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Home :: Design Center :: Articles :: Design :: Style Profile :: At-Heart Traditionalist
Style Profile
was featured in
Smart Spaces

October, November & December 2014


Style Profile

At-Heart Traditionalist
Crazy for ContemporaryTeam TransitionalCall Me Casual

At-Heart Traditionalist

Traditional movements like Chippendale and Victorian continue to inspire and influence us even though they were introduced long ago. Today’s traditional designs take subtle (and not so subtle) cues from these movements. While traditional style is broad and covers a plethora of smaller sub-styles, there are similar characteristics that tie them all together. Beautiful traditional spaces tend to strike a balance between upholstery and wood or metal, patterns and solids, and dark and light colors.
Look around your existing room—s there one pattern or color that you’re most drawn to? Work it into more than one spot in the space but use different applications for some variation.


Tables, seating and cabinets tend to have turned, barley twist, spindle or bun feet, while sofas and headboards often feature soft arches. Chair and sofa arms are typically rolled for added elegance. Nailheads and carved appliqués are just a sampling of the kinds of flourish you can expect. There is a respect for craftsmanship in traditional design, so pieces are rarely unadorned.


The woods used in traditional decor lean to the “red” side, like cherry and mahogany, but frequent appearances are also made by walnut and oak. Formal pieces may also feature intricate details like marquetry (inlaid wood in varying stains and species that make up a pattern) and elements like pie cuts or basket weaves.


You name it and it’s had a place in traditional design. Toile, stripes, florals, chintz, jacquard and damask, solids and textures—if you like 'em all, you can have ’em all! Layering patterns and textures has been mastered by the design greats when tackling traditional interiors. Repeating patterns are also common unless they feel too abstract or contemporary.
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