red furniture in a living room

What is traditional furniture?

When purchasing a home or planning to decorate any type of space, a significant decision must be made regarding what style and type of furniture to invest in. This decision involves not only setting a budget and determining an aesthetic goal, but also involves what type of furniture you wish to purchase. When making this decision it is important to understand your long term goal. Ask yourself questions such as how long do I plan to keep this furniture? Do I plan to replace this within the next few years or do I want to keep this long term? If you plan on keeping your furniture for many years to come, possibly even leaving it to future heirs, then your safest bet is to invest in traditional furniture. Traditional furniture tends to be heavier, more durable, richer and more elegant in style. It is the type of furniture that you purchase and keep knowing that it will maintain its style and elegance for many years to come. For this very reason it is deemed to be “heirloom furniture” or the type of furniture that you will be able to pass down to future generations or heirs due to its durability and elegance. Once the decision has been made to purchase traditional furniture, you must then look to see what kind you like best. 

What are traditional furniture styles? 

As stated, traditional furniture tends to be heavier, and richer in color. It was originally created to meet the needs of the wealthier classes and therefore tends to be ornate, detailed, and monumental. Traditional furniture styles can be found for every type of space you can imagine; bedroom, kitchen, nursery, library, office, and more. This styling of furniture is modeled after several different eras/styles such as Queen Anne, Chippendale, Louis XVI, and more. Despite the variations, most traditional furniture shares several attributes regardless of what type of furniture it is or how it is being used. 

Some attributes of traditional furniture include rich wood tones, architectural designs, ornate or detailed woodwork, luxurious fabrics, golden accents, warm colors, heavy duty materials, sturdy construction, and at times bold patterns. All of these characteristics make these items easy to work into a variety of spaces and aesthetic styles. 

Traditional Living Room Furniture

red furniture in a living room

One significant area that can easily be furnished with traditional furniture is in the living room. The variations are endless, but certain key characteristics must be found in order for the living area to be considered traditional. One attribute found in a traditionally styled living room is symmetry. This style can be achieved by having a couch, two chairs which are similar if not identical to each other, two end tables, and a centered coffee table. This clean look of symmetry lends to the traditional style. 

Another attribute found in a traditionally styled living room is with the use of warm colors. Furniture tends to be made out of warm woods and the upholstery and fabric is created with ornate details and fine embellishments such as ruffles and fringe along the curtains, chairs, or couch. Though many fabrics are created with solid, warm colors, some traditional furniture does incorporate patterns as well. Many times the patterns are more muted and less bold. However, the opposite can be said when it is being used in a small or insignificant piece such as with pillows. 

Darker lit living room

Traditionally furnished living rooms tend to display lounge furniture as well. Traditional lounge furniture is made with the same durability and functionality in mind as other traditional furniture; however, it is geared towards comfort as well as design. These pieces of furniture often exhibit high-quality materials and polished design elements. Materials range depending on the item; however, for couches you will typically find a high-quality leather or a luxurious fabric such as brocade or velvet. 

Traditional Bedroom Furniture

Similar to the living room, traditional bedroom furniture seeks to find symmetry and balance within the room. Oftentimes it will include a full matching bedroom set. The bed will usually contain a headboard made out of a rich wood or an upholstered headboard. Amish handcrafted beds are one example of traditional, wood beds that contain intricate details and ornate design such as spindles, fluted corner posts, or crown molding.

Likewise, the room will have two matching nightstands with lamps and a chest of drawers or dressers. Space dependent, the room will also include an upholstered chair with an ottoman which will be designed for beauty, and comfort. The wall will likely be adorned with a simplistic, but elegant framed picture that depicts a landscape. Finally, the room will likely have a set of very fine curtains and pillows to embellish the bed. The overall goal is to create a calming environment that is inviting, comfortable, yet elegant and rich in design elements. 

Traditional Kitchen Furniture 

Within a traditionally furnished kitchen you will often find furniture that is wood based and richly colored. Many traditional kitchens or dining rooms have a table and chairs as well as a buffet or china cabinet. These items are usually made out of wood, but can also be created using other materials such as wrought iron. They tend to be grandiose and intricate in design. The overall goal in a traditional kitchen is to create a sense of comfort and warmth making it an inviting environment which can most easily be created with the use of familiar, traditional kitchen or dining room furniture. 

Traditional Nursery Furniture

Traditional nursery furniture may be the “sweetest” of all. It is created with a slightly different style in mind. In lieu of the bolder patterns and items, this furniture is created to be equally durable and long-lasting, but instead to display a softer, gentler design style. The furniture is made to be comfortable and functional, yet elegant and classic creating an environment that is inviting to both baby and parents. 

The most obvious centerpiece of a nursery is the crib. Many times a traditional nursery will have a crib made of solid wood with a variation of design possibilities. The crib may contain molding or spindles, and are usually decorative and ornate. Going along with the longevity theme that is attached to traditional furniture, these cribs tend to be convertible items which can later be made into a toddler bed and eventually into a full sized bed. This allows the parent or consumer to make a purchase knowing that the item will be used for many years to come making them a wise investment. 

In addition to the crib, traditional nursery furniture will contain a dresser, changing table, bassinet, and rocking chair among other items. Each of these are usually made from wood and are created with durability in mind. They each display ornate details and are decorative yet sensible in use. These items are made to last long term and can be considered “heirloom furniture” allowing them to be passed down for future use. 

Traditional Library Furniture

Traditional library furniture is quite intuitive and will create an environment that is comfortable and functional for reading. A traditionally furnished library will likely contain sturdy, wooden bookshelves that are both functional and elegant. Along with the bookshelves, the library will likely have traditionally styled chairs and a reading table. The reading chairs will typically be upholstered and created with both style and comfort in mind. A classic example of a traditional reading chair would be a club or wingback chair. In addition to the chairs, you will likely find a large reading table that can accommodate one or more individuals at a time. The table is likely made out of wood and is quite sturdy. Along with the chair and table, a library with traditional furniture will also contain a reading lamp and potentially a couch. A traditional couch will allow the room to be inviting and comfortable while still maintaining the scholarly environment desired. 

Traditional Patio Furniture 

Traditional patio furniture, similar to other spaces, features classic design elements that are suited for the outdoors. In keeping with the reputation of traditional furniture, the patio furniture is likewise made to be durable and with longevity in mind. The materials tend to be heavy duty and weather-resistant. Commonly used materials include wrought iron, wood such as teak or cedar, and aluminum. Notably the wrought iron is not only sturdy and durable, but it allows you to have a more ornate and decorative design to your furniture. The upholstered elements such as cushions and pillows usually display patterns and are made to withstand extended exposure to outdoor elements. 

Traditional patio furniture usually offers a variety of seating options ranging from chairs to benches to lounges and often are created for both style and comfort. Along with the seating areas, you will typically find some variation of a table such as a side table or dining table. The tables are also made with superior materials such as wrought iron or wood and have finishing that is specifically used to increase durability and outdoor functionality. 

Considering the extreme “wear and tear” that outdoor furniture will endure, it is best to choose an option that will have durability and longevity. This can best be found in the purchase of traditional patio furniture; notably traditional amish outdoor furniture. 

Polyarmor swing in yard

Traditional Office Furniture

Traditional office furniture typically creates an environment that displays timeless designs. The furniture tends to be heavy, durable, elegant, and sophisticated. Many times the furniture is made out of high-quality materials in an effort to create a sense of professionalism. 

Some specific items that can be found in a traditionally furnished office are an executive desk or a credenza. The executive desk is usually made out of wood, has multiple drawers, is quite heavy, and displays ornate hardware. The credenza offers additional space in the office to provide storage and is a location to display important items or decor. In addition the office usually contains a variety of tables and seating options as well as a bookshelf. Each item displays the unique characteristics of traditional furniture. They are warmly colored, sturdy, durable yet comfortable, elegant, and classic.

Is traditional furniture out of style? 

When considering the design of a home, you are flooded with options. You have to choose the color to paint the walls, the style of design to go with, and the type of furniture you wish to purchase. With any simple google search you will find hundreds to thousands of articles and suggestions on what is the “up and coming” style. However, you will find that many styles come and go quicker than you can get your home fully furnished and complete. This, for obvious reasons, can make furnishing and decorating your home in a way that is “keeping up with the times” expensive and unrealistic. Though modern stylings do have an allure, traditional furniture has a classic design that will forever be relevant and popular. Simply put, it is timeless in lieu of trendy. 

modern white living room

The enduring appeal with traditional furniture is likely attributed to its elegant and classic characteristics such as durable wood construction, ornate details, attention to design and symmetry, and the overall sense of warmth and comfort created. Not only is traditional furniture elegant and classic, but it can easily be mixed with a variety of differing styles to allow the consumer to create a variety of interior designs. For example a person can pair a heavy, durable, wood based coffee table with lighter, more modern decor pieces to create a luxurious, but classic living room design. By doing this a person can enjoy the essence and beauty of traditional furniture while infusing the room with contemporary design elements. 

Where To Purchase Traditional Furniture?

Though you can certainly purchase traditional furniture online, it is most highly recommended that you locate a local furniture store, such as Mary Jane’s Solid Oak Furniture. By going into a local store, you can more closely inspect the item’s construction, materials, and design. This will allow you to ensure that the furniture will function in the space desired. Furthermore, you can avoid unnecessary shipping costs and untimely delays that are commonly found with ordering items online.