Have you ever walked into a home and felt embraced by its warm atmosphere, like a comforting hug? That's the magic of a traditionally-styled home. In a landscape where furniture choices can feel overwhelming and fleeting fads abound, traditional style offers a reassuring anchor, providing a sense of continuity and comfort in an ever-changing world. Influenced by classic European design combined with local landscapes and available resources, New Zealand’s traditional style is all about creating spaces that feel like home. Every detail speaks of timeless elegance and refined comfort, transcending passing trends, and offering a sense of enduring charm that lasts through the ages.

What elements define traditional style?

Incorporating traditional style into your interiors means picking just the right mix of furniture, colours, materials, and accessories to create a look that's always welcoming and oh-so charming. Defined by classic lines, symmetrical arrangements, and rich colour palettes, traditional style evokes elegance and sophistication.

1. Classic Furniture

Nordic Bedroom

Traditional pieces are like old friends – reliable, comforting, and built to last. When it comes to furniture, opting for substantial pieces that will stand the test of time is key. Solid wood furniture pieces stained in rich colours, like rimu and maple, are synonymous with traditional style. From iconic silhouettes like wingback chairs to solid wooden tables, classic furniture is characterised by graceful curves, intricate detailing, and sturdy construction, and should evoke a sense of timeless sophistication in any interior space.

2. Luxurious Fabrics and Patterns

Andorra Bedroom

Materials and textures play a crucial role in traditional interiors, with an emphasis on luxurious comfort and old-world charm. Incorporate plush fabrics such as velvet or silk, and ornate patterns, including florals, plaids or damask through furniture upholstery, area rugs, wallpaper, curtains, or bedding.

3. Rich Colour Palettes

Charlton Dining

Traditional colour palettes are warm and inviting. Rich, earthy tones like deep greens, warm browns, and golden yellows evoke a sense of cosiness and elegance. Jewel tones like ruby reds, sapphire blues and amethyst purples add an air of luxury. Pair these hues with neutral shades like creamy whites or soft beiges to balance the space and allow the rich colours to shine.

4. Decorative Accents

Mill-Yard Dining

Traditional interiors are full of character. Rooms with wall moulding or panelling, exposed beams or raised ceilings are the prefect backdrop for traditional style decor. Choose accessories with timeless appeal, such as brass or copper accents, crystal chandeliers, and porcelain vases.

5. Embracing Nature

Waihi Living

Embracing nature is another key aspect of traditional New Zealand interiors, with elements like natural light, indoor plants, and views of the stunning landscape bringing the outdoors inside. Large windows allow plenty of natural light to flood the space, while indoor plants add a touch of greenery and vitality. Incorporating views of New Zealand's breathtaking landscapes, whether it's rolling hills, pristine beaches, or snow-capped mountains, creates a sense of connection to the natural surroundings and enhances the overall ambiance of the space.


Embracing Traditional Charm Room by Room

Traditional Style Living Room

Korver Chair- Chinoiserie

A traditional style living room should exude a sense of timeless elegance and comfort, conducive to cosy gatherings around a crackling fireplace. Classic furniture pieces with rich wood finishes and plush upholstery set the tone for warmth and sophistication. Opt for sofas and armchairs with generous proportions, adorned with luxurious fabrics like velvet or button detailing, for a touch of opulence. Layering with decorative pillows and throws in traditional patterns such as floral prints or stripes adds depth and charm to the space. Incorporate natural textures with Persian rugs or hardwood floors and finish off the look with ornate accents like brass candlesticks or framed artwork for a traditional living room that radiates grace and refinement.

Traditional Style Dining Room

Villager Dining

Traditional style dining rooms favour formal and fancy layouts. Rich wood dining tables, often in dark wood or rimu tones, serve as the centrepiece, complemented by matching chairs upholstered in sumptuous fabrics. A classic chandelier suspended above the table adds a touch of grandeur, while table linens in rich colours or traditional patterns, will enhance the traditional aesthetic. Complete the look with fine china, crystal glassware, and silverware, arranged meticulously to create an inviting tablescape. With its blend of elegance, comfort, and timeless appeal, a traditional style dining room sets the stage for memorable gatherings and lasting conversations.

Traditional Style Bedroom

Villager Bedroom

In a traditional style bedroom, elegance and comfort should intertwine to create a sanctuary of timeless allure and relaxation. The focal point is often a stately wooden bed frame, dressed in luxurious bedding in soft, sumptuous fabrics. Layers of pillows and throws add inviting appeal and opportunity to bring in classic patterns and textures. To further enhance the traditional ambiance, incorporate matching bedside tables with antique-inspired lamps, creating a symmetrical balance. Soft, muted colour palettes, including shades of cream, ivory, or soft pastels, create a serene and soothing atmosphere. Complete the ensemble with traditional décor, such as framed artwork, decorative mirrors, and plush area rugs.


How to incorporate traditional style into your modern NZ home?

Ivydale Bedroom

If you’re lucky enough to own a nineteenth century mansion or generational family home, a traditional style interior will blend seamlessly with the home’s architecture. However, if your house is without character origins, anyone can embrace traditional style while still enjoying modern conveniences to create a home that is both timeless and functional. When merging traditional style with modern living, striking a balance is key. Consider pairing classic furniture pieces with sleek, contemporary designs to create a harmonious fusion of old and new. For instance, combine a traditional wooden dining table with modern chairs for a fresh take on the traditional dining room, or pair vintage décor with contemporary bedroom furniture. Mixing and matching elements from different styles can result in a unique and stylish space that reflects your individual taste and creativity. Don't be afraid to experiment with different combinations until you find the perfect balance that resonates with you. By blending traditional elements with modern aesthetics, you can craft a space that feels both sophisticated and welcoming, offering a perfect blend of the past and the present in your home.


Don’t know where to start? Get your traditional bedroom makeover under way with our classic bedroom ideas and decorating tips.