if this year has been anything, it’s been uncertain. So, surrounding ourselves with comfort and a sense of familiarity is the perfect antidote to this crazy year!

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Wondering how to bring the Traditional Comfort trend into your own home? Keep reading for six ways to make it happen!

comfortable design

Prioritize Comfort

When designing a space that embodies Traditional Comfort design, you want to make sure your base furniture is comfortable above anything else. So, opt for pieces that are plush, with soft upholstery. Leather armchairs and roll-arm sofas both have that cozy, sink-in-and-get-comfortable vibe that’s inherent to the Traditional Comfort trend. Pillows and throws, along with plush rugs, can add to the comfort factor to add softness underfoot and extra warmth and coziness on the furniture. (Not to mention they can help play up the color scheme of a room.) In this room, the coffee and side tables, with their sturdy designs, support that sense of comfort and reliability.

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classic style living room with fireplace and ruffle sofa

Embrace Traditional Silhouettes + Motifs

This room is a perfect example of how a formal traditional space can come together today, in a way that still feels relaxed. While there are classic formal design elements in this space, the combination of straight lines, plush materials, and mixed wood finishes in the large furniture pieces give this space a Traditional Comfort vibe. And the use of classic patterns and motifs, as well as a classic blue and white color scheme add to the traditional vibes in a way that feels really approachable. Bonus: blue is a color of stability and calmness, perfect for these strange times!

To break it down a bit further, the foundational furniture (the sofas, accent chairs, and coffee table) have very traditional silhouettes. But the soft textures and upholstery of the sofas bring in a sense of warmth and comfort. Slipcovered sofas are the perfect blend of Traditional and Transitional. And the ruffles on the skirt of the second sofa add a softness to the space. Meanwhile, the striped upholstery on the accent chairs is very traditional, as is the shape of the chairs. The coffee table also suggests an element of comfort; it’s sturdy and durable while still being elegant.

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comfortable design

Layer in Antiques + Vintage Accents

The base furniture in this living room is very plush and comfortable—a key element of the Traditional Comfort style, as we mentioned above. But the accent furniture brings in some antique influences. This gives that old-world vibe to the space that leans into older versions of traditional design.

In this room, we incorporated vintage European and French Farmhouse influences with the coffee table, side table, and lamp. All of them have vintage-inspired traditional forms. This elevates the look from being strictly traditional to a space with more nuance and character. To incorporate antique influences and vintage accents, look for provincial elements to incorporate into your space, such as a vintage lamp or antique side table—or even a vintage (or vintage-inspired) rug with a traditional pattern. Provincial landscape wall art will also do the trick. And traditional motifs—like the stripes on these chairs—will support the antique vibes.

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comfortable design

Incorporate Dark Finishes + Ornate Detailing

A hallmark of traditional interior design is the use of dark wood finishes in furniture. That can range from a mahogany or walnut finish, to even an ebony finish like the furniture above. Dark finishes add contrast and elegance to a space.

Wood furniture in traditional interior design also tends to feature ornate carvings or turned leg detailing—which is highlighted in both the dining table and console in the room above. The traditional motif of the rug and the slipcovered dining chairs (which evoke an element of comfort) help drive home the overall Traditional Comfort approach of this space.

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rustic traditional home office

Include Plenty of Natural Materials

Part of what makes the Traditional Comfort look so, well, comfortable, is the use of natural materials. From wood and leather to caning, jute, linen, and even iron, the use of natural materials gives this design style a sense of approachability and comfort. There’s also a sense of sturdiness and timelessness in natural materials, especially wood, iron, and leather. In this office, the natural materials help give off the vibe of stability and familiarity in a way that feels reliable and transcends trends and a sense of time. The result is a look that feels timeless.

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rustic dining room buffet with botanical print gallery wallDon’t Forget About Functionality

Traditional Comfort is a very family-friendly design style. It’s very livable and functional, without many frills. Of course, as you’ve seen in some of the previous examples, some takes on Traditional Comfort include special details, like ruffles, tufting, or turned legs on furniture, but these details are done in ways that aren’t too precious or fussy. That’s because, next to comfort, this design style highly prioritized functionality. So, it’s necessary to bring in design elements that get at that functionality. This sideboard is a perfect example. It’s a functional storage item that has no major decorative elements or unnecessary details. But it has a traditional form that’s quite beautiful in its simplicity.

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The Adorned Space: 4 Lessons We Can Learn from British Decorating

We have a 2021 home design trend prediction that will make maximalists and those with grandmillennial style rejoice! We’ve started seeing a lot of British design influences in interior design. This is a look that’s all about adornment, charm, and creating moments of joy within your home. And that’s definitely something we’re craving in our homes right now!

This specific take on British interior design has its roots in traditionalism but definitely gives it a modern spin. In classic British style, there’s a wide use of patterns on patterns, loads of various saturated hues and bold colored rooms, and that very Victorian brand of maximalism. (Embrace the knick-knacks!) While all of these elements mixed together in one space might cause more than a bit of anxiety for the minimalists out there, the idea behind this maximalist mix of colors, patterns, styles, and objects is all about surrounding yourself with things that you love and that make you happy. There’s a certain joyousness in this take on British decor. But it’s probably also fair to say that not many people can pull off this kind of ultra maximalism in their home.

So, we spent some time paring back on the eccentric side of this design and explored what a more approachable take on this interior design trend might look like. The result is refined, warm, and still packed with some eclectic personality. If you want to get to know this 2021 home design trend prediction a bit better, keep reading. We’re dishing a few of our favorite lessons that we can learn from British design.

2021 home design trend predictions

Go For a Saturated Color Palette

Traditional-meets-modern British design has a big focus on bold, dark, and saturated color palettes. The result is a somewhat dramatic and even austere look. In this room, we layered several saturated colors throughout the room, but you could also focus on color in just one aspect. Singularly focusing on a bold wall color can help other design elements come to life in your space.

Textiles are another great way to bring in saturated hues—whether that’s pillows, drapery, throws and bed linens, or even rugs. In most of the rooms in this post, you’ll see richly colored rugs—some with patterns, some without—and they really bring a lot of life to the space they’re in. Ultimately, a saturated color palette will bring a sense of richness and warmth to your space.

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2021 home design trend predictions

Utilize Drapery and Textiles

One big thing we could learn from British design? Maxing out textiles and using more drapery. Drapery adds another layer of texture to your space, creating visual depth and becoming a decorative feature in the room. This applies to window coverings, of course. But you could also hang a decorative drapery, as we did here, for a bold art-like installation.

Printed textiles in classic motifs or with special detailing adds a considered touch to a room. Don’t be afraid to layer different patterns and rich textures together—from your sheets and duvet cover to pillows and throws. This mix not only hints at that British maximalism, but it also adds a sense of coziness to your space!

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2021 home design trend predictions

Give Traditional Elements a Modern Twist

We love the way that British designers today are taking traditional and classic design styles and giving them modern and eclectic twists. Take this room for example: the tufted sofa is very classic in design, but the mustard velvet upholstery gives it a more modern look. And, while the side tables are fairly traditional and even a bit rustic, the coffee table balances out the look with its modern glam style.

Wall art is another way to take traditional ideas and give them a modern twist. The painting pictured here is bright and playful, but it has a classic-inspired origin with its equestrian theme. You could bring the same idea to life through a pastoral landscape or portrait painting, choosing one that has modern elements or an avant-garde style. Lean in a little further and assemble a collected, eclectic gallery wall!

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2021 home design trend predictions

Use Material As Ornament

We love British design’s use of material as ornament—like in this cane chair, where the texture of the cane adds visual depth and nuance to the space. Since British design tends to gravitate more toward the traditional, you’ll also see a bit more ornamentation on furniture pieces, whether that’s carvings on the front of a cabinet or subtle detailing like you can see in this desk, stool, and the legs of the cane chair. This principle can also be applied to decor. The lamp on this desk has a very sculptural quality—showing that a practical piece can also be quite ornamental.

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Tour This Dream Home Designed In a New Take on Traditional Interior Design

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.

traditional interior designWhat 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.

traditional interior designIntroducing 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!

traditional interior designThe 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.

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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.

traditional interior designThe 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.

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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.

traditional interior designThe 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.

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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.

traditional interior designThe 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!

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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!

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10 Rooms That Prove Traditional Interior Design Is Anything But Old-Fashioned

Traditional interior design is a timeless style that incorporates more formal design elements. It’s what you might think of as old-fashioned, but more like a posh old library than grandma’s formal living room design style.

What is Traditional Style Interior Design?

Traditional design is an understated, less-formal style based off of an older American design. Traditional interiors pull elements from Colonial and Craftsman design and offer a humbler, more understated approach to design. These spaces feature materials like leather upholstery with a rich patina, muted or woven patterns, and dark wood furnishings with minimal ornamentation. Traditional interior design is definitely less of a “trendy” style, but that doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful! You’ll often see traditional interior design elements paired with other styles to give them an elevated, elegant look.

classic interior design style

What’s the Difference Between Traditional and Classic Design?

Classic design style is inherently more formal and elegant than traditional style. While both styles tend to incorporate antique and heirloom pieces of furniture and rely on darker wood tones, they come to life in different ways. In a traditional space, these pieces will be more craftsman-inspired and understated, with minimal ornamentation. Meanwhile, classical antiques tend to feature a bit more ornamentation, with scrolling and carved details. That’s because classic design ideas take inspiration from old-school French and Neoclassical designs, whereas Americana-inspired traditional design elements take more inspiration from Colonial and Craftsman interiors. That means classic pieces will elevate a space and give it a more formal, elegant vibe, while strictly American traditional style will be a lot more relaxed and approachable. So, while both styles are more historically inspired, they come to life in different ways.

Know you like antiques but still wondering “What’s my design style?” between classic and traditional? Take our style quiz to learn more about your unique style! But, as you’ll see throughout this post, you can also easily blend these styles together. So, who knows—maybe you’re drawn to a mix of both!

traditional interior designThe Style: Updated Traditional

This traditional style bedroom design blends furniture and decor from both contemporary and traditional interior design styles. To get this look, start with a classic color palette, like neutrals, warm woods, and pale greys. Then, incorporate a few pops of traditional patterns, as you see in the rug, bed linens, and floral wall prints. Keep the styling classic and sophisticated, not super busy. And opt for upholstered furniture like the leather bench and tufted headboard. For a contemporary spin, use traditional woods but in sleeker form—like this nightstand and dresser combo.

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traditional interior designThe Style: Traditional Collector

We love how this bedroom blends traditional interior design with an eclectic style for a cool, curated look. To get this design style in your space, be sure to use plenty of saturated earthy colors, like navy, ochre, and sand—they look great with the traditional style rug and the spindle bed (an iconic piece of traditional furniture). The casual gallery wall with traditional art pieces is a great way to blend these two design style ideas together. And the use of classic woven baskets and layered decor helps further tie the two looks together. For an even more eclectic spin, add layers of texture and color to your design. This will help your space pop with personality!

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traditional interior designThe Style: Timeless Traditional

This bedroom does a great job of blending classic and traditional interior design into a rich yet approachable space. To get this look, start with a neutral palette and add pops of muted primary colors. Traditional patterns like the wallpaper and Persian style rug help give this room that timeless look, along with elegant forms like the Louis Cane Back dining chair stationed at the desk. Keep the styling polished with finishes like brass, glass objects, and floral arrangements. And for an extra classic spin, keep the space clutter-free and purposeful—no superfluous furniture pieces here. There’s a mix of timeless and antique decor that fits perfectly into a traditional design. We love how this pared-down look gives off an air of luxury but remains minimalist and uncluttered so you can relax into a peaceful space steeped in tradition.

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traditional interior designThe Style: Stately Traditional

We love this very straightforward traditional design scheme that’s both elevated and elegant. Start with a black and white color palette that’s warmed up with wood tones, staying in line with traditional interior design style choices. The classic secretary style desk gives the room a polished look and there are various types of storage furniture pieces that give the space a true “study” look. Don’t forget, traditional interior design is known for its use of classic stylings like the books and stately office items, so incorporate them into your interior. Traditional style is great for offices, libraries, and studies because it offers a great place to show off your posh tastes and belongings!

Designer Tip: Add some greenery for a lively and organic touch!

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traditional interior designThe Style: Formal Traditional

This blend of classic and traditional interior design is pure luxury and sophistication. The space uses neutral colors with pops of black for contrast—a daring look that stays in line with classic rules of design. The antique brass details add a classic touch, while the styling on the bookshelf is elegant, simple, and perfectly balanced. The symmetrical layout gives it a formal and sophisticated feel to the interior, perfect for those who like posh styling but still want a living room you can actually feel comfortable having guests relax in.

Designer Tip: Opt for furniture with ornately carved legs or ball-and-claw feet for a truly classic look.

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traditional interior designThe Style: Traditional With a Coastal Spin

To get this traditional look, start with a neutral color palette—we love the use of soft pinks, beiges, and browns here. Then add in bright pops of colors like blue or green for contrast and personality. The carved wood tables add a classic spin but also feel coastal due to their weathered texture. The conversational layout fits with a traditional interior design style but is also casual and comfortable. And the blue console tables injects a fun and lively feel into the space. For a coastal spin, add natural materials like jute, rattan, sisal, seagrass, and even rope! It’s a great way to create a polished look while still getting the feel of a beachy breeze inside your home.

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traditional interior designThe Style: Vintage Farmhouse

This dining room offers an elegant take on traditional design with some rustic farmhouse upgrades. It uses a high-contrast color palette with dark greys, blacks, and whites to set the stage. The colors are cohesive, even though they are different styles, so they blend together well. Here, the traditional style furniture has rustic finishes, like the natural and weathered materials, to push the look more farmhouse than formal. Opt for a more formal layout to keep your space in line with a traditional style. This look is great if you love a cozy, farmhouse feel but want a more elevated look.

Designer Tip: Wall color creates drama! Try dark colors, like this moody shade of grey, to give traditional interior design a unique twist.

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traditional interior designThe Style: Updated Traditional

This living room pairs a mix of transitional and traditional design elements to get a totally unique look. To get this vibe in your space, start with a classic blue and white color palette and warm it up with rich wood tones. We also love how this room uses traditional design patterns, like the rug, mixed in with transitional furniture, like the sectional and coffee table, to create an updated version of traditional interior design. All in all, it’s formal but comfy and casual. For a contemporary spin, use traditional wood tones with more modern forms, like the funky coffee table. This is a great look for those who like a cool, calming vibe for the living room with an air of sophistication.

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The Style: Urban Traditional

For a cool, calming take on traditional design, try blending in some industrial elements, as seen in this swanky living room. This style uses a darker, muted palette with plenty of pops of dark blue and green. Traditional patterns like the rug mixed with solid leather upholstery help maintain the formal, sophisticated look. And classic pieces, like the parquet coffee table and tufted leather bench, offer a traditional vibe with an industrial twist. This look is great for those who love traditional design elements but want a more modern, minimalist take on the look.

Designer Tip: Keep your styling simple so the furniture can be the star of the interior.

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traditional interior designThe Style: Traditional Elegance

This traditional dining room does a great job pairing classic and traditional interior design to create a look that’s elegant but still soft and welcoming. The blue-grey color palette with lots of whites and creams creates an inviting and serene atmosphere. The antique metal chandelier adds and antique/classic feel and the signature Louis cane back dining chair adds extra elegance. The room has a formal vibe with the floral centerpiece and symmetrical layout, making it a great dining room for entertaining guests. It’s just sophisticated enough to make any gathering feel formal, but you can also dress down the styling to make it feel just right for family dinners.

Designer Tip: To keep it a bit more casual feel, opt for weathered wood instead of dark polished wood pieces.

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