The Return Of Traditional Interior Design

When a design style comes back around, we get excited to see how the trend is incorporated into present-day design. In 2021 we began to see a rise in interest in traditional style interior design, and we’re happy to report it’s here to stay!

Shopping for traditional interiors looks very different in 2022, so we thought we’d investigate the best ways to shop this style. We’ve found that instead of running out to buy the latest and greatest decor in-store, design enthusiasts are peering into family attic antique stores and scouring the online world of vintage interiors to blend traditional interiors into their homes.

There are many ways to become part of the modern traditional or Grandmillenial design world! Whether you’re into the green and brown tones of the 90s or prefer a bright pop of pastel, there’s something for you in the world of new traditional interior design. 

What’s Old Is New Again

You don’t have to be a fan of traditional interior design to see the beauty in design trends making a comeback. 

Anyone who appreciates design, history, art, and craftsmanship can understand the return of this style. After all, even modern-style aficionados hunt for antiques to honor the origins of their favorite designs. Plus, having the original version of something is pretty cool!

In the world of design, we often use the word “retrofit.” This is usually used in conversations around rewiring old light fixtures to work with today’s standards, but it also applies here. We can gather traditional items from family members or vintage shops, but how do we rework (or retrofit) them to fit our current space?

If you find a new sofa you love that needs a new look, reupholster it to work with your current design scheme. When you run across the perfect dining table in the wrong color, consider having the item refinished. There are a million ways to rework antiques to work within your space. Let’s discuss a few ideas on shopping and enjoying traditional interior design. 

Blending Design Styles

The majority of interior design lovers prefer a blend of styles because we just love it all and can’t choose. If you’re a purist and go all-in on one style, all the power to you! 

Those of us who like to mix and match different trends and styles get excited about new decor challenges.

If you’re someone who likes the idea of traditional design accents but have no clue where to begin, here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Start at home. If your family is like ours, they’ve been begging you to take some of their old items. As in, take a second look at any family heirlooms you may have overlooked in the past. 

Passing down antiques has been a ritual since the beginning of time. While some of it may not be what you’re looking for, let them know you’re interested! Given the low (hopefully zero) cost, this is an excellent path of least resistance to incorporating traditional design items into your home.

  • Not everyone’s grandmother had a traditional design taste. For every person that collected art deco furniture, there’s someone whose family threw up an estate sale to get rid of their traditional treasures. The process can be very hit or miss, but when you hit, you win big! We recommend estate sales to those who enjoy the thrill of the hunt. 
  • There’s a reason we encourage you to shop antiques. There are already many exceptional items sitting in antique shops waiting to be enjoyed. The concept of taking on someone’s old decor is part of the ethos of traditional design. These items were purchased with the intent of the family to enjoy them for generations. 

Browsing through a thrift store is equally magical because you’re giving new life to these items. Remember that part of blending these items into your home involves updating them. When shopping, remember you can always clean up, refinish, paint and reupholster any item you find. Once you shop around with those things in mind, you’ll be impressed by how much potential you see!

  • Do your research. If you’re having a difficult time picturing how to combine your mid-century modern design taste with traditional interests, look for inspiration! Sometimes a quick Google search will help us see how two styles can work together. If you find a particular item you want to purchase, go to online resources such as 1stDibs to shop for any specific item. Remember, antique shopping is a marathon, not a sprint. 
  • Buy new. While we love the idea of sourcing vintage, we know how much time it takes. You don’t have to have an abundance of free time to incorporate traditional elements into your home. Designers make it easy today by designing furniture pieces that include traditional elements without the previously-used feel. Today, retailers are making it a point to include classic styles into their product lineup so you can shop new! Plus, you can easily make returns or exchanges if your item arrives and you decide it doesn’t work for your space. When shopping for antiques, it can be more tedious to return or resell an item that doesn’t work for you. 
  • Get creative. There are a million ways to get your hands on gorgeous traditional interiors. Some unique ways to shop for antiques would be to look at Facebook Marketplace, Etsy, and estate sales .NET.

Traditional Textiles 

You’d be hard-pressed to find traditional interiors without unique and elaborate textiles. While plain textiles are the foundation of most design styles, the traditional design embraces pattern on pattern. 

Taking on mixed patterns can be a bit overwhelming, but we’re here to help. Our favorite designs include detailed patterns, so we want to break down our favorite pattern combinations for traditional interior design. 

  • Floral & Stripe – We love this combination, especially when they’re in a similar color scheme and scale. Our recommendation for this combination would be F7275 Blanc and D9718 Dune.
  • Floral & Plaid – This mix of pattern is not for the subtle design lover. If you’re bold with your design choices, we suggest you pair F6164 Teal and M9313 Blue.
  • Toile & Stripe – We love seeing these in similar tones due to the contrast in these pattern styles. Turn the visual interest up a notch with F9553 Lagoon and M5855 Pumice.
  • Toile & Floral – Only the bravest traditional design lover would embrace this combination. We love the idea of placing KV857 and K1979 SAFFRON TRELLIS together. 
  • Toile & Plaid – Traditional pattern lovers rejoice when they see toile and plaid together! Take it to the next level with the contrasting colors of F6315 Sienna and K9599 SPRING.

Q & A

Question: What should I look for when shopping for traditional interior design?

Answer: We encourage you to do a little research up front to determine which traditional design items you’re most drawn to. Not everyone is going to love every element of one particular style. We see people mix and match traditional furniture with more modern-day textiles or contemporary furniture with traditional pattern textiles. It all depends on your personal taste!

Most importantly, you’re drawn to and enjoy the items within your home. If you’re in need of a new headboard, for example, look into traditional headboard design styles! This is an organic way to blend a style into your home over time. 

Question: I’m worried if I bring my parent’s old furniture into my home, it will feel like their house. How do I incorporate heirlooms into my home without it feeling old and stuffy? 

Answer: Many people can relate to the feeling of wanting to enjoy family antiques without them sticking out like a sore thumb. 

If this is you, consider using the item differently from your family in your home growing up. Use an old dresser as a bar in your dining room or your mom’s silver to hold your keys. They’ll love to see you enjoying these items, even if it’s different from how they used them. 

Question: Can I shop for traditional interior design without buying antiques? I’m not a fan of old or used items but appreciate the style. 

Answer: Absolutely, many retailers out there do a great job of carrying traditional-inspired designs. Retailers are notorious for reworking old design trends, which we love, but an entire space can miss the mark. We encourage you to look to antiques for inspiration, so your final design maintains a similar aesthetic. 

The Traditional Style Interior Design Comeback 

So what’s so great about the return of this style anyway? Designers and design lovers alike appreciate a bit of a treasure hunt, and sourcing traditional style interior design products is just that. Even when shopping for new products, the list of retailers is much smaller. 

Some parts of the US (think Savannah, Georgia, and New Orleans, LA) have local designers that have kept this design style alive through the early 2000s to today, but larger retailers carrying traditional interiors have dwindled. We’re confident that many more will catch on and reintroduce some classic designs, but then that would be too easy, wouldn’t it?

Whether you’re new to traditional interiors or you’re a purist and never left, you’re likely having a thrill with the return of this style. Never forget that what’s old can always be made new again with a bit of refresh, happy hunting! We know you’re hitting up estate sales and begging family members to let you inherit the goods finally, and we’re so glad to see it.

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