New traditional design is catching on with new generations at a quick rate which, as a fan of the style, I am thrilled to see. It has me thinking, “Why now?” In times of uncertainty, change and stress, we find ourselves coping in many ways.
One way is through nostalgia. We long for simpler times and the rose-colored glasses with which we view the past. Our brains make connections to places, things and scents that comfort us and make us feel at peace. We are in the midst of a historic (and historically uncomfortable) event, and that has many of us dreaming of days long gone and searching for comfort and tradition in our everyday lives. Not only that, but now with all this time at home, many of us are looking for house projects to keep our hands and minds busy.
New traditional style now has many names, from grandmillenial to modern vintage to neo-traditional, but it all comes down to mixing the old with the new (and possibly throwing in something blue). A few simple changes can take a traditional heirloom piece and make it “new.” A vintage daybed can become an updated showstopper with the change of a cushion. A hand-me-down cabinet can be made fresh with a geometric ginger jar arrangement, and the old high-back sofa you thought you wanted to sell can be given new life with a simple reupholster.
Traditional pieces have distinct visual markers that bring back warm fuzzy feelings. For example, large wood pieces like secretary desks have gone in and out of style more times that one can count, but I have always love them. Is there anything more magical than an antique writing desk (even if that’s where you park your laptop)? My appreciation for beautiful and dramatic pieces comes from seeing them so often growing up. While the new incarnation of these pieces allow small changes to keep them feeling updated, the overall impact stays the same and brings that same magic to today’s spaces.
Another reason we are seeing a resurgence of new traditional decor right now is the intriguing and fun way the style uses color, pattern, and texture. Color and pattern lift the spirits and stimulate creativity, something we have desperately needed this year.
As homeowners redo their spaces during the pandemic, we are seeing that instead of stripping walls of the ’70s floral wallpaper, people are finding a new batik or shibori prints to replace it. Decorators, designers and home design enthusiasts have been realizing they want to feel the warmth and safety that color and textiles bring to a room, not the cold starkness of modern decor. Patterned window treatments, furniture skirts, throw pillows and art add an incredible amount of comfort to a home. Spending so much time in our dwellings has gotten everyone to notice that maximalism, when done tastefully, can bring maximum comfort.
While we are all trying to adjust to our new normal, I am excited to see the love for new traditional decor is ever-growing. I’m overjoyed to be welcoming newcomers into the wonderful world of decor and to see what new spins they have in store for us in the New Traditional world of interiors. Until next time — happy decorating!
Adapted from nellhills.com. Katie Laughridge is the owner of Kansas City interior design destination Nell Hill’s. For more information, contact Katie at [email protected]