Traditional interior design encompasses a great variety of elements in a home. From the ceilings to the floor; including the trim, the wall finishes–all the way to the window treatments and the furniture.
The careful designer must focus attention on each of these items in order to create the ideal design. Lighting, wall treatments, flooring, and furniture are all fundamental steps in creating a smooth design. Each of these elements should tie in carefully with the last, creating an interchanging staircase of design. Theme, color, texture, and placement are the tools with which you are to design this delicate stairway.
Themes of traditional interior design vary from traditional to modernistic, from eclectic to yes–even retro. The decision of theme should (in my opinion) be left entirely up to the individual homeowner or business owner. Each person has a message they would like to convey to the world through their space. It is your job, as the designer, to listen to their wants and needs and to develop a solution that suits them perfectly.
If the client is having difficulty in assessing his or her design needs, provide them catalogs or magazines to browse through. Traditional interior design is a concept that is simple and everyone should be able to understand. After browsing through magazines and determining what appeals to them visually, it would be a good idea to ask them about their lifestyle needs.
Most clients with children will definitely need to keep the cost modest of their furniture. If the person is active socially and plans on entertaining, you will want to be sure to organize any recreational spaces in a way that is ideal for that type of entertaining.
Once the basic theme has been decided upon, the next major set of choices will be what colors to base those themes on. I always advise clients that it is better to fit the color with the space than the person in this situation. Does that sound unfair?
Many clients will associate their first color selection with their favorite color. A favorite color and wall paint sometimes don’t mix very well. Traditional interior design motivates the color choices more towards colors that match the room’s needs. This is so because very often you will find that even if a client is less then enthusiastic about the color selection, after the room has been painted and they have had the chance to see it, they change their minds quickly.
Try to offer this type of solution to your client in an encouraging, helpful way rather then with a know-it-all attitude. If they are still not very enthusiastic, try to show them pictures of similar colors in catalogs to give them a better feel of how it will look. Catalogs and magazines are an endless resource for things like this because it offers people a little insight into how designs play out.
All right, you have a theme in mind and a palette of colors to work from. What’s next in traditional interior design?
It honestly depends on the magnitude and scope of the project. Choose your wall treatments and get those out of the way if you intend on making any flooring changes. Don’t become hasty and have new flooring installed or the existing flooring refinished only to paint over the top of it while applying your wall treatment. Once the walls have been complete and allowed time to properly dry, then is the time to make flooring changes.
Flooring! Traditional interior design offers so many choices for all types of flooring; it is best to base this choice upon the needs and lifestyle of your clients. If they have children, suggest that easily washable, flat surfaced flooring is used with the compliment of a large rug in any recreational room. These rooms will be the rooms that are used the most often and are danger areas for anyone with kids or children. Explain to them that the rug is easily replaced but carpeting is not!!!
When the ‘canvas’ is ready (the bare bones of the room), it is time for you to treat any windows before you begin moving furniture in and things get crowded. For small rooms, open them up by adding more light using sheer window coverings. The same idea with dark rooms that need a little extra light. Make ‘short’ rooms tall using window-to-floor curtains or draperies in contrast to short furniture.
Traditional interior design includes MANY alternatives to window coverings that will fit any home. Keep in mind while doing this the activity on the outside of the window as much as you do to the appearance on the inside of it. If it is a very open window and the setting of the home does not offer much privacy, they will probably want privacy window coverings. After your windows are complete, hang any wall accessories before proceeding to the next step.
Time to bring in the furniture! A few key rules to remember while positioning furniture in traditional interior design: first, create lines and continuity. Second, be sure to create adequate walking space. Third, don’t over clutter. And fourth, be creative.
Once your furniture is in place and has been ‘tested’, it is time to accessorize. Traditional interior design normally does this by placing a few instrumental accessories into place. Simplicity is elegant and too many accessories can lead to an uncomfortable room.
Try to purchase well-defined items that can even make great conversational pieces. If the homeowners are hands-on and involved, get them to add personal touches by creating an accessory themselves.
Traditional interior design is a catch-all that incorporates the workability and usability with the beauty of a room. Achieve the perfect balance by properly combining these items and you will be successful!