Design Style Feature III: Traditional
By Colleen Wilson, ASID
Traditional design varies, depending on location, from Victorian to French Country to British Colonial to Mediterranean here in Southwest Florida, but always evokes warmth and comfort. Detailed moldings, tailored window treatments, oil paintings, crystal chandeliers, and carved furniture are the cornerstones of traditional design.
Traditional design starts with architectural detailing, including layout, window style and molding details. Wainscoting and paneled ceilings provide a classic backdrop to floral fabrics and sumptuous upholstery.
As in many design styles, lighting plays a major role in defining the traditional style. Chandeliers and sconces are often brass or bronze and are dripping with crystal. Portable lamps have fabric shades with tassels or fringe. Traditional lighting is not simple or stark – it is ornate and frequently overdone.
Fabrics and Color Scheme
Traditional color schemes vary by location, but are always rooted in historical colors – no Caribbean blue or flamingo pink here! Golds, peaches, rusts are off-set by warm greys or soft blues. Large floral patterns and fabrics with high sheen are indicative of traditional design and are accented by small scale patterns.
When most people think of traditional furnishings Chippendale and Queen Anne styles come to mind – although these styles aren’t going anywhere, the new traditional embraces cleaner lines on these styles. Furnishings still feature rich wood tones accented by bronze or brass hardware, but also have more contemporary elements.
Many traditional designs from 10 – 15 years ago now need a breath of fresh air. As designers, we accomplish this by incorporating the old with the new and keep the classic elements, while clearing out the clutter.