How to Mix Modern and Traditional Style Like a Pro

One thing we love about decorating is that you can blend styles, materials, colors, and so much more to create spaces that are unique to your personality and how you live in your home. And a favorite take on that—and probably the one we see the most—is the mixing of modern and traditional style.

It breathes fresh life into the classic look, creating spaces that are comfortable for modern times with a wink to the charm and beauty of the past. Here, we’re spelling out exactly how to bring these old-meets-new sensibilities into your own home.

Start with traditional foundations.

To create a space that leans more classic, start with key pieces that are grounded in traditional style. The space above, for example, pairs timeless designs like wood tables, botanical artwork, and a classic rug in soft colors with minimalist accents like sleek pillows and a modern planter. The result is a delightfully layered look that feels unique and full of character and warmth.

Mix and match your furniture.

The key to mastering modern traditional style is all in the mix. So matching furniture sets—think a bed-nightstand-dresser combo, or even a dining table and chairs—can sometimes feel a little one-note when you’re trying to design a space that blends two distinct looks. Try choosing furniture on both sides of this coin by mixing antique or traditional finds with modern pieces and clean lines. It’s all about the juxtaposition!

Be bold with a rug.

Minimalist furniture and accents, meet a colorful, statement-making rug! We love so many things about rugs, but one of the main reasons is because they can have such a big impact on a room’s overall look and feel. So add a vintage-inspired rug to your modern space to mix it up—it really is as easy as rolling out a rug to add that traditional charm!

Accessorize thoughtfully.

You may be bringing two looks together, but paring things down will be essential in pulling off modern traditional style. Too much of anything can make a space feel cluttered and haphazardly decorated—especially when it comes to accessories and smaller decor pieces. We recommend editing down your accents to a mix of your favorites, or choosing a theme (like the natural, neutral accents above) and sticking to it throughout a space.

Experiment with color.

For a fresh take on traditional, we love the idea of having a little fun with color—whether it’s using classic colors (like blue or green) in new ways, adding pops of color to a neutral palette, or making a dramatic statement with moody charcoal walls like the room above.

Have fun with pattern.

This is where you can really mix it up and play up your home’s personality. We love the idea of pairing classic patterns (think stripes, plaid, feminine florals, traditional rugs) with their more modern counterparts (like geometric patterns, abstract prints, or an unexpected take on a stripe). Just make sure there’s a common thread that runs through each of them—like the black and navy hues in each of the patterns above.

Arrange with symmetry.

Symmetrical furniture arrangements are a key tenet of traditional design, and we love the updated, neutral spin the above living room puts on the concept. We’re not talking perfect symmetry here. That would be boring, and honestly a little dizzying! Focus more on creating a balance of how your furniture and decor are spread throughout the room, beginning with a middle focal point, and building around it from there.

Balance out utilitarian features.

Rooms that have lots of appliances, like the kitchen or laundry room, can often feel out of place in your home thanks to stainless steel or other modern finishes. We love the idea of rolling out a traditional rug in these spaces to introduce character, warmth, and tie them back to the other rooms in your house.