• Larry Witt

Merging Traditional With Contemporary Design

Many of us have either invested in or inherited some gorgeous traditional furnishings at some point in our lives. The problem? With today’s focus on clean, tailored lines, it can feel a bit awkward trying to fit these pieces into your design.

Fortunately, the elegant show-stopping presence of traditional design has proven a timeless look - when executed right, that is. Because traditional furnishings offer such a powerful punch, it’s important to make sure your home doesn’t become too heavy or too traditionally themed (if that’s not the look you’re going for). Adding those special pieces here and there will add a unique touch while still blending in cohesively with your contemporary pieces.

Here are some of my favorite traditional pieces as well as easy ways to add them into your current interior design.

Dramatic Chairs

Image: Nicola Interiors

Color, pattern, and texture are all characteristics of traditionally styled chairs, making them stunning accent pieces. These large and luxurious furnishings can work in a design’s favor, not only for their grandiose effect but because of their extreme comfort and one-of-a-kind guise. While most often found in floral, damask, and paisley prints, if you want to update your traditional pieces, reupholstering them will allow you to customize the look while keeping the lavish silhouette.

Rich Woods

Image: Design Directives

Image: Nandina Home & Design

Image: Courtney Thomas Design

Nothing says “traditional” quite like dark, rich woods. From bed frames to tables, such intricately engraved casegoods are a staple in traditional interiors. Since traditional casegoods are quite dark, thick, and heavy it’s best to keep these pieces spread out throughout the home or giving your pieces a softer tone, using light linens or even paint - such as the white night stands pictured above. When a room has one or two traditional pieces, the look can be quite ravishing, just make sure to keep these larger pieces to a minimum or that the surrounding furnishings and textiles are light and easy going.

Ornate Details

Image: Lumar Interiors

Image: VRA Interiors

Image: Betty Wasserman

Traditional designs are quite exquisite when it comes to the smaller details of a home. Whether the details be wood, metal, or glass, a sense of luxury is always apparent. These ornate details may be one of the quickest and easiest ways to add in traditional elements to your transitional or contemporary home as this type of decor will accentuate a look without overpowering it. If you’re looking to add a few traditional touches without making the commitment, start small - kitchen/bathroom hardware, mirrors, lighting, or antiques.

It’s important to understand that when redesigning a home to fit a contemporary style, you don’t need to start from scratch. There is so much beauty in traditional design, and it’s easier than one thinks to incorporate such pieces into today’s trends. So, before throwing out your “outdated” furnishings, make sure you’re not throwing away a potential gem!

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