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Styling Tips and a Video...

Find Your Style: Traditional

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day and welcome to another ‘Find Your Style’, where we take your results to our less-than-perfect quiz and help you figure out what being your style really means (if you haven’t, take that quiz!).  Like I have said before, it isn’t perfect but it can help, and it’s fun. Then you can hop on over to the other styles we have covered so far: Scandinavian, Luxe and Glam, Global, and Mid-Century Modern. This time we are talking to you ‘Traditional’ folks which I am channeling more and more with my new house, so let’s get into it. Some of you think I’ve gone way too traditional, but I know that traditional is in my bones….my very traditional bones. Here’s my pitch:

If you appreciate classic design motifs and want a home that feels pulled together, decorated, and totally cohesive – then consider ‘traditional’ style all yours. In the past traditional has sometimes been thought of as stuffy, or too formal but that is not the case at all. Traditional does not mean boring or uptight by any means and you can have a lot of fun mixing and matching pieces into the traditional style to find a fit that feels unique and fitting for you.

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When it comes to traditional there are a few tips to get you started:

1. Look for furniture with feminine curves and decorative detailing, tufting, piping or carved woods. These carved chairs and the decorative side table definitely evoke a traditional vibe and the symmetrical arrangement also instantly makes the entire vignette lean more traditional. While adding the small modern figure and a few accessories help to keep it personal and feel unique and collected.

2. Mix textures like linens, cottons, velvets and silks. This chesterfield couch has a combination of silks, velvets and nubby cotton pillows which all help make the setup traditional yet cozy while the addition of the modern silver metallic pillow again modernizes it a bit and keeps it from feeling too uptight or pulled together. If you want a more old world traditional vibe then you can always add in classic patterns like stripes, florals and damask. Just keep the patterns tonal or to a few colors so that things don’t start getting too busy and loud for the eye which would go against the traditional rules of traditional style. See what I did there?

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3. Large scale curvy lamps: Go big with these guys, like you see in the picture above. It is all about making a statement with your lighting in traditional. Big boxy shades or large tapered shades also help to bring traditional elements into the room. Symmetry in your lighting will also instantly give your room a traditional vibe. Flanking your sofa with matching tables and lamps is a quick and easy way to keep things traditional, just be sure to accessorize the tables differently so that you still keep it feeling unique.

4. Silver or Gold accents: Just because it is traditional doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t have a little bling. Bring in gold and silver in a side table, on a lamp, in the textiles (like you see above and below) or through a few accessories peppered around the room.

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5. Woods or ceramics in classic shapes and with some extra detailing: Large urns with classic motif’s, wood turned legs, or decorative wood detailing or scrollwork is always a yes when it comes to traditional design.

While all of the above photos are full of vintage, one of a kind traditional pieces, our friends at Target sponsored this ‘Find Your Style’ series and we wanted to use some of our favorite traditional inspired pieces from their collection to showcase how to pull together a traditional vignette. We created this video, which takes you through it all step by step by yours truly. So head on over and watch it if you are ready to get your traditional on, and if you are into the look it is all linked up below. Happy Friday Folks –  the weather is finally warming up here so we plan to spend lots of time outside enjoying the sunshine and our backyard.

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1. Pleated Blue Pillow | 2. Yellow Woven Geo Pillow | 3. Chunky Knit Pillow | 4. Embroidered Lumbar Pillow | 5. Artemis Bow Mirror | 6. Navy Throw | 7. Curtains | 8. Floor Lamp | 9. Ottoman | 10. Chair | 11. Woven Basket | 12. “Mountain Pastures” Art Print | 13. “Snowscape 1” Art Print | 14. Vintage Painted Lady Form | 15. Brass Pig Box | 16.“Figs” Wall Art | 17. Wooden Frame | 18. Side Table | 19. Sofa | 20. Rug | 21. Coffee Table | 22. Silver Vase | 23. Globe | 24. Rope Sphere | 25. Plate Set | 26. Flatware | 27. Book Set | 28. Typewriter | 29. Lamp Shade | 30. Lamp Base | 31. Wood Bowl | 32. White Pitcher | 33. Wood Tray | 34. Drinking Glass | 35. Mug | 36. White Bookshelf

***Vignette Photos by Tessa Neustadt, other photos by Zeke Ruelas, David Tsay, and Bethany Nauert.

P.S. Those Target shots were styled as vignettes and if you were to have windows that big you would want more curtains to cover them properly.  I want to make sure that you know that in a well styled home the curtains would be higher and fuller, but for this video content we cheated it a bit for budget reasons 🙂  This was all before we renovated 7 months ago as you can tell with the brown painted beams – crazy, right?

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  1. I love the “Find Your Style” series!

    Can’t wait for Rustic and Industrial!

  2. Em, you and your team are the best. This is my very favorite blog and with having a toddler and another due in a few weeks that’s saying a lot as I spend much of my relaxing time hanging out here reading your funny inspiring posts. I even adore the fellow commenters – you’ve created a unique welcoming relaxed and fun virtual living room!
    Just want to say thanks. Happy Friday!

  3. Nice. I think this is more my style (or one of my styles), no matter what the quiz said! I really like that yellow pillow — but alas, not available for shipping and not at a store within 100 miles of me. Too bad! (I’m in Boston, so there are plenty of Targets within 100 miles of here.)

  4. Traditional is my FAVORITE and I’m so happy you’re embracing it! I love to see how you make traditional style look current and cozy… definitely not stuffy or uptight 🙂 Love this post!!

  5. LOVE the wallpaper in that dining room, and the white chairs with the brown table.

  6. This style series has helped me understand my preferences and made my loyalty to your blog make sense. Before I “met” you I thought of my style as Vintage Modern. I loved old girly things plus MCM. And then I saw your show and started reading your blog. I loved your CA mid century style bec it appealed to my MCM sensibilities. But I have a strong traditional side and so does my home. Now that I’m seeing your new house and your style blend with traditional, I seriously feel you are now just totally speaking my language. As if I could love your blog more!!

  7. Love this post and the tips! When I took the quiz, I got 80’s but this one is definitely my style! 🙂

  8. Great series! I love Rustic style, hope that comes soon 🙂 This piece also has a really good summary of all the styles and what they entail to help find your style: https://mykukun.com/decorating-style-the-ultimate-guide/ thought it was very helpful!

  9. Emily, I have taken the quiz twice now (once long enough ago that I didn’t remember the questions or my answers) and I’ve gotten 80s style both times, when I’m certain I should be this- traditional. 80s-blech! This time I even tried to think what the “traditional” answer would be and I can’t even imagine how my answers equated to 80s. I’m perplexed. No offense meant. You’re a blast to read. My favorite blog by far. As wordy and detailed as I am- I love it!

    1. The quizz isn’t accurate for me either, but I have a blast each time I take it, which I think is the point. I got “zen-minimalist” five times in a row, but I’m more of a traditionalist. I figured that since I love antiques, but also love when they are displayed in a very modern way, and only very few pieces, the test gets that part (the minimalism) but can’t understand that I have very few beautiful antiques.

      Anyway, love the traditional style. There’s only one thing missing from the recap: quality. It’s not because it’s old-world, nor because it’s curvy or ornate, but also because it is built to last by qualified artisans. That’s what I love about it anyway.

      1. Amalecyte, I am the exact same. I am a minamalist that loves vintage items and it keeps putting me in the “zen minimalist” box which could not be further from my style. I would say I am more traditional and maybe a little bit industrial. Oh well!

        1. That inspires me, Amalecyte and Marie. I’m really starting to find myself appreciating the “well-made” items, as well. Emily has inspired me to do so. But your comments have inspired me to not love them because of the curves or ornate-ness, but purely for their quality – and to use them sparsely, as desired, to achieve the right look. I don’t have to go heavy on “ornate” in a room.

          Anyway, it was enlightening to me!

          1. There are more and more people appreciating good quality antiques, both for their constructions and for their designs. On the one hand, I’m so happy that good pieces don’t get as many paint jobs as they used to get, and are appreciated for the timeless pieces that they are. On the other hand, antiques used to be cheap here in France (like, cheapest that Ikea): that’s changing rapidly !

            I live in a small-ish rowhouse with my family, and the place doesn’t have many walls where I can put huge pieces of antique furnitures. I refuse to put pieces solely for their quality or for their design. It requires a bit more research, but I did find both. There are ugly antiques (in my eyes) just like there are ugly modern pieces. I also own a 19th Century buffet that is clearly made by some ancestor from Ikea.. my God that thing isn’t well made… but it’s an heirloom I love dearly so I cherish it. Age isn’t a sign of quality, nor of design. That’s for you to find !

            Anyway, just to say that in my experience, you shouldn’t compromise between quality and design, but have both ! With antiques and vintage, that can be priced reasonably. Or you can come and sit with me while I wait for my budget to grow so I can afford the perfect piece (bench’s warm !).

            Also, while I’m on my soap box: thank you Emily for posting photos of your former guest bedroom !! There was a huge wooden armoire there, and I loved how it was displayed in a very airy and modern way. Because I loved it so much, I decided to bring home a huge wooden armoire that used to belong to my grand-parents, and change the paint in my room to Farrow and Ball Blackened White to get a very light, cold background instead of the rich chocolate I had (don’t have enough light to get a pure white, so I followed another one of your advices and got an off-white). This is going to be fabulous and all the family members who discarded the armoire because it was woody and bulky and old-fashioned are going to be wowed !!

            Thank you for making my house more beautiful. I’m happy at home !

  10. Pretty! Love the soft and cozy take on traditional.

  11. Saw you on Instastories and I think vanity #2 is too small. Water everywhere. Find or make a larger version because the wood with marble is GORGEOUS! Use that particular piece somewhere else.

  12. I’m so glad you included the explanation about the curtains, because as is they really catch the eye in a “what’s up with this weird jumble and white rod?” kind of way.

  13. Those curtains in the vingettes you styled look like a hot mess–couldn’t you be bothered to straighten them out? Also, there’s a whole lot of MCM in here for a post on traditional style.

    1. I took the curtains as purposeful (kind of a “bunched” look) and mood-evoking.

      Just my take!

    2. I also thought that curtain looked homeless. If my window looked like that, I’d rather go with no curtain at all,

  14. Is the white nightstand with the square ring pulls available anywhere or is it vintage? Love!! And I love your videos for Target! Great job!

  15. Where are the chairs and table from in the second picture? I love them!

  16. I love atmosphere where designed and place in the image 6…. awesome place when you have coffee or tea in morning ….. thanks for sharing this article with us

  17. I finally took this famed, flawed style quiz and got “bohemian,” which is partly true. I am bohemian mentally, but I like my decor VERY eclectic. I like it all. Does anyone know what all the possible style outcomes are for the quiz? Just curious what all potential results are…

  18. Well my land that quiz is out there. I think it made me sad that my life reflected absolutely zero of the choices. Ha. Hilariously it pegged ma as the polar opposite of my actual style. You are right though, it was fun and lighthearted. My style used to be traditional and has morphed into a more transitional style with a pinch of eclectic. That said, I love many different styles. Wish I could afford to have multiple homes to decorate if various styles. Love your blog and your personality. 🙂

  19. I consider my style Bohemian+Zen, but I definitely value high-quality items and am all about symmetry. Maybe, like me, you grew up in a traditional house that was heavy on 1970’s Americana–lamps shaped like bald eagles, calico wallpaper, decoupaged milk can in the corner…rocking chairs.

    I had one thing and yearned for another: deep down I still like traditional, but I also like the exotic and glamorous aspects of Bohemian style because that ISN’T what we had as kids. I had a four poster bed and a braided rug, but the cool kids had beanbags, wicker, and fake fur (lol).

  20. this wallpaper is so chic and classy! loved this post x

  21. Love the lamp in the first dining room photo that is on the credenza. Silver with dome shade. Is there a source for it? I notice the metal on the chandelier is brass/gold. Is there a way to mix metals properly? Thanks!

  22. Emily can you please tell us who the vendor is of the brass candle chandelier is in the top picture? ❤

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  24. Em, you and your team are the best. This is my very favorite blog and with having a toddler and another due in a few weeks that’s saying a lot as I spend

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  25. What a gorgeous home! Love the traditional style and looking at transforming my apartment with the help of Furnishr. They can manage the whole design and furniture delivery process for me, plus they set up everything just in one day!

  26. I got the ‘zen’ style and have been waiting for this post to come out. Please tell me that you will post it eventually. I can’t wait! 🙂

  27. Amalecyte, I am the exact same. I am a minamalist that loves vintage items and it keeps putting me in the “zen minimalist” box which could not be further from my style. I would say I am more traditional and maybe a little bit industrial. Oh well!

  28. Traditional does not mean boring or uptight by any means and you can have a lot of fun mixing and matching pieces into the traditional style to find a fit that feels unique and fitting for you

  29. I’m sure you have many beautiful style to choice the best