17 Traditional-Style Living Rooms Featuring Essential Basics

living room

From century to century and from coast to coast, traditional living room decorating remains a perennial favorite of homeowners. Looking to cast your style toward a more traditional bent? Here are essential basics to include in any traditional living room decorating collection.

01 of 18

Color + Pattern

living room with green ceiling

This stunning dining space makes use of a variety of traditional style essentials: an organic print, bold hues, symmetrical light fixtures, metallic accents, and analogous colors. It's especially noteworthy for the almost hidden use of the blue wallpaper inside the bookcases; those feature a collection of rigorously edited Asian sculptures, too.

02 of 18

Furniture Details


Turned legs, carved arms, overstuffed cushions: All can be found in furniture that's critical to a traditional living room decorating style.

03 of 18

Statement Light Fixtures

blue dining room with cathedral ceiling

Whether they have intricately forged metal elements or a cascade of crystals, light fixtures can transform the decor of a living room into a traditionally styled space. Keep in mind the heritage influence in both shape and size, and use the colors to tie together other accents in the room, too.

04 of 18


living room

There's so much traditional beauty in this living room, it's hard to narrow down the most outstanding element. With the wainscoting, the corbels, the curved lines of the ornate wood hutch, and the overstuffed furniture, this room has virtually every element of a traditional living room. What it also has is a statement, swoonworthy wallpaper—in a nature print that's also very much a signature of traditional decor—which gives the room extra traditional heft.

05 of 18

How to Add Wallpaper

Bring your living room life with statement-making wallpaper. Watch and learn how to install wallpaper with this step-by-step tutorial.

06 of 18

Richly Stained Wood

living room

Deep, dark colors in the wood furniture—chests, side tables, buffets, and more—of traditional living room decor are completely in step with the overall style of such spaces. Gloss finish may also lend a welcome air of formality, as does restrained hardware.

07 of 18

Patterned Floors

living room

Much the way that symmetry is important to traditional living room decor, so is geometry, particularly in floors. Here, intersecting squares set at an angle provide a neutral contrast to the warm beige and cocoa hues in the fabrics.

08 of 18

Bold Nature Prints

living room with wooden ceiling

Traditional decor often draws much of its imagery from the natural world. Birds, plants, animals—all can make an appearance in fabrics, wallpaper, and accents. This room offers a good example of boldly embracing a multitude of representations. What ties the space together is the subtle variations in color—all green, in varying hues, with just a pop of analogous blue.

09 of 18


living room

Regularity creates order and a visual sense of purpose, which makes it a good tool to utilize in traditional living room decor. Here, that symmetry comes about through the placement of matching side chests and side chairs, as well as a proportional sofa, for a view that's sumptuous but restrained.

10 of 18

Conventional Art


Art that would have been at home centuries ago still works in traditional living room decorating schemes. Very often the frames are equally ornate, with rich finishes and carvings to set off portraits, nature scenes, and more.

11 of 18

Floor Coverings

family room

In many traditional rooms, hardwood floors are an indispensable piece—but so, too, are rugs. They help to soften underfoot surfaces as well as add pattern and tie together disparate hues. Here, the subdued geometric pattern reflects the neutral focus of the creams and grays in this bright space.

12 of 18

Architectural Elements

Hogan Residence

Much of what cements a living room as traditionally styled is its decorative features: molding, trim, woodwork. In this space, those elements bring solidity and elegance to the room, particularly the deep trim on the ceiling.

13 of 18

Aged Finishes

living room

No matter whether a structure is centuries or decades or even months old, a traditional feel to living room decor is easier to execute if the finishes give the appearance of age and solidity. That may come through a wash—here, the soft gray of the woodwork—or paint that appears just slightly distressed but still finished.

14 of 18

Rich, Bold Wall Colors

living room

Colors in traditional rooms tend to lean toward the basics: blues, reds, greens, yellows. Even still, they can appear in fearless ways, as in the purple-black hue of this traditional living room. The color here carries through on the built-in bookcases as well as the wood floor, mostly hidden beneath a room-brightening cream rug.

15 of 18

Sumptuous Window Dressings

geometric neutral living room

Multilayered shades and curtains—often with tiebacks, swags, or other extras—add more depth and visual texture to traditional living room decor. They're also a good way to include an accent-worthy color or pattern: Here, a gray-brown, floral-inspired print ties together cording on the side chairs as well as the sofa's hue.

16 of 18

Pattern Mix

traditional living room with bold red curtains

Many traditional living rooms, particularly those that draw their influence from more Old World-leaning spaces, feature a cascading collection of patterns that are loosely united by either a color or similar shape. Here, the dominant color scheme—an orange-leaning red and a light yellow—offers harmony to no less than five patterns.

17 of 18

Classic Materials

living room

Wood, brick, glass, stone: You're more likely to find this collection of components in any traditional living room decor than you are more unusual additions. Here, the pieces are assembled in rigorous patterns and finishes.

18 of 18


living room

With all its consistency, traditional living room decor still has room for variance in surfaces and finishes. Here, there's a washed, aged finish to the pair of symmetrical hutches, as well as the grain inherent to the coffee table. Fabrics also offer a nubby feel, with a pattern that's grounded in the traditional favorite: a flower/foliage motif.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles