Modern vs traditional décor: what's your style?

When it comes to decorating your home, you'll need to decide what direction you'd like to take: smart and modern or cosy and classic. The first approach is all shiny surfaces, minimalist décor and clean lines. The other brings together natural materials, artisan furniture, exposed beams and farmhouse kitchens. But what if you like bits of both? Here's our guide to understanding the styles and how to blend them.


Spot the difference

At first glance, modern and traditional décor are at the opposite ends of the spectrum. Not to be confused with contemporary design, which is all about the now, modern design is an early 20th-century reaction against earlier tastes. Rooms were opened out and stripped back, ornate wooden furniture was swapped for simpler geometric shapes made from plastic or metal, and bright whites or bold colours replaced the subtler shades of older designs. 


Contemporary interior trends often switch between the two, or even blend them. 2017 design trends include traditional deep green colours and natural finishes, with bohemian textiles that inject them with an up-to-date, eclectic feel. This mixing and matching is called transitional design and it's easier to nail than you think. Pair an ornate vintage chandelier with your minimalist living room furniture, or keep your colour palette neutral and let statement art do the talking.


Form and function

Finding the right blend is all about matching your tastes with today's trends and the strengths of your specific property. That means looking at your home's architecture, age and any period features to create a space that suits. If you have trim and moulding, contrast it with sharp-edged furniture and asymmetrical accessories.


Think about layout and use, too. If your kitchen's the hub of your home, a big, traditional farmhouse style could be ideal. But that doesn’t exclude contemporary ideas. You’d be surprised how well things like smart home technology blend in – from smartphone-controlled ambient lighting to fridges that automatically reorder your essentials.


Designing the detail

With a strong background in place, you can tweak elements to match your mood, track trends and blend décor styles with the finishing touches. Take the current fashion for Scandinavian worn leather chairs. The natural materials balance perfectly with the modernist frames, adding interest to a traditional living room.


You can even keep up with interior design trends on a budget. Tired of your bold patterned feature wall? Paint it over with an an on-trend shade and hang a traditional tapestry. Even just adding simple cushion covers, sporting marble print or adding a fresh colour, can make a massive difference. It’s all about the balance and letting your imagination run wild.