Traditional Interior Design: Characteristics of this Timeless Style

Traditional interior design is timeless and comfortable. While it has roots in the Georgian era, it doesn’t belong to a specific period.

Traditional design is a good fit if you want your home to look put together without feeling stuffy or going out of style. Here’s a look at the origins of this classic design style and how you can incorporate it into your spaces.

The History of Traditional Interior Design

Traditional home decor

Traditional interior design originated in the 18th century under the influence of Georgian architecture.

Architects based Georgian-style homes on symmetry with even window placement and columns on either side of the front door. The interior matched the neatness of the exterior, often boasting neutral color schemes, marble or wood floors, detailed woodwork, and fireplaces with carved mantels.

Because there was such a focus on balance with Georgian-style homes, it naturally flowed into the furniture arrangement and decor. For example, a couch might sit opposite two matching chairs, and a large painting might balance out a console table.

Traditional interior design remained popular as Neoclassical architectural styles made their way throughout much of Europe and the United States. Traditional interior design offers a classic look that is devoid of trends. 

The Difference Between Traditional and Transitional Interior Design

Transitional style is a combination of traditional and modern interior design. It’s one of the most popular interior design styles in the United States. On the other hand, traditional interior design doesn’t use any modern pieces or colors and sticks to a neutral color scheme and softer furniture.

Traditional Interior Design Characteristics

Today’s traditional interior design follows a pattern – neutral colors, balance, comfortable furniture, and antique pieces. Here’s how to get the look.

Go for a Muted or Neutral Color Scheme

Traditional interior design color palettes are muted or neutral. You can use white, tan, sand, and creams or muted blue, yellow, and green tones. You won’t find bright paint or vivid color on the walls of traditional homes.

Opt for Comfortable, Upholstered Furniture

While modern furniture features sleek, squared-off lines, traditional furniture can be oversized and soft. The furniture is upholstered and often rounded.

Arrange Rooms Based on Symmetry

A guiding principle of traditional interior design is symmetry. Your furniture layout needs to be balanced, as does your wall decor. It’s often better to opt for matching furniture sets or, at the very least, matching sets of chairs. 

Hang Landscape Art

Large landscape portraits are prevalent among traditional styles. But when purchasing them, keep scale and symmetry in mind. Your art must balance whatever furniture is below it.

Choose Timeless Flooring

Avoid trendy flooring if you want a traditional look – instead, choose timeless options like mid-toned hardwood floors, neutral tiles, marble, neutral carpet, and other stone floor options. 

Incorporate Antique Pieces

Antique pieces can give your room history and texture. Since traditional style is rooted in history, use antiques when possible.

Add Crown Molding, Board and Batten, or Wainscotting

Most Georgian and Neoclassical homes featured intricate woodwork and molding. While today’s traditional interiors aren’t quite as ornate, they can benefit from crown molding, wainscotting, or board and batten wall treatments.

Examples of Traditional Interior Design

Here are some pictures of traditional-style interiors.

Traditional Style Bedroom

Traditional Bedroom decor

Traditional-style bedrooms can feature wooden, metal, or upholstered headboards. The designer chose an all-neutral color scheme for this room with soft furniture and balanced window treatments.

Traditional Style Bathroom

Traditional vanity

This traditional bathroom incorporates dark wood cabinets, marble flooring, and a neutral wall. It lacks trendy items and creates symmetry with cabinets flanking both mirrors.

Traditional Living Room

Traditional living room decor

The furniture layout in this living room creates balance, lending to the classic style. The designers also added an antique buffet and end table and hung an appropriate piece of art over the fireplace mantel.

Traditional Kitchen 

Traditional blue kitchen cabinets

The classic elements in this kitchen, like the white outer cabinets, solid wood island, and mid-toned floors, lead to a traditional look that won’t fade out of style. The designer also chose other lasting elements like stone counters, backsplash, and classic light fixtures.