From the Floor Up

Putting a Modern Spin on Classic Home Design

Posted by Daltile Team on Aug 1, 2015 7:30:00 AM

Hints from a Designer

Skybridge in Gray 10 X 14 on the wall and Off White 18 x 18 on the floor

Love your traditional home but wish it could be a bit less, well, dated? Finding the happy place between tradition and the evolving world doesn’t have to be a monumental struggle like it was for Tevye and his tradition challenging daughters in The Fiddler on the Roof.

We spoke to Corinthia Runge, the manager of all of Daltile’s Design Studios—and excellent designer, to find out how to incorporate the new with the old without disowning favorite traditional designs.

Design’s Love Hate Relationship

About 15 years ago, materials with faux finishes started cropping up. These offered modernistic technology with the look of traditional materials—the perfect blend. Only a few years later, these same faux finishes became taboo. Traditionalists wanted the opulence of the real thing. Ms. Runge said “I think with the technology that we’ve put in place in the last few years and with the rate that we’re increasing that technology—as far as production of tile--it’s made that word (faux) OK again.”

It’s OK because things like wood-look tile employ top-of-the-line graphics and manufacturing techniques that make them almost indistinguishable from hardwood at first glance. Combining traditional looks with technologically advanced and ever-durable tile is a powerful prospect. Ms. Runge also said

“Designers are seeing that you can have a tile wood-look plank that looks just like real wood, yet you can use it at the lake and walk on it with wet swim suits, and your 120 pound lab can run on it and not mar the tile. You can have water damage and not have to replace your whole downstairs. They are seeing you can have the look and it be utilitarian.”

The ability to update traditional spaces with new products that have all the benefits of modernity and a classic look got us thinking about what else you can do to make peace between the old and the new.
Here are five more concepts to introduce your traditional décor to the 21st century.

Yorkwood in Pecan 6 x 36

Monochrome Walls

Contrasting wall and trim colors is tradition. It was meant to draw attention to the intricacy of the trims. However, it also looks very dated. Keep the detailed trims and change the colors for an update that will make your walls current.

Go for a monochrome wall scheme that will form the backdrop for other features in your space. It’s a simple change that has a dramatic effect. Rich neutral colors like soft black, taupe, or even deep brown add to the classic feel without being overwhelmingly modern. A hint of the contemporary allows you to use classic décor but still look fresh.

Bold Accessories

Your classic décor tends to blend into itself and get lost when there is too much of it. But a bit of bold modernism here and there takes your space to the next level. But be careful; choosing modern pieces for your traditional décor can start to become eclectic if you aren’t careful.

Try adding modern color to traditional pieces to successfully blend the two styles. Colors like coral, turquoise, and plum aren’t even on the radar in traditional designs. Adding these colors to your draperies, lamp shades, furniture, and throw pillows breathes new life into your antique setting.

Slate in Indian Multicolor

Pattern Love

Formal furniture pieces that are so popular in traditional design can make your space feel heavy. Lighten it up with more modern patterned upholstery. Large prints with filigree, fret work, animal print, and other non-floral prints give you the update you need.

You can also achieve an update with other fabrics in your space like pillows and draperies. Keep in mind that prints like this command a lot of attention and can clash easily if you don’t plan your décor carefully.

High Contrast

One thing traditional design steers clear of is high contrast. Even in a very traditional room, high contrast automatically brings a flavor of the modern. Black and white is especially effective and is a great choice if you are uncertain about introducing modern elements into your design.

A mostly white room with occasional black accents provides the right mixture to modernize the space. You can also achieve high contrast with traditional neutral colors like brown and white or gray and pastel pink. It’s not so much about the colors you choose as it is about how opposite they are. It’s all about the extreme contrast.


Find out how easy it can be to blend the traditional alongside the modern and give your space the update it needs.

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Topics: Remodel, Redesign, Trends, Design

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