When you hear the word traditional, it’s possible your mind jumps to other thrilling adjectives such as average, modest, maybe even boring. However, “traditional” in interior decorating is in the same category as “contemporary” and “modern”, in that it has a meaning beyond its common use. It stands for a specific set of design trends and styles. In this instance, it refers to styles taking their elements from pre-twentieth century movements, focusing on elegance, symmetry, and comfort. Baroque, Victorian, and various classical styles can all fall into this category.
So why would you be interested in a style that your grandma might have decorated her bathroom with? There’s a reason why these styles have persisted throughout the centuries–they’re classics. They are generally softer and homier than their hipper contemporary cousins. A great choice for a master bathroom, since with the greater square footage, you can embrace traditional style’s sense of symmetry and repeating motif. The traditional style is generally more focused on comfort than other, more modern styles.
Here are just a couple of tips for getting the traditional look.
Balancing Color and Texture
With so many different eras and elements to choose from, it’s easy to pick the ones that best suit your particular aesthetic. That said, the traditional style can be a tricky one to implement in a bathroom, for a very simple reason–lighter colors are typically associated with more contemporary styles, and bathrooms are, in general, pretty light. White or off-white. As usual, it is the attention to the details that make a difference, and a great detail to focus on is the choice of countertop and wall tiles. Take the picture above–the marble-topped vanity and brick patterned backsplash keep the space feeling rustic and old-fashioned, even if everything is in white and grey.
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Another classic touch in the traditional style is light fixtures. Soft, diffused light is best for a bathroom–seeing as you don’t want to be washed out or turned into a zombie when you happen to catch a glance of yourself in the mirror–but track lighting and under-lit fixtures tend to have a more modern feel to them. Chandeliers are often a popular addition to traditional-style living rooms and bedrooms, and that is definitely an option here. If you have a lot of space or a high ceiling a chandelier would be a creative addition. But if that’s a little too rich for your blood, sconces or wall-mounted lights are also a good choice. In the above photo the delicate little shades give the impression of a table lamp or lantern.
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The above photo’s designer has gone with a slightly more historical feel, using a number of key elements to bring together the aesthetic. Wood, especially unfinished or carved wood, is a common material in traditional-style design. The vessel sink and vintage faucet, the carved mirror, and bronze accents all give this bathroom a simple yet inspired beauty. Textures, embroidery, and ornamentation in general tend to evoke a more traditional vibe.
Like all forms of interior decorating (or any creative pursuit at all), getting a certain ‘look’ isn’t an exact science. With the right balance, multiple elements can be drawn together to form your style. Adapt some basic guidelines, but don’t let them limit your creativity. In the end, traditional decor is all about creating a warm, homey space you can feel comfortable in.
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