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Tempering the Traditional: Make Your Home Modern With Traditional Elements

Traditional homes can be beautiful to look at and comfortable to live. However, not everyone wants to live in a home that’s very traditional, especially in this time when everything keeps getting more modern. You might not want your home to be completely traditional, but perhaps there are some elements you want to borrow from traditional interior design. You could make some of these elements more contemporary so that you can benefit from the traditional ideas but still ensure they fit into your home. If you love the look of some traditional things, but you’re more of a contemporary soul, here’s how you could make a few updates.


Wallpaper has been around for a long time as a way of decorating. It’s usually applied using a paste, which is put on the wall or on the paper before the paper is hung on the wall. It might seem simple, but hanging wallpaper requires careful planning to make sure it’s right. Just cutting and hanging your pieces of paper straight can be tricky, and that’s before you get to any awkward bits. You might think of wallpaper as being a little old-fashioned, but you can actually get some great contemporary options. Just take a look at what’s available, and you’ll find plenty of fun things, from metallic designs to animal patterns. Another excellent modern invention is temporary wallpaper, which you can easily peel off.

Image source at Max Pixel


Curtains too can come off as looking a little out of date. A pair of grand curtains can have a big impact, but they also run the risk of just looking a bit stuffy. But curtains are great to add to your home, partly because they look good but also because they’re excellent for helping to control light and heat. If you want a more modern take on curtains, you can find some fantastic patterns and materials, as well as different types of curtains that are hung differently. You can also go a little more high-tech and install curtains that you can control remotely. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you could always choose a fabric you love and make your own curtains.


Fireplaces have been a great way to heat your home for a long time. They’re efficient and they can be cost-effective if you do it right. If you already have a fireplace in your home, you might want to update it with a contemporary mantel. If you’re thinking of installing one, a wood heater or bioethanol fireplace is an excellent option. You can see for more on what design choices would be available for you. They can provide you with a traditional way to heat your home but still look modern enough that you don’t feel like a huge element of your home looks out of place.

Image source at Pixabay

Chandeliers and Lighting Fixtures

A chandelier is an extravagant feature to have in your home, which many people might think is a bit gaudy and flashy. They can also look very traditional, which might not suit your home. However, if you’re looking for a stand-out lighting fixture that attracts attention, a modern chandelier might be a good choice. You can get some stunning contemporary designs that aren’t as out-there as their more traditional counterparts. If you want something that doesn’t show off as much, a modern chandelier can be a bit more understated.


Molding includes any decorative, raised elements on walls and ceilings, such as crown molding where walls meet the ceiling or baseboards where the wall meets the floor. These are pretty traditional ways of adding details to a room, but they can look great in a modern home too. Some of the shapes used can often look pretty traditional, for example, but you can also choose more contemporary profiles. Another way to make molding more modern is to consider the colors you use. Molding is often left white or cream, but it can look great when jazzed up with a brighter color.

Image source at Pixabay

Wood Floors

Wooden floors have forever been a presence in homes. In fact, many people would much rather have wooden floors than carpeting or any other option. However, they can look a little out of date. One of the biggest reasons they might not look up to scratch is that they’re a little old and tired. If you already have wooden floors, you might consider refinishing them to perk them up a bit. Another way to make your floors look a bit more modern is to consider what’s on them. A few contemporary rugs can do a lot for them.


Everyone should have art on their walls, but there’s no need to have traditional paintings if that’s not your sort of thing. There are so many ways to get some more contemporary art onto your walls or even make some traditional art look more modern by framing it in the right way. You don’t necessarily have to go for some super contemporary artwork if you don’t want to. An impressionist print could look modern on your wall, even if it’s from the 19th century. The difference between an intricate, gold frame and a brightly-colored one with clean lines should be pretty noticeable. Think how you can use art elsewhere too, not just on your walls.

Image source at Wikimedia

Bay Windows

Bay windows are always a popular home feature. They lend an air of the traditional to a home, but the ability to sit by the window and enjoy the space never goes out of date. Some people might think they’re a bit outdated but you there are plenty of contemporary ideas you can try if you want to if you want to make sure you have a more modern space. It’s easy to make seating as modern as you want, so you can install a contemporary bench seat. You can use the space under your seating for storage too, which is a great way to expand the space you have available. Of course, the window itself can have a modern look too, perhaps keeping it fairly plain, with clean lines and large panes.

Choose Traditional Shapes But Contemporary Colors
Do you love the look of some more traditional furniture? Maybe you can’t resist the pull of a Chesterfield sofa, but you’re a bit disappointed in a lot of the color choices you come across. Dark red leather or gray velvet might look sumptuous, but it’s not necessarily the best choice for a modern home. If you want to combine the traditional and the contemporary, you can choose classic furniture styles but look for modern colors and patterns. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, there’s always the option of reupholstering soft furnishings or getting a new cover, or you can paint some items too.

A staircase isn’t so much a traditional element of a home so much as a necessary one. It’s pretty hard to get from one floor to another without one unless you have an elevator installed. But staircases can often look pretty traditional, and some people might struggle to modernize them. If you don’t want to make any major changes to a staircase, like altering its shape, you could change the look of the railing and banister to give it a more modern look. You can also pay attention to how you style the wall along the staircase and perhaps any lighting you use too.


A library is more of an entire room than a single element of a home, but it’s still a traditional thing that you can bring up to date. If you love to read and want somewhere you can go just to enjoy your books, a library is the perfect solution. But you might want to avoid making it look like something from a Regency-era novel. If you want a more modern library, think about both how to display your books and your choice of furniture. If you want some traditional elements like wingback chairs, maybe pick some bright colors. Use open bookshelves perhaps floating shelves and some cool, contemporary bookends.

Use Modern Accessories to Take the Edge Off

You might have some traditional elements in your home that you love and don’t want to remove. They could still make you feel that your home is too traditional, though. If you want to try and update everything, you can leave your traditional elements in place. Make everything more contemporary by adding modern accessories that complement the traditional parts of your home. This might not be as easy as it sounds, as mixing old and new can sometimes be a bit tricky. You’ll need to think carefully about which styles will go well with what you’ve already got. Adding in some different colors or choosing a design style that might mesh well with your existing interiors can help you get started.

You don’t have to choose between modern and traditional. If you like some traditional home features, you can make them more contemporary.