Design Styles Explained: Traditional

This is the first of a post series going in-depth on design styles while we are in a house project lull. My last post was a rough visual overview of common interior design styles.

Today’s post covers the Traditional style.

Traditional interior design comes from a long history of furnishings, that from our 2016 perspective, kind of look quite similar. Upon further studying interior design through the ages, each new style was a dramatic departure from the last style, to the people living in that time period. But can you really point out which living room is Baroque and which is Rococo in these pictures?

– Period Photos of Traditional Styles – Baroque and Rococo – 

Me neither.

But after studying these styles for a few hours, I figured out that Baroque, on the left, is more gilded, with darker color palettes, and Rococo, the style period immediately following the Baroque period, was more pastel. * **

They both look overly gauche to me. But both periods were times of ostentatious displays of wealth. Think of Louis XIV and then Louis XV.

Classical Roman/Greek, Byzantine, Medieval Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassical, Georgian, to Victorian; they all celebrated the work of the craftsman, designer and the architect. So furniture, moldings, wallpapers, and light fixtures were all incredibly ornate.

Studying these styles I realize that there is actually a lot of recycling of the styles. That’s why the term “Traditional” can encompass all of the styles I listed above. Neoclassical took from classical Roman and Greek, the early Victorian style was a nod to Gothic, and they all had a similar ornateness about them. It wasn’t until the 1920’s that we saw a radical departure from these traditional interiors.

– How to Identify Traditional Interior Design – 

  • Richly stained woods
  • Overstuffed furniture in sumptuous fabrics like velvet and silk
  • Intricate curves and carvings on things like wood chairs, arms or sofa legs
  • Furniture names: Chippendale, Queen Anne
  • Tailored window coverings
  • Floral patterns in decorative accents
  • Lots of symmetry
  • Soft edges
  • Conservative colors
Intricate carvings on wooden legs *
traditional chair
Overstuffed chairs in rich fabrics *
Persian rugs *
damask wallpaper.jpg
Floral or damask wallpaper *

– Modern Interpretations of Traditional Interior Design –

A contemporary room in the Traditional style *
A modern interpretation of Traditional interior design *
Neo-Baroque style *
Neo-Neoclassical Living Room *

– My Moodboard for a Traditional Living Room –

OB-Traditional Living Room
My Traditional Style Moodboard

8 thoughts on “Design Styles Explained: Traditional

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