The traditional-style color palette can be neutral or based on jewel tones — think of a formal study with wood-paneled walls and burgundy leather club chairs. Wallpaper is often used with traditional decorating and can be simple, such as a tone-on-tone stripe, elaborate images of bowls of fruit, leaves and vines, or damask. Stencils are another alternative; try a classic pattern such as fleur-de-lis.
Fabrics are luxurious and plentiful. Brocades, velvets and tapestries can be used for upholstery or window treatments. Layered window treatments are common — sheer curtains, then draperies and a cornice, swag or valance. Seating tends to be upholstered with patterned fabrics and accessorized with patterned throw pillows and blankets. Although traditional fabrics are always in style, it's easy to give old themes fresh variations. For example, toile is offered in a number of colors. While this material has traditionally been used in common living areas, it can be paired with a fun pattern and used for curtains or bedding in a girl’s room. Fabric can also be hung on the walls instead of wallpaper. Hanging velvet, for example, can instantly transform an ordinary room into a plush environment.
Traditional styles are vast. Prior to the 1900s, France, Italy and England each had their own distinctive style of finely crafted furniture. Some of these pieces still exist in traditional-style rooms, while newer piece of furniture are either replicas or have been influenced by antique pieces. Most traditional-style furniture is made from solid walnut, rosewood or mahogany. Furniture styles include Queen Anne, easily identified by the curved legs, and Rococo, which is extremely ornate and often features a seashell or clamshell shape. Furniture pieces, such as four-poster beds, tend to be substantial in size and heavy. Wood is usually kept in its natural color or enhanced using stains instead of paint. Club chairs, wingback chairs and sofas are usually upholstered. Although traditional-style rooms should not be cluttered, they usually appear to be full of furniture and accessories.
- Details and Accessories
Accessories are an easy way to enhance a room. Details are important. For example, bronze- or pewter-colored nailhead trim or decorative tacks can be added to the bottom edge of a sofa or around the back of a chair. Tassel fringe is commonly added to draperies. Cord trim may be wrapped around the outside of an ottoman, or buttons can be sewn into the top of the ottoman. Wall art should include mirrors, still-life paintings and family portraits hung in frames. Tapestries can also be hung as wall art using a dowel.
- Estate sales can yield traditional furniture at discounted prices. Some buyers skip over pieces that look outdated, but new upholstery can make a big difference.
- Antiques, reproductions and newer furniture styles can coexist. Simply limit the accessories to traditional style.
- Crystal chandeliers are frequently used in traditional rooms, including bedrooms. Metal lamps should be bronze or pewter. Chrome and brushed-nickel lamps are associated with contemporary decorating.
- It is easy to inadvertently turn a traditional-style room into a cluttered space. Plan the furniture arrangement before you buy and always take the color and material palette with you when making decisions about furniture and fabrics.