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Traditional interiors have a comfortable elegance that pays homage to the classic and gracious furnishings of 18th Century England, French Country, Mediterranean, 19th Century neo-classic and revival styles. It remains an extremely popular style, because it is easily adapted to a variety of lifestyles. Essentially, traditional rooms have a calm and casual order because their elements are predictable and non-jarring.
Whilst colour and pattern may under-score other decorating styles as their primary focus, finely crafted furniture is the foundation for building a successful traditional decor. Whether original or reproduction, French or English in style, furniture exhibits classic lines and unfussy detailing. Upholstered pieces look restful and casual, with soft curved edges and often feature exposed carved wood trim and legs. Wood furniture ranges from the more casual, sturdy and time-worn look of French Country, constructed from elm, walnut, oak and pine (either stained or lightly distressed) to the more traditional and detailed polished Mahogany English Queen Anne and Chippendale styles. Overall, pieces exhibit a mix of vertical, horizontal and curved lines. The freedom of traditional decorating allows us to start with an anchoring style or two of furniture items, and then complement the setting with other pieces that please the eye and "fit". What this style does preclude however is the inclusion of modern, eclectic pieces that jar the eye. As a general rule, in traditional decorating, furniture and accessories work better in pairs, because they provide balance and symmetry, and therefore a sense of calm. Upholstery fabrics include lighter textured linens, chintz, damask, silk, velvet, florals, plain, understated checks, stripes, geometric and smaller patterns, as well as weathered leathers with stud trim.
Accessorizing a traditional scheme will depend to a degree on the bent of your furniture selection. To be successful however, it is vital that you do not over-clutter your interior. Incorporate pieces that conjure up images of adventure, exotic places and the artistry of foreign cultures, such as Egyptian artifacts, Oriental screens, African animal skins, old book collections and trunks. Traditional art, silver candelabra, pairs of urns and jardinieres, and elegant mirrors will all accentuate the style and create personal warmth.
Lighting exhibits classic styling with simple ivory and parchment shades atop decorative antique bronze, iron or brass table lamps, whilst wall sconces, candlelamps, and lanterns create low and soft light sources.
Colour in a traditional scheme employs mid-tones, such as peach, forest green, camel and aubergine mixed with leathery browns, bronze, cream and deep red. Avoid light and garnish colours, so that the interior maintains an understated and restful ambiance.