When it comes to choosing a design theme for your home, there’s no end of options to choose between. There’s Scandinavian, Japanese, art deco, transitional, minimalist, contemporary… the list goes on. But what if you want something a little more classic? What if the 21st century look leaves you cold? Is there a style for you? Indeed, there is. Better yet, it’s a style that’s rapidly coming back into vogue. The ‘traditional’ look is all about creating a classical style that hints at nostalgia but doesn’t drown you in it. Some people have a rustic take on the theme; others prefer a more formal interpretation. But regardless of just how much formality you pump into it, the overall result is the same: classical, elegant, and timeless. And where better to introduce all three of those things than in the dining room? More than any other room in the house, the dining room can take as much classicism, timelessness, and elegance as you can throw at it. But where do you start? If you want our advice, the best place would be with these ten essentials for the perfect traditional dining room.
1. A potted plant (or three)
As the huffpost.com rightly comments, if there’s one thing every dining room needs, whether it be mid-century modern, Japanese, or contemporary, it’s plants – a fact that holds as true for the traditional dining room as it does any other kind. As well as adding a nice little pop of color and texture, plants can inject some much-needed life into a room, turning what could otherwise be a boring space into an interesting one. How you introduce them is up to you. If you want to create a feature, a tall, statuesque floor plant can look stunning. If you prefer a more low-key approach, a few branches of freesia on an overflow table will do just nicely.
2. A splash of color
As classiccasualhome.com notes, done the wrong way, traditional dining rooms can go from fabulous to boring faster than you can count to three. So, how do you stop your room from descending into Yawnsville territory? Simple – add a splash of color. A jolt of something vibrant will inject a breath of fresh air into the room, keeping things youthful and lively rather than stuffy and staid.
3. An oversized mirror
Never underestimate the value of a good mirror. As well as giving you something to preen in front of, a well-placed mirror can instantly transform even the smallest and dingiest of rooms into something altogether lighter, brighter, and more spacious. When it comes to the kind of mirror best suited to the traditional dining room, bhg.com (https://www.bhg.com/rooms/dining-room/themes/traditional-dining-rooms/) recommends you plump for something oversized – as well as being cheaper than a collection of smaller sized pieces, one large, statement mirror can create enough visual interest to negate the need for any other wall art, making it a great choice for people working on a strict budget.
4. Dark wood furniture
As blog.modsy.com writes, the traditional style is rooted in a certain style of foundational furniture. To put it simply, your furniture needs to be old (antique if possible – you might be surprised at how many great finds you can source at second-hand markets and thrift stores), ornate (some interior design styles reject embellishment; the traditional style positively embraces it), and wherever possible, dark (and we really do mean dark – the closer you can get to a black wood tone, the better). Think spindles, fluted bases, carved handles, and most of all, think dark.
5. A statement chandelier
Suffice to say, the traditional dining room is no place for strip lighting or lava lamps. Whether you go for a rustic traditional style or a more formal arrangement, nothing says traditional (or at least, says it with quite so much flair) as a statement chandelier. Before you make your purchase, consider the size and height of the room, along with the overall vibe you’re going for. In case the room is on the smaller side or you’re aiming for a more casual look, keep to a low-key feature that’s proportionate to the room space. Larger rooms can take a chandelier that’s just as big and old-school as you care to go.
6. An oriental rug
Sheepskin rugs or rugs with abstract graphics have their place, but wherever that place is, it’s not the traditional dining room. An oriental rug, on the other hand, will create a striking focal point while keeping bang on theme. It can also be a great way of introducing a lovely pop of color into the room.
7. An overflow table
Why stick to one table when you can have two? Even if your dining room table is plenty sufficient for your needs, it never hurts to have a backup… even if that backup is dedicated more to plants, candles, and dirty coffee mugs than it is to plates of food. When it comes to the style of the table, use the same principles as you would elsewhere- dark, ornate, and with plenty of detail.
8. Mismatched dining chairs
Rooms created in the traditional style have a terrible habit of veering into the formal – great if that’s the look you’re aiming for, not so much if you want to keep things a little less stuffy and a little more user-friendly. How do you avoid the slippery slope into formality? For a start, you could try investing in some mismatched chairs. As well as introducing a nice little touch of eclecticism, they’ll also give you a far better chance of showing off your own tastes and interior design talents than a set of matching chairs ever could.
9. Ceramic dishes
No matter how traditional the room, there’s always space for some decorations. But what kind of accessories chime best with the traditional look? Ceramic ones. Ceramic dishes aren’t just practical (we’re assuming that dining table is there for a reason), they can also be beautiful. Look for ones in eye-catching designs and colors, then create your own work of art by using them as a wall display.
10. Layers of linen
Whether you’ve opted for rustic traditional or formal traditional, there are certain things you really can’t do without – layers of linen being one of them. Not only does linen look beautiful in its own right, it can also cover up a multitude of sins. Table not up to scratch but can’t afford a new one? Simply cover it with a linen tablecloth. Dining room chairs looking a bit down on their luck? Pop a couple of folded damask clothes across their back. Mix and match the materials as much as you like, and don’t hesitate to look for ones in bright colors – traditional doesn’t have to mean staid greys and boring sages all the time.