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What is traditional interior design [complete guide]

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Traditional interior design – The grandeur of 18th and 19th century, where interiors is unmatchable. This is time, where symmetrical detailing and aesthetic sense of art is of utmost importance.

The world has moved towards contemporary interior design and minimalistic and space-saving furniture options to ward off the clutter. The interiors are more subtle, sober, and plain to have a mind-calming effect. Home space is kept more airy and clean.

Office in traditional interior design

However, the intricacy and beauty of traditional interiors is undeniably exquisite. The appeal of traditional interior designs of 18th and 19th century revolves around rich, grand, and handsome designs. 

What is Traditional Interior Design?

Traditional interior design is reflection of the past where people prioritize ornamentation and aestheticism over simplicity and subtlety. In fact, it is the complete opposite of what people aspire for today—monotony.

Traditional interior designed living room

The inexplicable splendor of traditional interior designs is remarkable. Even today, people enjoy adding such traditional details to their homes.

The architects and craftsmen of the past used to invest hours into the crafting a single piece of interior.

For example, in the 18th century, fireplaces came with architraves, dwarf columns, projecting cornices, and frieze to form the ornate mantelpieces. 

I see Traditional interiors not only as glimpse of our past, but a walk through the stately preferences of the people of those times. 

Traditional Interior design features

Before starting off with the redesigning of our interior, you must be familiar with the major features of early times to achieve a similar look.

Popular features of traditional interior design are:

  • High ceilings
  • Alcoves
  • Niches
  • Sash windows
  • Vases and urns
  • Delicate Chinaware
  • Carved sculptures of Roman gods and goddesses
  • Classical figures
  • Swags, ribbons, and garland motifs
  • Wall and floor stenciling
  • Extensive wall paneling
  • Mural decorations
  • Pastel color schemes (soft greys, whites and pea greens)
  • Wall murals portraying picturesque landscape
  • Wrought iron works
  • Intricate moldings – not grand
  • Animal figurines such as satyr, griffin and sphinx used as handles or bases 
  • Soft fabric and elegant furniture
  • Stonework
  • Roman style columns
  • Plasterwork

Characteristics of Traditional Interior Design Styles

Traditional interior design is based on the style of Western buildings and homes built during the 18th and 19th centuries. Furniture, the prominent characteristic of traditional designs, was heavily drawn byl Norther European design from the era of Queen Anne, Chippendale and Hepplewhite. 

Due to the influence of Baroque and Rococo, the 18th century designs took a shift towards luxury and opulence. Here’s how you can refashion your home with a traditional touch to it:

1. European Influence

If you are someone who admires colors, art, intricacy, and symmetry, traditional interiors are a perfect options for you! 

Traditional décor has an appeal for those who admire the fineness of antiques, symmetry, classic artistic pieces, and other elements. These historically-rich designs will make you take pride in its order, harmony, and comforting charm.

Moreover, European décor influenced traditional interior designs as well. Its timeless style exemplifies comfort and elegance. Due to this oriental influence, chests, shelves, consoles, and center tables are ornamented with delicate Chinaware objects such as teapots, figurines, and vases. 

The interior decorating style is based entirely on one’s aesthetic sense and on one’s choice of art pieces. 

In contrast with modern interior designs, traditional interior is all about embellishment of the house with the most exquisite and expensive pieces as well as traditional souvenirs from around the world.

2. Warm Tones:

Traditional interiors are all about rich and warm tones, dark woods, and refined colors. At that time, wood had warmer tones in contrast to the lighter tones chosen for the walls. 

Why? Neutral tones of the walls create a spacious look, while the accented tones have a welcoming and dignified feel upon the people. 

Preferably, darker colors and dramatic patterns are well-integrated into the window treatments, upholstery fabrics, as well as floor coverings for a traditional look. The subdued wall paints are complimented with drapery fabrics and upholstery. Traditional décor patterns include damasks, stripes, paisleys, florals, and plaids for furniture pieces, walls, and drapes.

Red, green, brown, and warm jewel tones are prominent accent colors in interior design styles. 

Instead of painting your walls red, yellow, green, and blue, why don’t you balance out the neutrals with dark-toned drapes, dark-wood furniture, and ornaments? Aren’t you excited to change the look of your home? 

Apart from that, molding and wood trims are commonplace in traditional interior designs, especially the crown molding that accentuates the subtle and formal look of your ambiance. They are equally employed in stained finishes as well as in light-painted finishes. Extensive use of wall papers and wall stencils to revive the traditional look is quite common as well.

In traditional spaces, hardwood floors are the chief style and the warmer the tone, the better. Opt for mahogany, cherry, maple, merbau, or walnut shades to give your home a traditional touch.

If you cannot afford much, simply repaint the furniture in darker tones, and get your home painted in lighter tones. Moreover, crown molding is another prominent feature that you can add to your home for its grand look.

3. Regal-Style Furniture

To create a stately look, there should be nothing near to minimalism. 

The heavier, the more embellished, and the more sumptuous the furniture pieces are, the more traditional your home space will appear.

Living room inspired by traditional interior design

Furniture is designed exclusively with dark reddish mahogany wood and heavy lacquer. Each piece of furniture is mostly curvilinear with motifs on it. The curved edges, wingback style mostly beige or brown sofas and chairs are a prominent feature of traditional furniture.

If you cannot afford to change the entire sofas, why not start with changing the designs of the drapes and sofas in accordance with the traditional styles?

Preferable fabrics in traditional designs are crewel, velvet, silk, and chintz, which still remind us of their magnificence. Along with that, striped, plaid, and tone-on-tone designs were also used. 

Moreover, you can also find a lot of button-tufted pieces, claw-foot ornaments, and armchairs with exclusive woodcarvings or metallic details in traditionally-themed furniture.

Overall, traditional furniture is all about motifs, intricate designs, and woodcarving or detailing. 

4. Sophisticated Furnishings

Traditional designs are represented by finer details. The traditional home décor is illustrated with grandiloquent touches of chandeliers, huge book cases, classic floor and table lamps, delicate chinaware, candleholders, vases, sconces, mirrors, etc.

Now-a-days, if you choose to redesign your home in a traditional fashion, you might consider adding a dash of silver and gold to the accessories placed around the home. Ensure that they are placed in a symmetrical fashion, and everything is well-balanced. 

Moreover, you can place traditionally-inspired metallic table and floor lamps, with neutral shades of fabrics. As for the accessories, classic artwork such as portraits, paintings, nature scenes, historical scene, and contemporary art of medieval times can be hanged in huge, emblazoned frames complimented with decorative boxes, flowers, and artistic vases. 

Heavy curtains, valances, and drapes are another intricate aspect of traditional spaces. In addition, rugs, exquisitely designed, are considered a must-have in traditional home design. 

5. Ornate and Embellished Architecture

Architectural styles are what perfectly explain traditional home designs. Crown molding, wood paneling, columns, built-in-cabinetry, high ceilings, huge windows are reminiscent of opulent fashion of traditional designs. 

Predominantly, symmetry and balance is paramount in both traditional home décor and design. From lamps to sofas and chairs, everything needs to have a pair.

In contrast with modern interiors, where an amalgam of designs are brought together under one roof, traditional interior decorating styles are all about a ‘sense of balance’.


Around a television set, a central piece of art, or a fireplace, an equal number of ornamental pieces must be added to create a sophisticated look. 

My Final Verdict

Overall, traditional design revolves around a collection of elegant artistic designs and intricate patterns to create a comfortable, homey space. 

So, if you wish to design your home in a traditional fashion, you need to abandon the idea of minimalism altogether. If you are attracted by art and interior design of the classical period, and enjoy the appeal of warm tones of furniture, you should opt for traditional interiors. 

You can give your mono-tone and minimalistic home a classic look by bringing in some colors, delicate decoration pieces, intricately-designed furniture, elegantly-fashioned rugs, and heavily-embellished frames with masterpieces of art belonging to the classic period.

Did you like my pictures. Check my Pinterest account for more inspiration here.

1 thought on “What is traditional interior design [complete guide]”

  1. WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by
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