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4 Ways to Weave Touches of Traditional Décor Throughout Your Space

Dining nook with corner full of traditional antique art.

Lauren Zillinger for Laura Metzler Photography

In addition to being a design enthusiast, I struggle with being drawn to a wide variety of décor styles. Some days, I prefer elements of the eclectic look, other days I’m into clean lines and minimalism, and then there are times when I wake up and wonder if maybe I’m secretly a grandmillennial and I’ve been decorating my place incorrectly the entire time.

Overall, I’m enchanted by so many different looks and have found that I gravitate toward both the trendy pieces and the classic ones. As a result, I’ve become comfortable subtly weaving traditional touches throughout my more contemporary space in order to strike a balance that feels pleasant—at least on most days.

Here, I’ll show you how to do the same. 

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Display a Bust

Bust on bar cart.

Lauren Zillinger for Laura Metzler Photography

I could truly write pages and pages on how much I love all types of bust sculptures, but I’ll keep this short and sweet. Busts are excellent because they immediately add personality, texture, and dimension to a space. I also love how charismatic and quirky they are—busts certainly aren’t boring.

I suggest placing one atop a stack of books on your built-ins, on a fireplace mantel, or even on a bar cart. No matter what you choose, you can’t go wrong. For example, I styled a white bust on a more modern bar table to make the setup look a bit more formal and chic. The white really pops beside the black and white lamp I chose, and that piece’s pleated shade also pays a nod to more traditional interiors and complements the bust, too.

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Hang the Right Art

Dining nook with corner full of traditional antique art.

Lauren Zillinger for Laura Metzler Photography

Go ahead and mix more modern prints alongside traditional-looking pieces such as oil portraits and landscapes, or, do what I did and create an entire gallery wall of these types of vintage prints alongside contemporary furniture.

Vintage art can definitely run on the pricier side, but spending some time scrolling through Etsy or taking a spin through your local flea markets is always worth your while. I even sourced one of the oil portraits hanging on my own gallery wall via Poshmark, which was a pleasant surprise.

While my frames may look high-end, most are from craft stores and were quite affordable—the key is to search for ornate-looking brass pieces to get that beloved weathered look. 

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Display Special Trinkets

Bookshelf with wicker basket.

Lauren Zillinger for Laura Metzler Photography

Rather than shopping for all of your small accent pieces at big-box stores, try to incorporate sentimental objects from your travels onto your bookshelves or coffee table. I purchased a small Nantucket basket at a local antique store and love how it looks on my built-ins atop a stack of books. It was affordable, classic, and instantly added the perfect touch of wicker to my living room.

Boxes, trays, and pottery are all other great go-to pieces to display prominently in your space. Blue and white porcelain is a traditionalist’s dream and looks wonderful grouped together. Empty cigar boxes are also perfect for stashing letters and other keepsakes—and will add vintage charm. 

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Think Texture

Small glass bowl on nightstand.

Lauren Zillinger for Laura Metzler Photography

We see plenty of furniture items today that successfully pay a nod to styles of the past without looking dated. Cane, wicker, and velvet pieces immediately come to mind, for example. As long as the silhouette of a piece is current and not too tarnished, it’s a yes for me.

While the actual vintage cane chairs that my mother inherited from her parents and grandparents are a bit too antique-looking for my aesthetic, I’ve swooned over the cane pieces from stores such as CB2, Zara Home, and Lulu & Georgia, which evoke this classic style but feature fun pops of black or linen.

Rattan, while having a major design moment, is also a furniture style we’ve seen for years and can be another traditional-inspired touch to add to a space.