living room with architectural details

Style Guide: Traditional

There’s a reason that so many Southern California homeowners enjoy traditionally styled rooms and furnishings. These interiors boast a timeless blend of symmetry, classic patterns, and subtle color schemes. This foolproof design style can feel familiar and comfortable – like coming home.

This look takes its inspiration from the past; it reflects classic European décor, including British Colonial revival, 18th century English, 19th century neoclassical and French country. The old world lends refined furnishings, gorgeous textiles, dignified colors, and a sense of order making this beloved style easy to live with.

Traditional style can be combined with other interior elements to create a unique look in a room. Even if you don’t characterize your style as strictly traditional, I bet you’ll enjoy blending some traditional elements into your home and style.

Hunter Douglas Duette® Architella® honeycomb shades

Hunter Douglas Duette® Architella® honeycomb shades


Traditional design is all about balance, from architecture to furniture placement. Formal seating arrangements invite conversation, and are positioned along the axis of the space. Pairings of furniture and accessories work to create a sense of symmetry around a focal point, such as a picture window, a favorite work of art, a fireplace, or a large piece of furniture.

Curves and Comfort

Traditional interior design is all about silhouettes – also called the lines – of the furnishings. Wing-backed chairs, claw footed tables, and elegant, curved furniture are examples of this look. Antiques are also often integrated into this design style, but you can also find new pieces that mimic the lines of the pricier antiques.

No sharp angles here — traditional rooms emphasize curves and comfort. Skirted sofas and upholstered chairs feel cozy and balance leggy tables and chairs. Look for lots of plump cushions and pillows.

Deep Wood Tones

Darker wood tones like walnut, cherry, mahogany, or oak dominate traditional style. From walnut railings on a white staircase to cedar beams across the ceiling, wood provides the warmth and coziness so essential to this look. Carved wood furniture can bring a luxurious feel to any Long Beach or Orange County home. Wood floors are also considered a standard for this decor, although tile and carpet are often used as well. Add a gorgeous Persian or Oriental rug to complete this traditional look on your floors.

Architectural Details

living room with architectural detailsTraditional homes are best known for their beautiful finishing touches. Look for moldings and plasterwork, which bears strong detailing and is painted crisp white or ivory. Arches, columns, and built-in cabinetry are also frequent features of this type of design. Traditional trim doesn’t have to be ornate, but it should add visual weight; skimpy moldings or a floating mantel won’t seem at home.

Mellow Metals and Sparkling Crystals

formal room with chandelierTraditional metal finishes will be soft – think brass, bronze and copper for lighting and plumbing fixtures. Gilt-framed mirrors and artwork are always on point. Crystal chandeliers and sconces complement traditional elegance nicely.

Patterns, Texture and Textiles

Sitting room with patterns and draperyWalls are typically painted neutral colors to provide a canvas for the elaborate furnishings. Large upholstered pieces can also be neutrals, but most furniture in this type of room incorporates rich shades of colors like red, blue, and brown.

Fabric plays an important role in traditional home and often in solid colors, but many also feature patterns such as florals, damasks, or paisleys. Feel free to mix and match, but stick to your color palette.

Hunter Douglas Parkland® Classics™ blinds

Hunter Douglas Parkland® Classics™ blinds

Traditional rooms are perfect for pulling out all the stops with window treatments. Use luxurious fabrics and add embellishments such as tassels to draw attention to draperies. Panels — either straight or pleated — and valances are old standbys. Simple blinds or plantation shutters work well especially when highlighting specialty-shaped windows.

Art and Accessories

If you like to fill your walls with beautiful art and accessorize your mantle, tables and shelves, then traditional style is right up your alley. Artwork and accessories often incorporate more vibrant colors and give the all-important air of welcome. Collections are massed together or fanned out in a logical way: china, figurines, plants, books, or globes. Plates and platters look right at home on the walls. Mirrors tend to be grand and gracious.

Traditional design is one of the most versatile styles for today’s Southern California homes. You can easily mix traditional elements with most other design styles to make your spaces unique and comfortable. It is how you can pull a favorite family heirloom into a modern living room or add a stunning chandelier over your dining table. Experiment with a traditional room or just add a traditional touch to bring history, warmth and charm into your home.