The Essential Elements of Traditional Home Design

By January 21, 2015 November 9th, 2018 No Comments

The essentials of traditional interior design focus on the use of materials that have been used in homes for centuries. Homeowners who wish to create a traditional ambiance in their home should ensure that all items and fixtures used in their design represent a single era and style.

Metal Accents

A traditional interior design uses metalwork and metal items from the pre-steel eras to evoke a sense of nostalgia and hominess. Wrought iron is well-known for its use in decorative accents, as well as in furniture sporting intricate, abstract metal patterns. Bronze, which has been traditionally used to sculpt statues and make tools, is synonymous with Old World artistry. Sterling silver has been a staple in traditional interior design and its use is comparable to that of stainless steel in modern design.

Wooden Finishes

Distressed wood finishes add a classical, almost rustic touch to a traditional interior. The worn-out texture of wood grain lends casual realism to homes with classic themes. Rich, dark mahogany wood was a popular material in Northern European furniture designs during Victorian and Rococo aesthetic eras, making it an excellent choice for homes with eighteenth and nineteenth-century themes. Oak is a common, timeless material favored by many traditional designers who desire their furnishings to emulate twentieth-century design.


A traditional interior design often includes unique upholstery on all sitting surfaces. For example, silk velvet fabric is commonly used on vintage love seats and bench seats. Dark reds and deep purples are quite popular color choices for such upholstery in Victorian-era furniture pieces. Leather and faux leather are not typically used in traditional upholstery unless some rustic elements have been incorporated into the rest of the design.

Time Warp Consistency

The traditional interior design attempts to recreate the ambiance of a particular era within a home. Decorative pieces and accessories are carefully hand-picked to ensure consistency in chronology. Grandfather clocks and vintage telescopes, for example, go well together in Victorian-styled homes. Similarly, Dutch-style fireplace tiles combine well with reproduction paintings of landscape and genre themes from the Dutch Golden Age.


Light fixtures in traditional settings usually mimic early forms of illumination. Light bulbs, for example, might be shaped like elongated candle flames or places beneath stained glass shades. Lanterns are quite popular in these design, as they recall the times when kerosene and other crude sources were used for illuminating interior spaces. Traditional table and floor lamps should have conical, cloth shades and feature concealed switches.

Traditional design techniques and materials are simple, though proper execution of the design is often not. It can be challenging to take a new home design and fill it with a warm, nostalgic ambiance, but many homeowners find a traditional decorative theme to be a perfect reflection of their aesthetic sense. Whatever your unique aesthetic inclinations, there is likely an era and style to suit your home.

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