Traditional Living Room Style: Classic And Timeless Design

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The traditional living room style is a nod to the past with its classic and sophisticated design elements. It’s the perfect blend of timeless elegance with a comfortable familiar feel.

Balance and harmony are achieved with symmetrical furniture arrangements and traditional silhouettes.

When designing a traditional living room, every piece of furniture adds to the look of luxury and timeless appeal. They play an aesthetic and functional role, from plush seating to intricately carved wood accents.

Traditional spaces feature quality materials, rich woods, and novelty textiles for their ability to age with grace. This design style does not follow the trends which makes it classic and relevant throughout the years.

Key Takeaways

  • Traditional living rooms embrace a sophisticated and timeless design.
  • Furniture in these spaces combines aesthetic appeal with functional comfort.
  • Quality materials and classic accents are key characteristics.

READ MORE>>> Home Design Inspiration On Inspired Design Talk

traditional living room with beige sofa and blue velvet chairs

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Design Principles for Traditional Living Rooms

The traditional living room style evokes a sense of timeless elegance, warmth, and comfort. It tells the story of heritage and refinement, inviting you to linger and enjoy the space.

What is Traditional Living Room?

A traditional living room echoes back to classic decor and lasting style. It features furniture with a historical influence, often referencing European decor from the 18th and 19th centuries. Detailed woodwork, ornate fabrics, and rich textures are distinct elements in these spaces.

Traditional Living Room Key Characteristics

  • Sturdy furniture: Sofas, armchairs, and coffee tables are made from high-quality materials like wood, leather, and upholstery fabrics like velvet or linen.
  • Classic silhouettes: Wingback chairs, Chesterfield sofas, and roll-arm armchairs are all popular choices.
  • Symmetry and balance: Traditional living rooms often feature furniture arranged symmetrically, with a sofa centered on the fireplace and armchairs flanking it.
  • Proportions and scale: Furniture sizes and placements are thoughtfully considered to ensure everything fits gracefully within the space, avoiding overwhelm or imbalance.
  • Emphasis on details: From intricate carvings on furniture legs to ornate moldings on ceilings, traditional spaces revel in details that add depth and visual interest.
  • Neutral walls: Cream, beige, and gray are popular choices, as they provide a backdrop for the furniture and other décor to shine.
  • Rich accent colors: Traditional living rooms typically have pops of color, such as deep red, navy blue, or emerald green.
  • Fireplace: The fireplace is a central element in many traditional living rooms. It adds warmth, ambiance, and a focal point for the space.
  • Artwork: Traditional living rooms often feature artwork, such as paintings, prints, and mirrors.
  • Rugs: Area rugs can add color, pattern, and texture to a traditional living room.
  • Antiques and collectibles: Antiques and collectibles are often used to add a personal touch and sense of history.

Symmetry and Balance

Achieving symmetry and balance is fundamental in a traditional living room. Using furniture and decor to create a mirror image on either side of a central point conveys formality and poise.

Pairs of sofas, end tables, or lamps are often arranged to establish a visually grounded and inviting atmosphere.

traditional living room with green velvet sofa

Color Palette

Traditional color palettes often use earthy tones like beige, cream, and brown as a foundational base. Deeper hues like burgundy, navy, or forest green for added richness and interest.

Another popular color palette is neutrals with soft pastels for a more delicate touch. Pairing neutral walls with rich tones in furniture and textiles is a common practice, creating a backdrop that accentuates the room’s elegant features.

Traditional Living Room Color Schemes

  • Neutral Tones: Beige, cream, and off-white serve as foundational colors, providing a subtle backdrop for the room.
  • Earthy Shades: Browns and warm earth tones, such as tan and terracotta, contribute to a cozy and grounded feel.
  • Rich Jewel Tones: Deep hues like burgundy, navy, forest green, and deep gold can add a touch of opulence and richness.
  • Soft Pastels: Delicate pastel shades, like light blue, blush pink, or mint green, can be used to introduce a softer, more romantic element.
  • Muted Blues and Greens: Soft blues and sage greens can bring a calming influence to the space while maintaining a traditional aesthetic.
  • Touches of Red: Red, whether in the form of deep reds or muted cranberry, can add warmth and vibrancy to the color palette.

It’s important to balance these colors to create a cohesive and harmonious look. Consider using neutral tones as a base and incorporating richer and bolder colors as accents in furniture, textiles, and accessories.

Traditional Living Room Designs

Traditional design often involves the use of patterns that will enhance the classic and timeless feel. They can also be used as a jumping-off point to create the color palette for your design.

It’s super important to be intentional when choosing your traditional living room decor. If you order off the showroom floor it’ll feel just like… a showroom!

The goal with any space should be to curate your design from a variety of retailers. This will create a space that’s original and speaks to your unique design style.

Key Furniture Pieces in Traditional Living Rooms

In traditional living rooms, the key furniture pieces combine comfort with classic design elements. Each piece often features intricate details and quality materials that echo timeless aesthetics.

traditional curved sofa with wood bunching tables

Sofas and Seating

Traditional living rooms typically showcase sofas and seating that boast rich textiles and refined lines. Sofas often include rolled arms and may exhibit design details such as button tufting or nailhead trim.

Seating arrangements can also incorporate wingback chairs or Chippendale-style armchairs with ornate wood carvings, providing both visual impact and comfortable functionality.

Unlike transitional living rooms, which feature contemporary pieces this style will be entirely traditional furniture and decor.

Types of Traditional Living Room Furniture:


Chesterfield sofas with button tufting and rolled arms are iconic, while camelback sofas offer a more graceful silhouette.

Wingback chairs:

These cozy chairs provide enveloping comfort with their high backs and wings.

Accent chairs:

Armchairs in styles like slipper chairs, club chairs, or Queen Anne chairs add variety and visual interest.


A versatile piece for extra seating, footrests, or surfaces.

Coffee Tables and Side Tables

Wooden coffee tables and side tables are staples in a traditional living room, frequently crafted with cabriole legs or claw-and-ball feet. The tops may be adorned with carvings or inlays, contributing to the room’s elegant charm.

Traditional Table Ideas

These pieces not only serve a practical role but also help to anchor the seating arrangement within the space.

Accent Pieces and Antiques

traditional sofa with curio cabinet and iron base coffee table

Traditional living rooms often include various accent pieces and antiques that create harmony between the past and present. Curio cabinets, secretary desks, and grandfather clocks are popular choices that add a touch of history and sophistication.

These antiques are valuable for their visual appeal and the stories they tell which create character and depth. It’s important to note the antiques used are traditional not mid-century modern or retro in feel.

Material Selection for a Timeless Appeal

Natural materials are prominent in traditional living rooms. Designers commonly use wood, especially dark or warm-toned varieties like cherry or mahogany, for furniture and flooring. Fabrics like silk, velvet, and damask are popular for upholstery and curtains.

traditional style printed sofa
traditional ivory chaise sofa with throw

Upholstery Fabrics

In traditional living room designs, the upholstery fabrics often determine the comfort and sophistication of the space. Wool, leather, and cotton are common for their endurance and ease of maintenance.

Silk and velvet in accent pieces add a sense of luxury. Performance fabrics are popular in high-traffic areas or where you host and entertain.


  • Velvet
  • Linen
  • Chenille 
  • Leather
  • Silk Curtains
  • Damask Pillows
  • Throw Blankets
  • Wool
  • Cotton

Wood Types for Furniture

Furniture plays an important role in defining the modern traditional living room. Hardwoods like oak, mahogany, and cherry for furniture are chosen for their classic appeal. Their strength and rich, deep colors add warmth and a sense of grandeur.


  • Mahogany
  • Walnut
  • Cherry
  • Carved Details
  • Turned Legs
traditional couch with two leather accent chairs

Flooring Choices

Flooring is the foundation of any living room design. In traditional settings, hardwood floors stand the test of time with their elegance and ease of refinishing. Traditional spaces use natural stone or wool carpets for pattern and texture.


  • Oak
  • Mahogany
  • Cherry
  • Parquet
  • Herringbone Patterns
  • Stone Flooring: Marble, travertine, and slate

Decorative Elements and Accessories

Traditional living rooms feature a variety of decorative elements and accessories that add personality, texture, and visual interest. The mixing of patterns, fabrics, and colors as shown below is common.

traditional sectional sofa with pillows

Window Treatments

Traditional living rooms often feature window treatments that combine both functionality and elegance. Rich, heavy drapes can provide a luxurious feel, while sheers allow natural light to diffuse softly into the room. Patterns with a historical motif or florals add an extra touch of traditional style.

Traditional window treatments include:

  • Rich Heavy Drapes
  • Sheer Panels
  • Floral Patterns

Artwork and Wall Decor

Artwork adds personality and visual interest to the walls. In traditional living rooms, classic pieces include:

  • Landscapes
  • Portraits
  • Still Lifes
  • Framed Botanical Prints
  • Antique Maps
  • Vintage Finds

Mirrors over the fireplace mantelpiece, above a console table, or even leaning against a wall, mirrors reflect light and make the space feel larger. Choose ornate gilt-framed mirrors for a touch of grandeur or opt for simpler wood or metal frames for a more rustic look.

neutral traditional living room sofa with 2 accent chairs

Lighting Fixtures

Layered lighting is critical, and in traditional living rooms, fixtures such as chandeliers, table lamps, and sconces often have intricate details and finishes. A brass or crystal chandelier can act as a focal point, while lamps with silk shades or bases with classic silhouettes provide layers of ambient light.

A statement chandelier hanging over the center of the room adds instant elegance. For smaller spaces, pendant lights or sconces flanking the fireplace or artwork are great too. Go for the chandeliers with crystal accents or wrought iron frames for a traditional touch.

Lighting plays a crucial role in setting the mood and enhancing the atmosphere of warmth and elegance. Here are some key traditional lighting styles to consider:

Traditional Lighting Styles

  • Chandeliers: The quintessential symbol of grandeur, chandeliers add instant drama and sophistication.
  • Pendants: For smaller spaces or lower ceilings, consider pendant lights hung over key areas like the coffee tables with classic shades like bell-shaped or empire glass.
  • Table lamps: Place table lamps on end tables, sideboards, or consoles for soft, ambient lighting. Choose lamps with classic bases like porcelain or ceramic and lampshades in neutral tones like white or beige.
  • Sconces: Flanking fireplaces, mirrors, or artwork, sconces add a touch of symmetry and elegance. Choose sconces with scrolled arms or candle-style bulbs for a traditional feel.
  • Fireplace lighting: Accentuate your fireplace with recessed lights, sconces, or even a decorative lantern for a warm and inviting glow.
  • Dimmers: Install dimmers on your lights to easily adjust the mood and create different atmospheres throughout the day.
  • Candlelight: Don’t underestimate the power of candles! Use pillar candles on mantels, coffee tables, or sconces for a touch of romantic ambiance.


  • Consider the scale of your space: Choose chandeliers and pendants that are proportionate to the size of your room.
  • Think about color temperature: Opt for warm white bulbs (around 2700K) for a cozy and inviting feel.
  • Don’t be afraid to mix and match: Combining different lighting styles can add depth and interest to your space.
  • Focus on functionality: Ensure your lighting plan provides enough light for tasks like reading and working, while also creating a warm and inviting atmosphere.


A traditional living room should feel like a refuge from the outside world, a place to relax, entertain, and create lasting memories. It’s a space that speaks to heritage and refinement, yet feels warm and inviting.

Ultimately, your traditional living room will be a reflection of your own taste and personal style, infused with the timeless beauty of classic design principles. After all, a home is more than just walls and furniture; it’s a reflection of who you are, and the traditional living room offers the perfect stage for your story to unfold.

Happy Designing!

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Last Updated on January 22, 2024 by Nicole DelaCruz

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