Classics with a Modern Touch

July 1, 2019

One of our stylists had an interesting conversation with a client last week who shared with us that her perception was our furnishings were on the modern side of home decor.  And since her taste veered more to the traditional, she wasn't sure that we could serve her needs.

Yes, it's true that we often help clients with contemporary homes move away from its reputation of being cold and sterile.  But perhaps more often, we work with clients who live in traditional homes that want to move away from a heavy and dark look to a more updated version of what they love.  

But perception is reality, right?   Which is why I would love to make a case for why we might be just what the doctor ordered for those of you with traditional homes wanting and needing to do something different.  

So let's talk traditional.  

Decor described as traditional dates as far back as the 1500s.   And it too has changed dramatically over time to include lots and lots of updates and variations.  


Traditional spaces of the late 1900s relied heavily on dark woods and rich tones - red, brown, green, and warm jewel tones.   Florals, paisleys, stripes, and plaids became standard decor patterns for walls, upholstery, and drapes.   (All of which I had at one time!)

Many of us live in and prefer the architectural detail of a traditional home design.   Details like crown molding, columns, wood paneling, and coffered ceilings!  So much character.   


So where are we at with traditional decor in the year 2020?   History demonstrates that traditional decor can be quite beautiful.   But it also shows us that when this style is overdone, it can feel heavy, dark, and dated.  

The same holds true for an overdone modern style.  While it can have a clean and exciting vibe, it can also be stark, unwelcoming, and uncomfortable if done in the extreme.  

Luckily, all styles can strike a happy medium.   Today, I want to talk about what some might consider the look of old school traditional versus an updated traditional look which in my book means classics with a modern touch


Updated Tradition = Classics with a Modern Touch


Old School Traditional: Ornate rugs that feature fine details such as medallions, flower and vine motifs bordered in rich jewel tones like crimson, gold, and navy.


Classics with a Modern Touch: You can easily update your traditional decor by using geometric, animal, or subtly patterned rugs made from beautiful materials that look and feel luxurious.  


As you know, rugs are a great way to add color, texture, and pattern to your home.  The ornate rugs that have dominated traditional decor in the past are perhaps what is expected or what you have had for many, many years.  Your home will absolutely feel more current if you replace them with a more contemporary option.   It will be fresh, unexpected and give your traditional space a new life.   

Old school traditional: dark, ornate, and heavy furniture.


Classics with a Modern Touch: Use traditional lines and inspiration, but with less heaviness, fussy details and old school finishes.

One way to maintain the elegant style of traditional décor while adding modern flair is to choose furniture that retains some traditional details.


So instead of a heavy dark sideboard, consider a classically inspired piece that complements but doesn't necessarily match your dining table or other finishes in your home.   Metal finishes work beautifully with all wood species - light or dark. 

Old school traditional: a complete set of matching furniture (especially in the bedroom.)


 When a bedroom (or any room) is decorated with a matching set of all the same series or style, it can looks dated. (I had to take the can out because there are just no way to soften the blow)  And if this happens to be you, it might be time to think about changing things up a bit to create an updated traditional look.

Classics with a Modern Touch:  Use furniture that complements, but does not match.

Shake things up in your home (in your bedroom and everywhere else) a bit by adding a few pieces of transitional décor to the mix. 



For example, the beautiful tufted upholstered bed with classic nailheads paired with a traditional bedside table but combined with an unexpected bench, abstract artwork, and simple bedding creates a delightfully updated, welcoming and more relaxed vibe.   Nice, right? 

Another example...


This home is clearly a historic beauty, but it has been classically updated by adding furnishings that are a bit more transitional to give it an updated and welcoming feeling.   Can I just say that I love older homes?!

Old school traditional:  Artwork that you believe fits your decor style  (but you may not really love anymore.)

Traditional artwork tends to lean toward realism (places, objects, animals, and people.)  And just because you prefer this decor style, it doesn't necessarily mean that you need to stick to this genre of art. 



I am pretty sure I had this very print at one time a while ago. I don't know that I even loved it when I got it.   Lesson learned.

Classics with a Modern Touch: Whatever style of art that strikes your fancy and enhances the look of your home. 

Artwork that is a bit more modern is a surefire way to bring any home out of the past and into the present.  I fell in love with a more contemporary piece of artwork for my traditional home while at a furniture market a few years back.   It was a perfect replacement for some of my unloved oldies (but not goodies.) 



The mood of it resonated with me six years ago and still, I enjoy looking up at it each and every day.  

Today's traditional is stylish, fresh and bold but decidedly classic.    So when you think about K. Renee style, I hope instead of thinking about a particular genre you ultimately think of a lifestyle - one that is inspiring, inviting, comfortable and matter what your preferred style may be!

On another side note, I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to read this blog every week.    It always means so much when I hear from you individually about something that resonates.    I want this investment of your time to be as much of a benefit to you as it is to me.  

One of the benefits that I always try to sneak into the blog is the first to know what's happening at K. Renee.     So that being the case…


You are first to know that our clothing summer sale begins this Friday, July 5th.   And between you and I,  we will be getting ready for the sale this Tuesday and Wednesday (before the holiday.)    And if you just happen to drop by on those days, you may purchase anything that we've already pulled for our 50% off sale.  

How is that for being first to know?

Hope to see you on Tuesday or Wednesday, but if not, have a fantastic 4th of July weekend!   There is really no place like home.