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Traditional Style - Too Old School Or Can It Be Sexified?

Updated: Oct 27, 2020

For lack of a better headline, I thought that this one communicated exactly what I wanted to talk about when it comes to traditional style.

Traditional style has always been associated with more formal homes. Lots of dark, rich wood furnishings with heavy carvings or marquetry, lots of ornate details, heavy textiles, layered window coverings with trimmings, oriental rugs, and deep, saturated colors.

Traditional can be beautiful and even remain fairly timeless, but these days people don't necessarily live in formal spaces. They can appreciate the quality and layered approach of traditional style, but prefer to be in spaces that are more livable for everyday activities.

The great news is that if you love traditional style, but not so much the formality, you can have your cake and eat it too.

Creating a "new traditional" space will give you all the good things of traditional style with none of the heavy formality. Traditional can now be light, fresh with a modern twist

Take the living room above that we completed last year. The overall feel is a new traditional vibe, but freshened up and brought into today and yes, sexified.

The architectural lean of the space is fairly contemporary with the clean lines and white walls. The materials are also fairly contemporary but are informed by the past - wood floors with a lighter gray tone, the fireplace tile in porcelain that resembles marble

We started with the gorgeous wool, hand-knotted rug. The pattern is a traditional style, but it feels a bit more loose and updated.

Here is a similar one from our online store

The upholstery pieces we chose for the room have traditional lines, but we updated the fabrics with contemporary patterns, textures and great and durability.

The chairs for example are skirted, just like you would find in a traditional living room, but they are done in leather, and a teal color at that, which is quite unique and modern

The sofa above is a great example of how to sexify traditional. The style of the sofa is very traditional, but that bold black and white geometric fabric definitely freshens it up. The finish of the wood is also indicative of a more modern interpretation of traditional.

You can also find this beauty in our online store

Now back to our new traditional living room

One of my favorite pieces in the room is the pair of gorgeous two-tone credenzas. Notice how the lines are more traditional in style, but the finishes, mix of materials and oversized hardware make them much more modern? Even the styling is a nod to the the traditional style with florals, books, marble boxes and chinoiserie ginger jars. Yet these remain light and contemporary

We added bold abstract art above it to lean this vignette more towards contemporary

The entire composition of the focal wall is very symmetrical, which is a hallmark of traditional style, yet we chose a grand, statement chandelier in black iron, which has a slight industrial feeling.

From this angle you can see the floor to ceiling custom drapery panels framing this large contemporary windows.

Every traditional space will have beautiful draperies in fabulous textiles - usually silk, woven, moire, and velvet with layers of sheers.

Here we kept it very clean and simple with beautiful gauzy semi-sheer linen panels in white. They almost fade into the background, but play their role of softening the windows and allowing the eye to take in the views. We added classic greek key trimming to each ends of the panels for a bit of pop

In case you don't know this, we provide stand-alone custom drapery service. You don't have to be doing a full service project to order custom draperies. We will even ship to wherever you are in the United States. Learn more HERE

Another view of our gorgeous custom draperies, and the other side of the focal wall.

When it comes to styling a new traditional room, always go for a "collected over time" approach, versus the "straight out of a catalog" look. Incorporate objects that tell a story, that are unique and interesting.

One of my favorite styling item in this living room is the collection of blue and white chinoiserie ginger jars

Traditional spaces in the past would typically include far-east inspired motifs in pottery, screens, textiles and dinnerware. These days, simple ginger jars and garden stools add a great touch and interest.

Bringing in nature through greenery and florals is always a great idea in a new traditional space

If you are worried about not having a green thumb, or having to replenish fresh flowers regularly, some high quality faux florals will do instead

If you have a plain space in your home, you love traditional, but want something a bit fresher, here is another example of project we completed last year.

You will see some of the principles I mentioned above repeated here.

In this case we started with cleaning up the millwork in the background a bit and painted the whole thing a fresh greige.

The rug, symmetry of the bookcases on either side of the fireplace and wing back chair lean more to the traditional end of the style spectrum, but we used things like grasscloth wallpaper and a bold tribal textile to modernize this space.

And how about our famous bathroom for a modern interpretation of traditional style?

Or the master bedroom that won us a prestigious international architectural and design award?

Do you see it now? What elements can you point out that reflect traditional style? What unexpected element do you see in the above photo that speaks to traditional style? I'll give you a hint - it's an iconic pattern that you will likely see in every traditional space.

Leave us a comment. We would love to know your thoughts

And before I go, how about these beautiful antelope pillows from our online store? Do you love them as much as I do?

Head to our portfolio to see more of our work, and feel free to reach out with questions about any one of our spaces that inspire you.

Our online shop is in full swing, with lots of products ready to ship. You will also find great inspiration for your home on our shop home page!

Wishing You Beauty And Inspiration!


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