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Bobby Breaks It Down: What is Traditional Design?

Design: Ginny Macdonald

Many design styles come (and go) over the years. But some have the staying power to become total classics. And today, we’re looking at one style that may have started hundreds of years ago – but is still just as relevant today. Get ready to learn all about traditional. 

You may think of traditional style as stuffy and totally formal. And while it’s certainly not super laid back, it’s also not just rooms full of furniture that looks too nice to sit on either. Traditional has lots of elements that have become classics in design – and can work with lots of different styles too. And we’re about to teach you everything you need to know.



Keep scrolling to learn about the origins of traditional design and see some of our favorite traditional spaces. And come back tomorrow to see all our picks for traditional furniture, lighting, and accessories.


Want to learn about even more design styles? Check out our posts on Mid-Century, Boho, and Industrial and learn What’s Your Interior Design Style?

Design: BHDM


As you probably guessed, traditional design is inspired by, well, tradition. Its roots go back to 18th and 19th-century Europe when interiors had a definite formal feel and design elements were highly decorative. Architecturally, homes focused on symmetry and bringing in details through wall paneling, molding, and centering a room around an ornate fireplace. Classic art, antiques, and finely crafted furniture were also important components of a traditional interior.

As we know it today, traditional style pulls reference points from not only English, French and Italian design, but also elements from all over the globe. There’s also a broader mix of materials and a focus on more open and inviting spaces (go meet the demand of how we live now).  And many designers today are taking traditional spaces and design elements and giving them a real twist for the 21st Century. By mixing in more modern pieces in a traditional space,  it’s certain this style isn’t going anywhere.



  • Carved Wood or Stone Fireplaces
  • Columns
  • Crown Moulding
  • Exterior Shutters
  • Symmetry
  • Wood Paneling
  • Wood Stair Railings



  • Chandeliers
  • Drapery
  • Floral Prints
  • Hanging Lanterns
  • Ornate Wood Furniture
  • Persian Rugs
  • Rolled Arm Sofas
  • Tufted Furniture
  • Wingback Chairs