23 Elegant, Traditional Living Rooms

New traditional style living room
Highgate House
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    Long Lasting Style

    Traditional style has stood the test of time for one simple reason - comfort. Elegant shapes, refined textiles, and a charmingly predictable sense of order make traditional style one that is always warm and welcoming. While decorating trends may change, traditional living rooms will always be in style.

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    Warm Colors in a Living Room

    One of the hallmarks of traditional style is symmetry. While rooms aren't always made up of perfect mirror images, they are usually very well-balanced, both in terms of furniture and architecture. Notice in this traditional living room by Cameron Mobley Interior Design that although the armchairs are completely different from one another, they consist of a similar visual weight, balancing each other out and maintaining the symmetry of the space.

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    Sophisticated Living Room

    Traditional design can be tricky because if you use the wrong finishes it can quickly look dated. The main finishes to avoid are polished brass (too 80's) and chrome (too contemporary).  Instead look for more muted metals that have a nice patina like the ones used in this traditional living room from Dayna Kaitlin Interiors. Think oil rubbed bronze and ever so slightly tarnished silver.

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    Blue and White Living Room

    If there's one thing you can count on in traditional rooms it's furniture with curved edges. While you may see a square or rectangular side or coffee table, the majority of pieces (particularly seating) will have soft edges and curved details. Whether it's the arms of a sofa or chair, a demi lune table, or a carved console, there's a softness to furniture that gives traditional rooms an aura of relaxation. In this room from Stratus Group, you can see it in the seating, the light fixtures and the clock.

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    Stone Fireplace in a Living Room

    A giant stone fireplace is the perfect starting point for a comfortable, traditionally decorated living room. Since traditional rooms rely on balance and symmetry, having such a distinct focal point to arrange furniture around is ideal. Designer Kim Regas used muted neutrals, soft textiles and inviting furniture to create a feeling of relaxed elegance.

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    Panelled Walls

    Nothing says traditional like a room with mahogany or cherry paneled walls. Different from the cheap veneer paneling popular in the 1970's, the solid wood, rich color and detailed millwork, like in this room from PFA Design Group, is a hallmark of the traditional style.

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    Yellow and Green Living Room

    One of the trademarks of traditional design is (what some people consider to be) fussy details. These details are represented in this room by Gray Walker Interiors by the ruffled decoration at the top of the window treatments and the fringe at the bottom of the armchairs. When used in moderation these types of embellishments add just the right amount of ornamentation. When it comes to traditional rooms a little fuss never hurt anyone!

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    Antique Living Room

    While some say that the majority of floral fabrics went out with the 80s, fans of this old-world style know that they'll always have a place in traditional rooms. When combined with other traditional items like Chinoiserie antiques and large-scale gilt mirrors, floral fabrics can truly shine, as evidenced in this classic living room by J. Stephens Interiors.

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    Exposed Beams in a Living Room

    While it's normal to see a fair bit of color in traditional living rooms, an all neutral space like this one is more than acceptable. And while a lot of frills and details are also often found in traditional rooms, they are not mandatory. This room, designed by Markalunas Architecture Group, is more demure than most traditional spaces, but still fits in thanks to the architecture, materials, and symmetrical furniture arrangements.

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    Light Blue Living Room

    Traditional style is often associated with grand spaces, but there's no reason why a smaller space can't be decorated in an elegant, traditional way. This room has very high ceilings but not a lot of floor space, so designer Amanda Carol substituted a coffee table for two stools, used large-scale art to balance out the window, and incorporated tall millwork over the mantel to draw the eye upwards. The result is a somewhat small space that appears much grander than it really is.

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    Classic Living Room With Modern Touches

    Just because a room is traditional it doesn't mean there isn't room for a great modern piece. This classic living room designed by Robinson Home is traditional in almost every way, but the lucite coffee table adds a modern uplift which pulls it into the present. 

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    Minimize Technology

    A common design dilemma in traditional rooms is how to incorporate modern technology like televisions. In this case, ​the TV was placed above the fireplace in order to create a column effect and streamline the focal point, thus minimizing the impact of the television. In traditional spaces the more you can hide technology the better.

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    Print Chairs in a Living Room

    In traditional living rooms, the pieces don't all need to match, but they should definitely relate to each other in terms of style, shape, and overall weight like they do in this room designed by McGrath II. While an offbeat piece can certainly be incorporated as a contrast or statement piece, don't stray too far from the traditional baseline. While it's fun to experiment, if you're into really unexpected combinations, this probably isn't the style for you.​

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    Blue and White Glamour in a Living Room

    Although you occasionally see delicate armchairs in traditional living rooms, the emphasis when it comes to seating is really on comfortable, sit-back-and-relax pieces. Traditional roll ​arm or William Birch sofas like the ones in this room from Villa Skovly are right at home, and more often than not they're loaded with throw pillows to up the comfort level.

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    Seafoam Green Living Room

    Color is not uncommon in traditional living rooms, but as a general rule the colors are somewhat muted and don't make a show of themselves, as demonstrated in this room by Walish & Stambaugh. This means no jewel tones, and certainly nothing overly bright or neon. Reds, blues, greens and yellows are right at home, as are every possible shade of white, taupe, beige and gray.

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    Bold Pattern in a Living Room

    While traditional rooms have a reputation for being calm and relaxing, they do like to have a little fun by way of patterns. Plaids, toiles, stripes, and florals are all perfectly at home - especially large-scale versions of these patterns, as featured in this room from So Cal Contractors. Geometrics and animal prints can also be incorporated, but use them sparingly as they can throw off the vibe and take the style in a different direction. 

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    High Ceiling Living Room

    Traditional rooms don't speak to any specific age group. A room like this one by Mosaic Architects could belong to a family or couple, young or old. There's a familiarity to it which is inherently comfortable, but it is definitely not old or dated. In fact, there's a freshness to this space thanks to the tightly upholstered furniture, iron lantern and architectural details which make it look very current.

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    New Traditional Living Room

    "New Traditional" is a style that has evolved out of classic traditional style rooms. Many of the rules still apply, but everything is just a little bit sleeker. Furniture is slightly more contemporary, window treatments are cleaner and free of pleats or frills, and fabrics are largely solid and neutral. For people who like the idea of traditional living rooms but want something a little more current, a new traditional room like this one designed by Highgate House is the way to go.

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    Built-In Bookcases

    Built-in bookcases are an ideal storage solution for traditional living rooms.  To make sure the look doesn't veer into contemporary territory, consider adding some decorative ​molding around the perimeter, picture lights at the top, and be sure to use traditional hardware on cabinet doors. A simple design like this one courtesy of Nastasi Vail Design is ideal.

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    Shades of Blue in the Living Room

    Traditional living room with statement light fixture

    Just because a room is traditional it doesn't mean it can't still have one or two modern pieces. A mid-century modern sputnik chandelier is the perfect addition to this traditional living room from VV Design. It creates contrast and adds an element of urban cool to this elegant space.

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    Dark and Dramatic Living Room

    Perhaps no style lends itself as well to drama as traditional style rooms. All it takes is a dark, rich wall color to enhance the inherent elegance and class. Toss a roaring fire in this room from Misiaszek Turpin Architects and you've got a recipe for a dramatically cozy space.

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    Dramatic Window Treatments

    To really bring home the traditional style, make sure to include dramatic floor-to-ceiling window treatments like the ones in this room decorated by Salvesen Graham. They can be pleated or not, have valances or not, and use tiebacks or not - but make sure they go all the way from the floor to the ceiling in order to get the full effect.

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    Refined Elegance

    There's no style that lends itself to elegance and sophistication better than the traditional style. Just take this room by Rinfret Interiors as an example. Balance and symmetry are subconsciously pleasing to the eye, and when combined with luxurious fabrics, refined colors, and delicate architectural detailing it creates an elegant style that will stand the test of time.