An antique console is paired with more modern piecesfor a blend of old and new.

An antique console is paired with more modern pieces for a blend of old and new. (Handout/TNS)

Modern, sleek decor isn’t for everyone. For many, a touch of formality or other traditional elements is the ultimate in luxury. Creating a traditional feel doesn’t have to overwhelm a space or feel outdated. Touches of tradition can be elegant and elevate a space to feel timeless rather than trendy.

Where do you start? And where do you save vs. splurge? Here are some top tips.


  1. Do blend old with new. Try pairing antiques with more modern elements.
  2. Do source locally. Your local antique shop, flea market or estate sale can be a wonderful source for traditional furniture and other decor.
  3. Do incorporate heirloom pieces or others that have personal or sentimental meaning.
  4. Do consider adding one-of-a-kind elements such as original murals or artwork.
  5. Do use furniture elements with traditional details such as nailheads and tufted upholstery.


  1. Don’t cover up or conceal original detail. Highlight historical details such as original wood.
  2. Don’t ignore traditional finishes such as marble and granite if looking for finishes that will feel timeless.
  3. Don’t use elements that are considered dated or old-fashioned.
  4. Don’t oversaturate a room with too much color. Muted, understated tones often feel more traditional and elegant.
  5. Don’t ignore the power of mirrors. Large mirrors can not only help to make a room feel large and airy but also can be used as a focal point and key design element.

By Cathy Hobbs,
Tribune News Service (TNS). Cathy Hobbs is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design home staging expert and short-term rental/vacation home designer. Contact her at [email protected] or visit her website at