Home Improvement

How to Make Your Traditional Home More Contemporary  

 Traditional homes have stayed stunning and ageless over the centuries for a reason. But with the way of the world, old European homes aren’t the most convenient, especially with technology constantly evolving and adapting. Now you need to modernise your home, making it more contemporary, but that doesn’t necessarily mean erasing all traces of tradition. 

Defining Traditional and Contemporary 

In keeping with its name, traditional is a design of the past that’s still relevant to this day thanks to the classic and timeless appeal. Traditional interior design is styled after the aesthetics of the 18th and 19th century European homes. Taking inspiration from Georgian and Victorian interiors, it creates a space that evokes elegance. 

Contemporary interiors, on the other hand, is difficult to pinpoint. To start with, contemporary and modern interiors are not the same, which is a common misunderstanding. Contemporary refers to the present-day style, meaning it’s constantly changing and evolving. It cannot be defined by a specific era like modern design, which covers the late 1800s to the 1950s. Roughly, contemporary covers styles from the 1970s to today.  

Elements of Traditional Design 

Symmetry is a key feature in traditional design as it creates a sense of harmony. This symmetry can come in the form of paired furniture and accessories like two table lamps or two armchairs, forming a focal point within your room as well as visual order. 

The colour palette is typically subtle and repetitive with a neutral background. Colours are used sparingly like rich jewel tones such as red and green. 

Naturally, the furniture in traditional design is rooted in 18th and 19th century European design. They can be a mix of textures, colours and patterns as long as they aren’t overwhelming and are balanced. Usually sharing a feature such as similar finishes to create some consistency. There’s also a lot of wood used and the furniture is typically heavy.  

Solid wood flooring is known for its longevity (as long as it’s cared for properly, it can last for centuries), which is why it’s commonly found in traditional homes. Plus, it was popular during these eras, remaining a loved floor until the mid-20th century. 

Accessories usually include tablecloths, fine china sets, antique silver, heirlooms, vintage paintings and more. Placed carefully to ensure it doesn’t look cluttered, avoiding overwhelming the space. 

Elements of Contemporary Design  

Simplicity is often a standing point with contemporary interiors. Without intricate details, its clean lines and smooth surfaces keep the space simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s boring or cold. This also helps with the constant change in trends as you can easily incorporate other popular features into your home if you so desire.  

Like traditional design, contemporary favours a neutral colour palette such as greys and whites. It then incorporates pops of colour to create a sense of life; these can include striking blues or bright yellows. Inviting a sense of balance and boldness. 

Sleek and functional furniture are a staple point of contemporary design. They often feature straight lines, solid hues and natural materials. Simple and practical with a purpose beyond aesthetics.  

Wood flooring is also relevant to the contemporary interior design. It’s a classic that never goes out of style and you can have planks with subtle graining that doesn’t distract from the simplistic aesthetic. Other materials include laminate flooring and luxury vinyl tiles, which can mimic natural materials too.  

Seen as contemporary design takes on a more minimalistic approach, accessories are often kept to a minimum. They’re often smaller but add enough depth and interest to your room. Avoiding clutter and creating a sense of space. 

Incorporating Contemporary into Your Home 

When it comes to merging these two interior designs, you need to strike the right balance. You don’t want to take away from your traditional interior, but you want to make sure the contemporary fits in seamlessly and harmoniously. It also depends on how much you want to change your space. For instance, you could replace your flooring with luxury vinyl tiles, which are budget-friendly and replicate natural materials, or open the space up by removing non-structural walls.  

Perhaps the easiest way to go about this transformation is through decluttering your accessories. Contemporary has a hold on minimalism and its philosophy of ‘less is more’. You should remove excess items, keeping just what you love and need.  

Another idea would be to incorporate modern-day pieces of furniture or art into your interior. Creating a contrast with your traditional pieces. Artwork offers you the chance to use the two distinctive styles that still complements each other through a common feature such as their shades of colour. This can help keep things feeling fresh throughout your home.  

Whilst you likely have a neutral backdrop in your traditional interior, resonating with contemporary design too, consider spreading bold colours throughout. You can do this through accent pieces like cushions, artwork, etc. It’s important not to overwhelm your space with these pieces though as it could detract from the minimalism of contemporary. 


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