Traditional to Modern and Vice Versa: Simple Changes with Big Impact

Traditional to Modern and Vice Versa: Simple Changes with Big Impact

Abby Stone
Oct 9, 2008

100808-balance.jpgAlthough we love mid-century furniture, visiting a home where we can name every piece can be a little...well, boring. Frankly, we prefer a home with a little bit of this, a little bit of that. But sometimes it's challenging to know what to add and what to take away. After the jump, some ideas for modern rooms and for traditional rooms, to bring them to life...

Modern: The sleek and spare quality that we love in a modern room can sometimes dangerously tip into cold territory.


  • Cozy up the room by bringing stuff in: texture's key here. A great throw, a knit pillow or try something with a pattern.
  • Think in contrasts. Rework grandma's colorful afghan into pillows for your sofa, reupholster your Danish modern chair in a wild tropical floral.
  • An antique or an eclectic piece can really bring a room into focus. Try an African footstool next to your Eames chair, an elaborate and ornately carved console behind a sleek couch, or a worn Oriental rug instead of the predictable shag carpeting. A floral painting in a gilt frame is a riveting contrast to chrome and glass.

Traditional: Traditional rooms are often chock full. Make them elegant by paring them down to the basics.


  1. Start by simplifying the room: break up matching pairs, swap out a patterned carpet with a simpler rug.
  2. Declutter a room physically and visually: Replace heavy window treatments with light cotton drapes, shutters or blinds (try top down shades if your view's great but privacy's a concern). Clear off the table tops and replace an assortment of knickknacks with one dramatic piece.
  3. Lighten a room: replace ornate shades with something simple, multiple lamps with spot lighting, pattern fabric with something sleek.

[[image: //www.apartmenttherapy.com/la/house-tours/house-tour-steves-beach-bungalow-and-garden-retreatlos-angeles-063243>Steve's Beach Bungalow and Garden Retreat]

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