Applied Design: How to Identify Traditional Furniture

Just a quick little post today…our electricity went out yesterday afternoon so I had less time to put one together.  To finish out our week talking about a more traditional style Room of the Week, I put together a simple how-to that explains a few common characteristics of traditional-style furniture, though of course there are exceptions.

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  1. Pleasing proportions – Traditional-style furniture isn’t big, boxy, lounge-y, fluffy, overstuffed, etc.  It is always proportionately pleasing to the eye, and is neither too big nor too small….but just perfectly in-between.
  2. Attention to details – This style of furniture always pays attention to the smallest of details.  There is always piping trim on the cushions, proper pleats, nail heads to define the shapes, etc.
  3. Tailored upholstery – Traditional style furniture always seems a little more formal and refined to me, most likely because the upholstery is much more tailored and taut.  The backs of the sofa aren’t covered in down-filled cushions, but are tightly upholstered.  And, the cushions aren’t plump, but still comfortable.
  4. Rich, dark wood tones – When I think of traditional furniture I definitely always picture darker wood tones, just like the wood on the furniture in the Room of the Week.
  5. Curvy lines – Modern furniture is made up of a lot of straight lines.  But, traditional furniture can be very curvy.  In the Room of the Week both the backs and arms of the furniture are very curvy.
  6. Shows a little leg – You can see the slender legs on all the furniture in this room.  Showing these slender legs definitely adds a delicate, formal feeling to the furniture and the room.

Do you own any traditional-style furniture?  I love the graceful lines and feminine proportions.  I passed up the most gorgeous traditional sofa in a stunning navy blue velvet at an estate sale a few weeks ago, and I’ve been kicking myself every since.

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