- Furnishing and decorating your home can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know exactly which furniture style you prefer. Because there is so much overlap and nuance, defining different furniture styles isn’t always easy. Now that we’ve covered modern and contemporary furniture styles, it’s time to take a look at the traditional furniture style and how to take advantage of it in your home.
What is Traditional Furniture?
Also known as classic furniture, traditional furniture originated in Europe in the 1600s and hasn’t gone out of style since. Because people paid furniture makers by the hour, more intricate designs were a sign of wealth and status, making well-crafted furniture with these flourishes increasingly popular and coveted. In addition to ornate detailing, traditional design is also defined by dark wood elements, gold accents, gentle curves, patterned upholstery, plush fabrics, artful accessories, and other signature characteristics.
History of Traditional Design
While it’s earliest roots are in 17th century Europe, traditional design has grown and evolved since its Jacobean beginnings. Taking its inspiration from English and French designs of the 18th and 19th century, contemporary traditional furniture is most heavily inspired by Baroque, Rococo, Romantic, and Neoclassical styles. From Queen Anne and Pennsylvania Dutch to Chippendale, Victorian, and Arts and Craft, the traditional style continues to flourish into the 21st century. In fact, much of the furniture you see today gets its inspiration from traditional roots.
Major Elements of Traditional Furniture
While traditional design encapsulates a large range of more niche furniture styles, there are an array of characteristics that tend to be present across the spectrum of traditional furniture. More than anything, traditional decorating favors calm, orderly, consistent furniture, which comes together to create a warm, homey living space.
Rich Wood Tones
Traditional style tends to favor rich wood tones for any furniture pieces in the bedroom, living room, and dining room, but also for flooring and cabinetry in the kitchen. While these wood tones can be achieved through staining, traditional style tends to favor walnut, cherry, mahogany, and oak. Rich wood tones add a feeling of warmth and coziness, which is one reason why it’s withstood the test of time.
Along with rich wood tones, many traditional furniture pieces feature ornate detailing and curvatures. While this style originated in a time when mass production was impossible and all pieces were unique, traditional furniture maintains its elaborate design today. On dining room furniture, this can mean tapered legs and intricate seat back patterns. In the bedroom, traditional furniture pieces tend to be large, sturdy, and dramatic. While modern furniture favors simple, straight lines, traditional furniture tends to utilize curved embellishments and other intricate designs.
While mixing metals in interior design is a new trend, utilizing lustrous accents is a staple of traditional design. Because gold accent furniture and accessories reflect opulence, these pieces fit perfectly with a traditional aesthetic. While stainless steel doesn’t scream traditional, other metals like brass, bronze, and copper can add an element of style, whether you’re decorating a traditional bedroom, dining room, or living room.
The traditional furniture style is all about luxury and grandeur. When you’re decorating your home in the traditional style, you’ll want to choose plush fabrics, especially for any couches or upholstered chairs. Velvet furniture and upholstered headboards, two of this year’s hottest interior design trends, fit perfectly into the traditional aesthetic.
Especially when decorating a living room, patterned upholstery can be a great way to add a splash of traditional style. Whether you’re a fan of plaid, floral prints, or stripes, there’s always a place for fun patterns in a traditional living room. Not only do these patterns add texture to the room, but they can also serve as a focal point.
Unlike modern design, which favors clean lines, traditional design favors soft edges to sharp angles. This applies to the intricate designs on wood furniture and the large, rounded cushions found on traditional couches. Not only does this create a feeling of warmth and coziness, but it can even add to the comfort of different furniture pieces.
Whereas modern and contemporary design favors minimalism, traditional design embraces artful accessories, including everything from shelf decorations to wall art. When decorating in the traditional style, say goodbye to cold bare walls and shelves. Use shelves for collections of books, figurines, china, and globes, and fill the wall with wall art that complements your décor.
Symmetry & Balance
When decorating in the traditional style, symmetry and balance is key, not only in the furniture placement, but in the furniture itself. In terms of furniture arrangement, pieces are often grouped in formal arrangements along the axis of the room, creating a space perfect for fostering conversation and warmth.
Because wood flooring is so popular in traditional design, there is also an emphasis on large, exotic rugs. Not only do these rugs anchor the room, but they also help separate areas in the home, creating a distinctive space for entertaining guests. Choose from Persian, Oriental, or even geometric patterned rugs to tie your room together.
Examples of Traditional Furniture Styles
Within the traditional furniture style, there are an array of sub-styles, which borrow from the main characteristics of traditional design. While each of these design trends tend to include some or all the major characteristics of traditional furniture, they often shift the focus or add additional elements to create their own unique look and feel. In fact, within a sub-style, you may find characteristics of other major furniture styles.
Arts & Crafts Design
Furniture in the Arts & Crafts style tends to borrow elements from several different interior design styles, including traditional furniture. While it arose in response to mass production, Arts & Crafts pieces tend to celebrate the nobility of traditional craftmanship and its focus on unique flourishes. Other common characteristics include rich, dark wood tones, natural color palettes, and built-in elements, including shelves and elaborate moldings.
Art Nouveau Design
With some similarities to modern Art Deco design, Art Nouveau design plays up the decorative detailing, flowing lines, and elegant curved edges of traditional furniture styles. Some other common elements of the Art Nouveau style include floral patterns, stained glass windows, and exotic rugs.
Contemporary furniture is a blanket term that describes any furniture that is currently in style, and the classic contemporary furniture style brings a modern spin to traditional furniture style. In fact, much of the traditional furniture you see in new furniture stores likely falls into this category. Common characteristics include round and curved furniture, soft edges, and plush textures.
Baroque home design accentuates the ideals of opulence and luxury, which are often associated with traditional furniture. Some common elements of Baroque design include marble and granite flooring, irregular curves, intricately designed furniture, gilded accessories, oversized moldings, and symmetrical arrangement.
Like Baroque design, Jacobean design tends to be described as luxurious and ornate. Tables, chairs, and other furniture are crafted out of rich, dark woods, with intricate detailing featured prominently throughout the design. Other common elements include marble fireplaces, intricate banisters and ceilings, and silver sculptures.
This interior design style features characteristics from numerous other styles to evoke an elegance and timelessness many people adore. Like the traditional furniture style, neoclassic design prioritizes symmetry, lustrous accessories, dark wood, Persian rugs, and plush fabrics.
Traditional Furniture Available at Star Furniture & Mattress
Looking to furnish your home or apartment with traditional furniture? At Star Furniture & Mattress, we have a huge inventory of traditional furniture pieces for sale, including select pieces for the Arch. Salvage Collection. We even offer free interior design services and decorating tips at our furniture stores. Let us help you hone your decorating style, choose the perfect furniture to match your existing home décor, and provide the interior decorating tips you need to design the home of your dreams. Here’s a preview of some of our extensive inventory of traditional furniture.
Traditional Living Room Furniture
Looking to decorate your living room in the traditional furniture style? In terms of living room seating, be on the lookout for sofas and chairs with rounded edges, plush fabrics, and patterned upholstery. For end tables and coffee tables, try dark wood with intricately detailed table legs. In terms of interior décor and accessories, we recommend filling up walls and shelves with art and figurines. Persian or Oriental style rugs can also be a great way to anchor and define the room.
Traditional Dining Room Furniture
In traditional style homes, the dining room tends to be a separate room fully equipped with plenty of storage, including china cabinets and buffet tables adorned with china, figurines, or other trinkets. Traditional dining tables tend to be large, sturdy, and rectangular, with exquisitely detailed chairs. Since traditional dining rooms tend to have hardwood floors, many people decorate with a large area rug.
Traditional Bedroom Furniture
Looking to decorate your bedroom in the traditional style? At Star Furniture & Mattress, you have plenty of traditional bedroom furniture options. Choose from dark wood bedroom furniture, upholstered headboards, symmetrical pairings, and plush fabrics, all of which add to a classic, cozy bedroom. While you’re furnishing, don’t forget to take a look at our huge selection of mattresses. We’ll even throw in free delivery when you purchase any mattress over $999.
Traditional Accent Furniture
When decorating your home in the traditional style, accent furniture is a great way to add your own unique flair to any room. In terms of accent chairs, we recommend floral, stripes, or geometric prints, curved corners, neutral colors, and plush fabrics. You can even use hardwood bookcases and a chaise lounge to create a stylish reading nook. For cabinets and tables, look for dark wood colors, intricate detailing, or even lustrous accents that utilize brass, nickel, or gold.
Traditional Home Décor
(Pictured Above: Owen Demilune Console Table)
Looking for traditional home décor to complete your home? Unlike modern design, which hinges on minimalism, traditional homes tend to embrace knick-knacks, wall art, sculptures, figurines, and other decorative pieces. Decorative mirrors can be a great way to make any space look bigger, and traditional style favors detailed frames. When it comes to wall art, many traditional style homes have multiple pieces arranged at eye level. We recommend choosing a theme and arranging a few similar pieces in a grouping on the wall. Large area rugs can also be a great way to anchor the room and finish off the traditional look.
Worried about furnishing your home or apartment? The interior design experts at Star Furniture can help. Not only do we have a huge selection of traditional furniture for every room in the house, but we even offer complimentary design services at our furniture stores. You can also use our free room planning tool to preview different furniture arrangements. In the meantime, you can check out or interior design blog for helpful information, including our extensive Mattress Buying Guide and the Top Interior Design Trends of 2019.