Traditional Style Guide:
The Refined Residence
If historic detail and classic grandeur define your tastes, a traditional look could be your home’s perfect fit. Whether you’re outfitting a townhouse in the city, decorating a stately Colonial or Tudor, or simply looking to add a sense of elegance to an updated apartment, traditional furniture and decor bring warmth and polish to any home. Follow these tips for pulling together a timeless look.
Classic Style 101: The components of traditionally elegant decor.
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1
Timeless Details
For a look that will never go out of style, incorporate Oriental rugs, furniture with classic elements like turned legs and carving, and antiques-inspired accents like ceramic lamps and gilded mirrors.
2
Grand Proportions
Complement a larger room’s proportions with an oversized pieces that command attention: a dining table fit to entertain a crowd, a four-poster or sleigh bed, or a generously sized Chesterfield sofa.
3
A Sense of History
Incorporate antiques and traditional silhouettes like Louis-style dining chairs, secretary desks, wingback chairs, and trestle tables. To freshen it up, look for classic shapes in updated materials like jewel-toned velvet.
4
Timeless Materials
When choosing furniture and accents, you can’t go wrong with hard-working materials like linen, polished wood, brass, leather, and marble. Incorporate shine with crystal chandeliers, metallic accents, and lacquered furniture.
Elements of Traditional Style: How to put together a classically refined look.
The Palette:
A traditional interior is all about understatement—designs that catch your eye but don’t feel trendy or overdone. Consider decorating within one of the following palettes, which add depth to a space while retaining a sense of elegant restraint.
Polished Neutrals
Cream, taupe, and espresso blend well with nearly any accent color. Use neutral shades for your foundations, and incorporate texture using plush pillows, rugs, decorative lighting, and accents with a hint of shine.
Classic Drama
A neutral palette with deep colors like navy or olive straddles the line between conservative and fashion-forward. Vibrant window treatments, accent chairs, and throws are all ways to incorporate bolder shades.
Gorgeous Grayscale
Combining black, white, and gray feels both sleek and traditional. Mix furniture and accent pieces in black and white, and incorporate grayscale prints. Layer in glossy lacquer, shimmering mercury glass, and metallic accents.
Blue Hues
Blue is the most popular color choice in home décor for a reason: it's a timeless shade that looks even more beautiful when done in a tonal palette like royal, navy, and sapphire.
Traditional Furniture
For traditional spaces that still feel fresh, aim for a balance between old and new, antique and contemporary. These guidelines can help you select just the right blend.
Choose Classic Silhouettes
Wing chairs, spool chairs, trestle tables, and chaises are beloved for a reason. Features like cabriole legs, and claw feet make tables and chairs feel regal, and interesting details keep the eye moving from piece to piece.
Look for Tailored Upholstery
The traditional look is very finished. Hand-applied details such as button-tufting, nailheads, and welting convey refinement and speak to classic aesthetics.
Mix Your Finishes
For a collected look, combine wood furniture in ebony, cherry, and chestnut shades. Don’t be afraid to break up a living room or bedroom set. Mixing in glass and stone-topped tables can add to a room’s layered effect.
Traditional Accents & Decor
A hand-selected assortment of decorative touches sets a thoughtful, dignified tone. Consider these ideas when choosing accents for your traditional space.
Mix in Antiques
Try hanging an antique mirror above a contemporary sofa, or dress a sleek bookcase with a set of vintage figurines The contrast will draw attention to the age and history of your finds, sparking conversation.
Dress Walls and Windows
Whether you opt for simple rod-pocket curtains or elegant pinch-pleat drapes, window treatments and hardware help to finish the look. Similarly, hanging an art collection can give a gallery-like sophistication to a space.
Make a Statement Overhead
Chandeliers, ceiling medallions, and other overhead details emphasize the architecture of a room—a surefire way to create a traditionally elegant air.

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