Traditional Style: Comfort With a Hint of Chic

Go for classic design elements when staging a traditional home, but don’t overdo it and make the property look dated.
various lamps

© and Getty Images

Classical and comfortable are signatures of the traditional look. Interiors tend to have a sense of familiarity and consistency, with classic furniture and pieces that match. The placement of furnishings and accessories also tends to be symmetrical. Traditional doesn’t have to be boring, however, and there’s room to add in some modern twists without veering too far off course.

room staged in traditional style

© Audra Slinkey, Home Staging Resource

Common features: The traditional style usually consists of rich wood tones such as walnut, cherry, and mahogany. Darker woods tend to be popular. The use of patterns such as floral, paisley, or chinoiserie prints is common in furnishings, pillows, and beddings. Earthy, mid-tones are the most common colors. There’s usually a mix of wood furniture with straight and curvy lines. Window coverings tend to be classic, and draperies or valances are commonly used.

What to watch out for: Don’t let the home appear too dated. “When the architecture of the home is traditional, it’s always a good idea to stage it ‘transitionally’ so that it will appeal to a much broader audience but still work with the integrity of the home,” says Audra Slinkey, president of the Home Staging Resource, a national training and certification company. Strive for a contemporary blend of traditional and modern styles.

room staged in traditional style

Holly Foti, Redesigns by Holly

Professional staging tip: To enhance the space, I used matching collections of classic literature hardcover books for a sophisticated touch. I also used white accessories and greenery to brighten up the space. The velvet pillows are the same shade of green as the beautiful stained glass windows. This helps draw the buyer’s attention to the amazing condition of the original stained glass windows, which is a significant selling feature in these bungalow homes. Buyers of this type of home are drawn to the original character but also are often millennials who appreciate an updated style. To this end, I kept the wall and furniture colors neutral but used an updated sectional style and a playful zebra rug to help the space feel young and updated without fighting with the 1920’s charm of the home. —Holly Foti, Redesigns by Holly, Milwaukee, Wis.

traditional style decorative items - see product descriptions at left

© Photos Courtesy of: (top to bottom) Houzz, Kirklands, Walmart, Houzz, GDF Studio, Anthropologie

Accessories to Consider

Antique books: Harkening back to a bygone era—the way this set of wood leather books does—is a classic element of traditional style. Use them sparingly, either to fill bookshelves or lay on a nightstand. $29.99

Wall sconces: A lavish way to decorate the walls, this set includes two sconces made of a bronze finish metal and featuring crackled glass hurricanes that can fit a pillar or sphere candle. $29.99

Candelabra showpiece: Enhance a dining room tabletop with a five-arm candelabra. It comes in polished silver and features curvy details and base. $32.67

Glass bowl: Display it upright or fill it with fresh fruit or glass orbs to use as a centerpiece. The circular pattern on this decorative plate can help enhance a tabletop or display nook. $36.99

Pretty patterns: Choose patterns with a sense of symmetry; florals are on trend. This wingback traditional recliner can be a strong accent in a room. It includes a studded border on the sides and comes in a white and blue floral option or solid wheat color. $227.99

Ornate mirror: Go with a circular mirror for a more updated twist on the gilded accessories often used in traditional design. This mirror features intricate brass floral molding to brighten a foyer, bedroom, or living room. Starting at $398




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