Decorating your living room in a traditional style creates an elegant and timeless look. From furniture to accent pieces, traditional accessories infuse comfort and refinement into the living space. With careful selection of key decor elements, you can achieve a sophisticated ambiance perfect for relaxing and entertaining.


Traditional rugs act as an anchoring foundation in a living room. Look for designs and materials like:

  • Oriental rugs with intricate patterns and vibrant colors
  • Distressed or antique Persian rugs
  • Floral motifs like chintz, damask, or toile
  • Classically-inspired motifs like acanthus leaves, urns, trellises
  • Luxurious wool or silk fibers
  • Elegant neutrals like navy, tan, cream, or beige
  • Scrolls, medallions, flowers, vines in the patterns

Rugs should be large enough to define a seating area. Place furniture legs atop the rug rather than floating at the edges. The softness and visual interest of a quality rug establishes traditional coziness.


Sofas and Chairs

Upholstered living room seating should feature timeless silhouettes like:

  • Roll arms, camel backs, wings, cabriole legs
  • Tight backs rather than loose cushions
  • Skirts for a tailored finish
  • Tufting, nailhead trim, piping for detail

Fabrics like damask, tapestry, brocade or velvet in subdued colors lend elegance. Leather is another traditional yet luxurious choice. Carved wood frames nod to historical style.


Accent tables provide surfaces for lamps, books, and refreshments while punctuating the furnishings. Seek options like:

  • Round side tables with cabriole legs
  • Rectangular cocktail tables with x-shaped stretcher bases
  • Ornately carved small chests or cabinets
  • Nesting tables for flexible placement
  • Distressed wood finishes, marble tops, gilt metal bases


Bookcases, cabinets, and shelving complete the traditional living room. Look for:

  • crown molding, pediments, detailed columns
  • glass-front cabinet doors and display shelving
  • traditionally styled hardware like brass pulls and knobs
  • built-in cabinetry surrounding a fireplace


Layer in decor accessories for visual interest and style:


  • Crystal chandeliers or sconces for glamorous accent lighting
  • Table lamps with pleated lampshades on side tables
  • Candlesticks, candelabras, and lanterns for warm ambient lighting


  • Oil paintings in ornate gilded frames
  • Botanical prints, flower still lifes, traditional landscapes
  • Tapestries, portraits add old-world flair


  • Porcelain vases, china, busts for refined elegance
  • Silver bowls or trays add metallic shine
  • Books in leather bindings, stacked horizontally when not in use
  • Fresh floral arrangements in a porcelain vase


  • Throw pillows with trims, tassels, embroidery
  • Cashmere or wool throw blankets add luxury
  • Lace sheers, velvet drapes frame windows

The right accessories make a space feel curated, thoughtful, and personal. Seek out specialty antique stores for one-of-a-kind finds. The blend of time-honored patterns, textures, colors and materials creates an inviting and refined traditional living room.

Traditional Color Palette

A neutral color palette establishes an elegant and soothing backdrop. Accent with punches of color and pattern for visual dynamism. Consider these tried-and-true options:


  • Beige, stone, tan, cream
  • Taupe, khaki, warm grays
  • Ivory, champagne
  • Navy and cobalt blue


  • Red, burgundy, emerald green
  • Gold, mustard yellow, coral pink
  • Chintz and damask prints
  • Rich brocades, velvets, tapestries

Avoid stark whites or very cool grays to keep the ambiance warm and welcoming. Natural textural linens and woolens balance the formality.

Lighting a Traditional Living Room

Proper lighting sets the mood and showcases your sophisticated decor. Include a mix of light sources for a well-lit space:

  • Overhead chandelier provides general ambient lighting
  • Table and floor lamps direct light to specific seating areas
  • Sconces, wall lights illuminate artwork and architectural details
  • Natural light through windows brightens the entire room
  • Candles, lanterns create dreamy, intimate mood lighting

Use dimmers to control brightness as needed. Position lamps to avoid glare and shadows. Illuminate walkways and entrances to enhance safety and visibility. The right lighting transforms a traditional living room from simply well-decorated to truly inviting.

Traditional-Style Window Treatments

Dressing the windows is a final step in refining a room. Consider:

  • Embroidered drapes in heavy fabrics like velvet or brocade
  • Textured sheer under-panels filter light elegantly
  • Ornate metal rods mounted high near the crown molding
  • Pleated shades are softer than blinds
  • Curtain tiebacks keep the view unobstructed

Choose colors that complement your furnishings. Layer sheers behind drapes to filter sunlight while maintaining privacy. Take care to properly measure each window when selecting window treatments. You may opt for contemporary cordless shades on lesser-seen windows. Proper window treatments pull the look together.

Incorporating Old and New

Breathing new life into treasured antiques and updating traditional motifs in a fresh way helps strike the right refined-yet-relevant balance in a living room.

  • Modern takes on classic furniture silhouettes in updated colors and fabrics
  • Vintage rugs, lighting or accessories mixed with new pieces
  • Classic architectural moulding details and millwork
  • Heirloom furniture passed down, reupholstered or refinished
  • Paintings, photographs, family collections on display
  • Fresh flowers, books, objects that reflect your personality

The blend of old and new, modern and inherited, impart comfortable warmth. By honoring traditions of the past through your design choices and infusing your own taste, memories, and collections, you personalize the space and make it feel like home.

Traditional Living Room Layout Ideas

A thoughtfully planned layout allows a living room to function as elegantly as it appears. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Centre the seating area atop a rug to define the space
  • Allow ample walkways through doorways and passages
  • Place entrances, windows, focal points on different walls to encourage flow
  • Position seating to facilitate conversation
  • Use furniture placement to divide an open concept room from dining areas
  • Float furniture away from walls for easier circulation
  • Angle seating toward the fireplace, television, or focal accent

Incorporating intentional groupings and logical spacing makes a living room as practical as it is pretty. The result is a refined yet comfortable space for relaxing and entertaining.

Traditional Style living rooms FAQs

What are some key elements of traditional style?

Some hallmarks of traditional style include dark woods like mahogany, tailored fabrics like damask and brocade, Persian rugs, tufted leather armchairs, gilded accents, artwork in ornate frames, and carved wood furnishings for an elegant and timeless look.

How do I choose an accent color palette?

Look to the tones in patterned rugs or artwork as a starting point. Then layer in punches of accent colors like emerald, ruby, mustard or coral through throw pillows, objets d’art, or fresh floral arrangements. Neutrals like cream and tan keep the look cohesive.

What flooring works best?

Plush wool carpeting, classic hardwoods like oak, or wood-look porcelain tiles establish traditional warmth underfoot. Add patterned area rugs for texture and color.

What if my furniture is more modern?

Incorporate traditional accents through lighting fixtures, window treatments, cabinetry details, artwork in ornate frames, and accessories. Upholstered modern seating can feature classic fabrics like damask or velvet.

How do I make a small space feel cozier?

In a small space, limit furnishings to key traditional silhouettes: an ornate rug, sofa or chairs with turned legs and skirts, a few accent tables, maybe a fireplace. Curate a few meaningful traditional accessories vs. overfilling the room.


A thoughtfully decorated traditional living room makes a graceful statement. Timeless rugs, furnishings, lighting and accessories project refined style. Neutrals and accents in the classic color palette promote sophisticated harmony in the space. Finishing touches like sumptuous window treatments, books, fresh florals and objets d’art infuse personality. The ambiance is elegant yet comfortable – perfect for gathering with family or impressing guests. With these tips and ideas, you can craft a living room that honors tradition while reflecting your own taste.