The Luxurist

A compendium for luxury living


Interior Design Styles: Traditional Interiors

Return to the roots of heritage British furniture design in the most sophisticated way

Jade Bloomfield By Jade BloomfieldEditor

Traditional interior design is heavily rooted in British interior and furniture design of the 19th and 20th centuries. Renowned for its fine furniture industry, Britain led the way with the designs of the “big three” – Thomas Chippendale, Thomas Sheraton and George Hepplewhite. Traditional furniture design is rich, handsome and formal.

Casegoods furniture is freestanding, generous in size and dimensions and crafted of warm woods such as mahogany, rosewood and oak. Highboys, breakfronts and display cabinets would be regular features in traditional interiors. Architectural features are important in both their original purpose and as the inspiration for furniture design. Dentil or cornice moulding elements, broken pediments or columns were often incorporated into the designs of large-scale casegoods furniture, giving them an imposing appearance. Occasional furniture of this style includes nests of tables, drum tables and entryway tables. Tripod or pedestal bases and bracket, pad or claw and ball feet are familiar design choices.

Traditional Interiors – Traditional Living Room – MPD London Interiors – Read more in the LuxDeco Style Guide

Image Credit: Maurizio Pellizzoni

For upholstery, button-tufting and upholstered show wood designs are the quintessential linchpins of a traditional interior. A dark brown leather Chesterfield was the most popular sofa choice however, these days, traditionalists might upholster this in a more modern fabric or, equally, team traditional casegoods with a contemporary sofa silhouette. The wingback chair is also an enduring classic of traditional style.

Contemporary versions of this style will often offset the style’s rich palette and materials with lighter, plain walls and updated fabrics. Grand chandeliers, oriental rugs and antique ornaments are the original decor of choice for traditional spaces; nowadays these are carefully modernised or curated for a fresher take. A marble, stone or wooden fireplace is still a key feature in traditional style interiors, providing a natural and grand focal point.