He likes modern, she likes Victorian. He likes sleek black and white, she likes wood and bronze. Marrying these two is much easier than you think, even if you live in a condo. Condo living doesn’t mean you have to be stuck with modern décor and designs. Despite tiled floors, a contemporary loft, and a modern kitchen nook, you may still transform your condo into a period piece.
Most interior designers call mixing modern and traditional décor the “transitional style.” It is a marriage of transitional and modern furniture, finishes, materials, fabrics, and color. The end result must strike a balance between the two and achieve design harmony. The objective is for your condo to look classic and timeless with some modern flair.
Go for mid-tones
Avoid going too dark or too bright in your choice of decorations. The palette should be relaxed and soft. When you have a wooden floor, go easy on your walls. When your carpet is on a darker shade, pick lighter colors for your wall décor. Your main color palettes must be subtle like ivory, beige, and tan. Do not paint two adjacent walls in contrasting colors. Being traditional means letting color progress slowly — from warm to cooler tones. Give your space a natural flow by repeating colors and use one tone for your wall paint with varying textures. This is not only soothing but also makes the space look bigger.
For your furniture, shades of brown, gray, and moss green never fail. Make sure your throw pillows are on the safe side too. Hang curtains that are just slightly darker than your wall. For blinds, go for clean-line Roman shades and woven-wooden blinds.
Wood is good
Wood is central to traditional designs. Dark wood, walnut, oak, cherry and mahogany all go well with a traditional neutral palette.
Picking wood furniture as the centerpiece of your condo will instantly give it a period feel, like early modern Europe. A wooden table at the center of a neutral-toned and non-patterned sofa shows a harmonious union of tradition and modernity. The ornamental carvings, graceful curves, and intricate details are what made wooden furniture timeless. Putting wood molding around doors, windows, and baseboards will give it more harmony.
For Filipinos, the local bamboo and rattan are fast becoming popular choices for furniture and décor ideas.
Shine is fine
Metal, bronze, and copper are also common in traditional designs. In period movies, we often see sparkling crystal chandeliers greet guests. If you are not sure if you are ready to go for the super shimmering and over the top chandelier, you can choose to play it down a little. Go for a smaller, unassuming one or try those vintage pendant lights.
Your choice of mirrors also makes a traditional home. Infuse some Downton Abbey into your choice of traditional décor for your condo and go for metal or brass frames. Just this one piece on the wall will make a huge difference. Candlesticks and vases will also add drama to your space. Aside from the shimmer, it is the intricacy of the details that make them a true classic.
It’s the details
Your condo may look very modern with its finishing and materials. If there’s nothing much you can do with the ceiling and the floor, just focus on breathing your traditional décor ideas to life and aim for a timeless condo design. For artwork and photos that you hang on walls, choose tasteful signature pieces and display them in an unassuming way, mostly with white mats and simple frames. Mounting oil paintings and black and white photos on your walls is a savvy way to design a living room that wants to be archetypal and conventional.
You don’t need to have organic elements all over your condo. You just need one or two classic pieces like an antique décor in the living room or a vintage dresser.
The concept of having a kitchen island is contemporary with modern lines and finishes. Strike the balance with traditional-looking bar stools. Wood cabinetry with brass accents will also do the trick.
Go for soft upholstery and tone down color and pattern. Strive for comfort and plush. If you want prints, classic floral, plaids, and stripes are the most common.
You may also choose a carpet or throw rugs with 19th century designs to give contrast to modern finishes. Adding flowers, a common traditional fixture, will add color in the mostly neutral space.
Feel the warmth
When you walk into a room with traditional design and ornaments, you will feel it. You will instantly feel its warmth and softness. It also sure feels homey. Refined decorative pieces, warm neutral backdrops, cozy repurposed furnishings, knit fabric designs, and the perfect lighting can give you that country vibe. Modern designs are easy on the eyes and refreshing but traditional makes you want to stay.
Diversity is the key
The good thing about a traditional design is its ability to incorporate a multitude of designs, including the modern blueprint of condo living. Incorporating modern elements and even bold colors and patterns can be balanced with the right choice of soft and neutral palettes. Whether it be stone, granite or wood, plain or detailed, bold or soft, there is always a way to mix traditional with modern flair. Contrast is not a problem in making your modern condo look like a home from the past century.
Do not worry about that small condo space. Your idea of English and Victorian designs may be on the more grand and luxurious side but you can temper it by just selecting a few traditional pieces. A good vintage piece will stand out no matter what. The reputation that traditional homes are outdated and simply old is clearly undeserved. It is about being timeless, warm, and familiar. All of these never go out of style.