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Contemporary vs Traditional: can both be part of the same design project?
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When it comes to home design and decor, there are two major styles that are often seen as conflicting - the sleek, minimalist aesthetic of contemporary design and the classic, ornate allure of traditional design.
While using two opposing styles on the surface might seem wrong, when traditional designs and modern ideas are thoughtfully combined in your property their contrast often creates visual interest and striking depth that can be impressive. If you love modern touches and time-tested classics, it’s possible to merge the two successfully in the same design.
For anyone designing an interior, improving tired rooms to add value to their existing property or researching contemporary and modern styles for a new project, this article is for you.

Aesthetic Appeal of a Contemporary Look
Popular contemporary designs are often characterised by clean, straight lines, open floor plans, and a minimalist aesthetic although modern interior design trends evolve fast. It utilises modern materials like metals, glass, concrete, and high-tech fabrics to create a sleek, uncluttered look. This style reflects current trends and sensibilities with its emphasis on neutral colours, functionality, and spaciousness.
The widespread appeal of contemporary design lies in its futuristic vibe, efficiency, and versatility. It can feel modern, edgy, and forward-thinking while still maintaining a sense of timelessness. With its focus on simplicity and flexibility, contemporary design allows for open-concept spaces that suit modern lifestyles.

Enduring Charm of the Traditional
Traditional home decor, meanwhile, is characterised by classic styles passed down through generations, with an emphasis on ornate details and rich materials. Design elements like carved wood furnishings, plush fabrics, panelled walls, intricate moulding, and chandeliers create a formal, elegant look.
When it comes to renovations, it is often popular to work with the ancient fabric of a building, retaining its character features to keep its charm and remodelling the building without taking anything away from its attractive original features. In most cases, a property’s innate warmth and familiarity comes from its traditional decor and may date back to bygone centuries; as well as display the beauty of antique and vintage pieces.
With its comforting and intimate feel, traditional design offers a sense of permanence and heritage. The widespread appeal of traditional decor lies in its timeless sophistication, visual interest, and evocation of the past. People are drawn to the craftsmanship, texture, and cosiness of traditional design, which can provide a welcoming respite from busy modern life.

Skillfully Blend Modern and Classic Styles
You may be undecided between having more of a contemporary look or a traditional style, or perhaps if you live in an older property full of character but prefer modern comforts like open spaces and minimalist furnishings. There are many attractive ways to combine contemporary and traditional design. The two can blend and successfully coexist within the same property.
Contemporary and traditional design can harmoniously coexist in a space through intentional balance. The sleek lines of modern furniture can contrast beautifully against the ornate details of antique accents. A minimalist kitchen or bathroom can feature small traditional touches like crown moulding or chandelier lighting. Some design choices might come down to the practicalities of modern living and sway you to design a project with contemporary furnishings and fittings. It may be easier and make more sense in a certain room to replace an old floor with a new one made out of hardwearing materials.
Combining a clean-lined contemporary sofa with an ornately carved coffee table creates visual interest. Traditional wallpaper or rugs work well when juxtaposed against modern artwork and accessories. The key is to blend the two styles strategically, using each one to highlight the best features of the other.

Inspiring tried and tested blended designs
When balanced thoughtfully, contemporary and traditional elements can complement each other for a layered, personal look. You can take inspiration from researching blended styles at home and abroad that have been replicated because they work well.
Modern villas in Spain can be beautifully refurbished with a twist on a traditional design. Traditional Spanish villas have distinct features, such as smaller windows, arched terraces and classic Roman-style balustrades. When these are replaced with rectangular structures or repainted in bright colours, the overall look is transformed into a well-designed holiday home.
Sleek modern furnishings and fixtures make ornate traditional details stand out, while the warmth of reclaimed woods or antique furnishings can soften clinical, sterile contemporary spaces. For a modern outside-to-inside connection with your living area, consider large operable glass doors, upgraded railings, and flooring that suit a modern style.
Wherever your property is located, there are many other examples of successfully blending old and new worlds without your home looking mismatched, including:

- In a minimalist living room, modern leather furniture and abstract art contrasts well with a large brick fireplace and antique Persian rug.
- A contemporary open-concept kitchen featuring sleek cabinets and stainless steel appliances can be combined with a farmhouse-style sink and pendant lighting.
- To upgrade a bedroom, use a low-profile modern platform bed and crisp bedding accessorised with ornate carved nightstands and an antique mirror.
- A bold graphic print or modern abstract painting hung above a vintage clawfoot bathtub is a nod to both old and new styles.
- Clean-lined lighting and recessed lighting paired with crystal chandeliers in a dining room can merge luxury classic features with contemporary for a striking look.
- Large modern tiles mixed with vintage patterned tiles work wonderfully in your bathroom renovation.
- Touch-activated taps and tech-forward appliances incorporated into a traditional cottage and rustic-style kitchen.
- Rejuvenate a seating area with mid-century modern chairs around an intricately carved wood coffee table for a winning combination of blended styles.

Contemporary and traditional designs can work well together when thoughtfully combined. The key consideration when merging the two styles is balance. Ensure you end up with integrated, well-proportioned decor that is harmonious in the wider context of your room or property as a whole.
Far from clashing, this strategic blending of new and old can produce a layered and well-balanced interior with broad aesthetic appeal. Once you find the right balance, your brilliant blend of past and present can create a welcoming, distinct living space in any property.

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