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Traditional interior design is based upon the styles of Western homes built during the 18th-and-19th centuries. Furniture is the commanding characteristic of traditional design, drawing heavily on Northern European design styles from that same era, such as Queen Anne, Chippendale and Hepplewhite. Wood tones are typically darker, providing contrast to the lighter tones used on walls and ceilings. Deeper colors and dramatic patterns can be integrated into window treatments, floor coverings, and upholstery fabrics.

Popular fabrics in traditional design include chintz, crewel and velvet, but plaids, stripes, and tone-on-tone patterns are also used. Wood trims and molding are very commonplace in traditional interiors (especially crown molding, which accentuates the formal look) and they are seen equally in stained finishes and in light painted finishes. Wall stenciling and wall papers are also used extensively, along with coordinating upholstery and drapery fabrics. Traditional lighting depends heavily on metal based table and floor lamps, with neutral fabric shades.

To accessorize a traditional interior, classic artwork (such as painted portraits, nature scenes, history, and the arts) are used in various ornate frames along with flowers, decorative boxes and vases. Traditional accessories are typically grouped to create balanced symmetry. Overall, traditional design is classic and it exudes an understated elegance while creating a homey, comfortable space.