5 ways to blend modern and traditional elements in your interior design

Blending contemporary and traditional elements in your interior design can help create a timeless home that shows your personality. For older houses, adding a few modern elements can help bring your space into the 21st century, while adding traditional elements can help a more contemporary space feel more homey and lived-in.  


If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry— in this guide, we take you through how to mix modern and traditional elements to create that balance with ease. You’ll find tips on how to plan areas that you want to change so you can choose the right features to create the perfect mix of traditional and modern. Let’s dive in.

1. Understand the essentials of design styles

Contemporary and traditional are two very different interior design styles, so it’s good to get a handle on them before you start your design.


Contemporary design relies on the current trends. Right now,this includes elements like sleek lines and neutral colours, with a focus on natural materials, like wood, leather, glass and stone. Traditional design, on the other hand, tends to be softer and more colourful. It’s often inspired by the 18th and 19th century, bringing history and a touch of glamour to a room. Think florals, plaids, dark woods, velvet and silk linen, and other comforting touches.


Iit’s also a good idea to consider some interior design basics, like balancing colour and scale and using contrast to create unique features. It also pays to know what you’d like to highlight and aspects you want to minimise, so take some time to look around the room, thinking about what you love most and what you could do without. Thinking about these things before you start will make it easier to know what to hide and what to highlight to bring your design to life.

2. Plan your space with the right foundations

A good foundation will make your job of choosing textiles and furniture a lot easier. Plus, it won’t be fighting with what you add to the space and other design elements. If you plan on blending modern and traditional in your home, it’s a good idea to stick to neutral bases for your walls and flooring. This will help keep the space neutral, allowing the different design elements to be the focal point of the room. While it’s possible to use walls and floors as feature elements, it’s much easier to start with neutrals as it won’t be so overwhelming in the space. 


Picking durable, easy-to-wash paints, as well as durable flooring will also help reduce your maintenance for years to come. Spaces are meant to be lived in, and getting this part right will mean you can enjoy yourself without worrying about scratches, scuffs and marks.

3. Think about your colours and textures

Pops of colour and texture can instantly change the feel of any room, adding interest and personality to any space. By picking colours that bring out the best in both modern and traditional design, you can easily make it work. For example, you can use a modern palette of clean, neutral grey and beige as your base to highlight the beauty and warmth of more traditional colours like navy, burgundy and green.


You aren’t just confined to colours though, as carefully chosen textiles can also help seamlessly blend the two design styles. So, if you’ve chosen a more modern couch with clean cut edges in a neutral colour, you could add linen cushions or a rich-coloured throw to bring the piece to life. Velvet curtains, bold rugs and even statement plants can help bring modern and traditional pieces together.

4. Select timeless furniture pieces

Replacing furniture is a quick and easy way to change the look and feel of your home. If you like to regularly change your style, then sticking to more neutral furniture will allow you to play with textiles, like cushions, throws, curtains and accessories whenever you like. But you can also make a big impact with a few feature pieces too.


Picture leather or white linen lounges with a dark, velvet occasional chair, or a clean, simple timber dining room table with darker wood dining chairs with floral patterned seat cushions. By keeping your larger pieces modern and minimalist, it helps you add pops of traditional charm wherever it feels right.

5. Infuse character through accessories 

Accessories are also a good way to blend the old with the new. Whether you’re looking for loud accessories that draw the eye, or more subtle touches, the right selection can help bring the two styles together.

Artwork is a great place to start. Even if you select more contemporary pieces, you can adorn them with ornate frames to bring the two styles together. If you’d like to bring out the traditional aesthetic even more, choosing artwork with country landscapes or portraits as the subject, in traditional styles such as Baroque, Classicism or Impressionism can instantly help bring that cosy feeling to a modern room.


Lamps, light fixtures and other accessories are another way to add some traditional charm to a modern home or bring some contemporary touches to a traditional interior. Shopping garage sales, charity shops or vintage second-hand stores is a great way to find traditional pieces that will bring so much life and character into your space. Or, go minimalist with angular or industrial floor lamps to contrast softer pieces and add a contemporary edge.

Mix styles with confidence 

The secret to blending modern and traditional interior design styles is to do so with confidence. Creating mood boards and mapping things out before you start can help give you the confidence you need to go ahead with changes. And remember, if you go for a neutral, modern foundation, it’s much easier to switch out pieces, furniture and accessories as your tastes change. Make the space your own. 

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