Traditional Interior Design and How To Master It

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Traditional interiors are a breath of fresh air in today’s glam and industrial design era. They are arguably the classiest interiors of all when done correctly, and they can make any home – modern or period – look fantastic.

We adore the ornateness of traditional interior design and how it uses modern elements to create homely yet functional spaces.

This article explores traditional interiors and provides tips on how to master the style. Read on to transform your bedroom for the better. 

What is traditional interior design?

Traditional interior design takes inspiration from 18th and 19th-century European and British décor. Art Nouveau (most reminiscent of Gothic), Elizabethan style, and Tudor style are critical themes in traditional interiors.

However, traditional design IS NOT period design – it merges artistic, creative, and simple elements from different eras to create homely, textured spaces.

An example of period design is Buckingham Palace, now home to Charles III following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. The interiors for the palace were decided upon in the 1830s and represent Regency, Victorian, and Edwardian design.

The difference between traditional and period design is that traditional interior design merges several era elements in one space, focusing on modern needs for lighting and flow. The period design replicates one era as accurately as possible.

What are the elements of traditional style?

Here are some of the core elements of the traditional style:

  • Ornate wooden furniture
  • Gold gilded detailing
  • Patterned fabrics
  • Patterned wallpaper
  • Maroon and red highlights
  • Silk, linen, and velvet upholstery
  • Yellow, moody light
  • Layered colours and textures
  • Metal ceiling lights
  • Large artwork (rather than several smaller pieces)

However, the traditional style does not sacrifice modern living requirements for lighting, open spaces, relaxation, or minimalism. Rooms do not have to pack in loads of elements – you can get the look without spending a small fortune.

How to get the traditional look for your bedroom
Traditional bed

The fantastic thing about traditional bedrooms is they can have a wooden or metal bed frame, giving you loads of options.

If you want a wooden bed, go for dark wood – the Birlea Corona is true to the style, or you might prefer the striking Serene Maiden.

Pictured: Birlea Corona 4FT 6 Double Wooden Bed Frame – High Footend, Available from Bedstar.

Pictured: Serene Maiden 4FT 6 Double Wooden Bed Frame, Available from Bedstar.

With metal beds, ornateness is the order of the day – the Julian Bowen Victoria and Callis Bed Frame are perfect with their golden detailing. The Harmony Beds Elizabeth ticks all the right boxes if you want something even fancier.

Pictured: Julian Bowen Victoria 4FT 6 Double Metal Bed Frame – Black, Available from Bedstar.

Pictured: Callis 4FT 6 Double Bed Frame, Available from Bedstar.

Pictured: Harmony Beds Elizabeth 4FT 6 Double Brass Bed Frame, Available from Bedstar.

Three-way colour scheme

The traditional interior design rests on a simple colour scheme. A three-way colour scheme gives you enough variety because you will use lots of textures and patterns, so keeping things uniform will help pull your interior together.

As a general rule, white or off-white should form 60% of your room, which includes the ceiling, most walls, and décor. 30% of your space can be a contrasting colour, such as beige or grey, and 10% can be an accent colour, like navy blue.

Ornate curtains

Your curtains and roller blinds should have ornate patterns reminiscent of Renaissance, Baroque, and Art Nouveau.

You can order made-to-measure blinds and curtains online, with a massive range of fabrics available. 247 Curtains and 247 Blinds have an enormous range, or you can buy pre-made curtains and blinds if you find something you like.

Traditional patterns include brocade, chintz, fleur-de-lis, and chinoiserie – these provide the designs you need for a traditional bedroom.

Damask wallpaper

Pictured: A embossed vinyl damask in a mottled metallic finish design.

For your feature wall, check out damask wallpaper – this imitates woven patterns in traditional fabrics. You can get gold and silver metallic damask patterns, or you can go for a plain, paintable wallpaper to add your colour.

Art Nouveau wallpaper is your best bet with lots of flowers, trees, and grassy patterns if it’s a specific era you want to capture.

Warm, moody lighting

Traditional bedrooms have warm, moody lighting reminiscent of Victorian streetlights. The best way to achieve this effect is with dimmer switches, so you can crank the brightness up when you need to and dial it down at night.

Pictured: Tiffany bedside lamp

Failing that, get yourself a touch-operated bedside lamp with a dimmer, so you can change the lighting next to your bed on a whim.


Jen Stanbrook
Jen Stanbrook

Jen is an award winning digital publisher and has been creating interiors and home decor content for over 10 years.
She has an insatiable love of home interiors, has worked with hundreds of brands, and currently supports many bloggers within the creative industries to share their expertise through writing.
She spends most of her time in her little garden office pod, has 2 daughters and 2 (fighting) cats.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram

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