What is traditional style? If you love blue and white and vintage rugs and cloches and brass mirrors and down sofas then this is the post for you and your traditional style self.

Welcome to Style Week day 2

It’s kind of like fashion week for your home.

I wrote a book all about style and how to find it called The DIY Style Finder. We traveled all over the country photographing different houses with different styles—like this amazing outdoor space from my friend Yvonne. I thought it might be fun if we took a style a day and talked about it and how to create it and what you can buy to get it and how it looks in pictures.

Yesterday we talked about coastal style.

And today?

Today I’m talking about traditional style and how to get it and sharing tons of pictures that didn’t make the book (and a few that did).

What is traditional style?

I’ll give you a hint.

I’m a little bit of traditional wrapped up in a farmhouse blanket.

How about you?

I love traditional.


The best thing about this style? It’s classic. It’s timeless. It will stick around.

And still be here the next time bell bottoms come back in style.

Elements of traditional style

Sometimes when I say the words “traditional style” people think stuffy and boring and basic. They think they are over it. They think of their grandmother and her china bell collection.



This isn’t your grandmother’s traditional. This is a traditional that’s clean and classic and timeless and beautiful and thoughtful.

Here are a few of my favorite elements of traditional style:

  1. blue and white
  2. vintage china
  3. antiques
  4. brass
  5. vintage rugs in rich colors
  6. monogrammed slipcovers
  7. boxwood
  8. white ware
  9. over-sized platters
  10. tufted chairs

Traditional style is all about timeless style

(total aside: aren’t these pictures beautiful? These are some of the ones that we didn’t include in the book)

Traditional style is all about a tufted chair tucked into a corner filled with down pillows and reclaimed wood floors covered with vintage rugs and cups of hot tea in blue and white china and thoughtfulness and intentionality and sunlight dancing off the crystals on a chandelier across a one-of-a-kind antique table.

Traditional elements create a forever home.

Here are a few timeless elements you can introduce into your home to bring in a little traditional style:

  1. a grandfather clock
  2. a tufted chair
  3. down pillow inserts
  4. a vintage umbrella stand
  5. nailheads on furniture
  6. brass hardware
  7. over-sized urns filled with fresh flowers
  8. antiques
  9. pedestals
  10. aged mirrors

Traditional style is all about patina

If you take nothing else away from this intense discussion on traditional and all its style, remember this. Traditional style is all about patina. You know. The patina that comes with age. It has many different names.  Some people call it verdigris. Some people call it shimmer. Some people call it aging. Some people call it vintage.

I call it personality.

Here are a few ways you can introduce patina into your home:

  1. Add leather that has aged over time with cracks and subtle discolorations
  2. Let the natural wood shine through on your floors
  3. Add moodiness to a room with dark, rich colors
  4. Layer in well-loved antiques to your spaces
  5. Introduce aged copper and aged metal urns
  6. Let the original paint colors show through on painted furniture

Types of bedding that work well with traditional style

A traditional style bedroom is all about comfort. It’s all about layers and layers of texture and pattern and softness that help showcase the antiques in the room. You can change out the elements of traditional style bedding for the seasons, but a few constant pieces remain.

Here are a few ideas for traditional style bedding

  1. Down, down and more down
  2. Many antique beds are closer to the ground, so you want to make sure your mattress is thick enough to balance out the bed frame.
  3. Keep the main comforter or duvet cover neutral
  4. Add pattern with shams or a coverlet at the end of the bed
  5. Crisp white linen sheets work well
  6. Add monogrammed pillowcases
  7. Euro shams and inserts are a great way to add height to the bed

Add a traditional paint color

One of the easiest ways to add a little traditional to a space is with paint. You can transform a room in a weekend with a new coat of paint in a classic color. When choosing a traditional paint color for your space, think of classic neutrals and how they provide the perfect backdrop for a timeless space.

Here are some of my favorite traditional paint colors:

  1. SW Mindful Gray (the most perfect gray on the planet)
  2. SW Extra White (perfect for trim)
  3. SW Repose Gray (just a hint of khaki with the gray)
  4. SW Anonymous (a little more dramatic)
  5. SW Sandbar (the perfect khaki)
  6. SW Ivoire (the perfect light gold)

How to introduce traditional starting at the front door.

Traditional style starts at the front door. It’s all about creating a welcoming first impression with timeless style.

Here are a few ways to add a little traditional style to your front door.

  1. Add a little brass. You can add a kick plate or brass sign or brass numbers or brass hardware to the door. Here the brass pineapple welcome sign is the perfect accent to bring out the brilliance of the black color on the door.
  2. Add a monogrammed welcome mat. Yvonne has her welcome mat personalized with her home’s name. You can add a three-letter monogram or even a last name.
  3. Introduce patina at the doorstep with a pair of aged, chippy urns filled with fresh flowers.
  4. Place a wreath on the door to welcome guests. This beautiful grapevine wreath has a tiny nest tucked into it. You can also add boxwood wreaths or even a DIY magnolia wreath.

White dishes (and collections) are your friend

Nothing says classic and timeless than whiteware. White dishes are one of the easiest things to decorate with (and use) in your home. I’ve collected white dishes from yard sales all over the country and have an entire collection of white platters, milk glass and white pitchers.

Here are a few ideas for other collections for the traditional home:

  1. Collect clock faces or clock parts
  2. Collect vintage monogrammed linens
  3. Collect blue and white vases
  4. Collect framed needlepoint
  5. Collect vintage maps

Here are a few traditional style accessories to help you get the look

Click on the links to shop

If you are all about traditional I celebrate you and your wonderful style.

You are classic.

You are timeless.

You are all about celebrating family and setting the dining room table with your best china and flower arrangements that smell like the governor is about to stop by for pound cake and coffee.

I love your style.

Let’s be friends. 🙂

PS Be sure and check out the rest of the styles and how to get them in my new book, The DIY Style Finder.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Dee Turk Dee Turk

    What a wonderfully way of putting it so perfectly! the photos accompanying are just superb, and I think the shopping resources are a great asset. Everyone should read your book!

  2. Image for Jean from Georgia Jean from Georgia

    Just want to share that you have traditional down to the last detail. I enjoyed reading the lists describing traditional homes and I could have written that walking thru my home. It was fun to read.

  3. Image for Margaret Mills Margaret Mills

    Under the heading ADD A TRADITIONAL PAINT COLOR, the third sentence mentions coastal rather than traditional. I think that was just a snafu, and forgive me for noticing that, but I was a proofreader in another life and I can’t help myself! Love these lessons on style.

  4. Image for Sharon Smith Sharon Smith

    Oh, yes! I am traditional. I love the elegance of traditional and the warm welcoming feel. I love china, silver, copper, pewter....I just love a warm cozy home that says you are welcome.....come sit down and relax. Blues and whites are beautiful and this year by accident, I have some blush. Yes, I moved into my condo and the only color I really liked was in the living room. As I started living here, I realized that the blush was a mistake! The former owners painted over red and used only one coat and...ta da.....blush. I will take it for now. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and insight!

  5. Image for Billie Billie

    I am so glad you posted this today. My husband and I LOVE traditional style, and yet, often feel like we are judged as "outdated" or "out of style." We love a curated home full of items that have personal meaning to us, along side of a 15 year old worn leather sofa, two nail head arm chairs with rolled arms and rolled back, and lots of black and white.... Thank you! What a sweet reminder that what we love will never go out of style.

  6. Image for Deedra Deedra

    I just loved this post! And the book is awesome by the way. One of the reasons I love traditional style is that it embraces the old and the patinaed. (is that a word?) I love wood, whether it's on the floor or old, antique pieces. Just makes for warmth and coziness. Thanks for this reminder.

  7. Image for Regina Merrick Regina Merrick

    I loved taking the assessment and discovering that I am not only traditional, but transitional, as well! I emailed you a photo of the accessory that "nailed" the fact that I was a little bit of both! ;)

  8. Image for Rachelle Rachelle

    Love traditional style. Stonegables blog is one of the best examples of inspiring traditional decor - and, of course yours ;) Hugs, Rachelle

  9. Image for RW RW

    Karianne, can you touch more on the subject of mouldings and architectural details and even fixtures in this and the other styles? Not just the wooden floors and brass hardware. How would you describe other elements? Also, surely other color schemes than blue and white will fit traditional? I'm a bit surprised at that criteria, although I am the last person to know! Can you give me some ideas? Other monochromatic color schemes? I somehow think a scheme in grey's and whites and black and tans could fit traditional -- just one example. Are the neutrals the basis, not blue? (Although I do have the blue and for years and years, had trouble finding linens and such to go in my home, even fabrics, because blue wasn't in vogue. Somehow, that left me with the feeling that right now, with the market full of blues, I need to source everything I need before it goes out of style again! ) Thanks!

  10. Image for Tara @ Stilettos and Shiplap Tara @ Stilettos and Shiplap

    I'm in love with how simple you made what can often become a very over-complicated and "high-brow" topic. I am traditional all the way down to my bones and always have been. Love your ideas and pics in this post. Can't wait for the next style!

  11. Image for Celeste Celeste

    I am the person you described at the beginning. I've spent years not wanting to be boring Traditional. I wanted to be all about Farm House, really, really I did. But try as I might, I just couldn't make it work. It always felt off with the things I kept collecting. When I finally embraced the fact that I keep leaning Traditional (I still have to call it Updated Traditional just to make myself feel better about it), I finally began to see things coming together. Now my brass candlesticks and silk oriental wall hanging, and curio cabinet are things I can be proud of because...My name is Celeste and I AM TRADITIONAL!

  12. Image for Lynn W Lynn W

    Definitely traditional/eclectic for me!! Maybe a small dash of boho. 🥰. Love this series and all of the pics are beautiful!!!

  13. Image for Carolyn Brown Carolyn Brown

    I have always loved traditional since childhood, even though I didn't know it was called that. My parents had antiques in our house and I loved that look. My own home is updated traditional, with antiques included. I still use embroidered tablecloths in the dinning room. Just bought back a beautiful one from Rome. Everyone compliments my home as well put together and warm. Can't think of ever changing.

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