Contemporary furniture in your traditional home? Yes!

Contemporary table and chairs

Often people think the style of their home’s exterior needs to dictate the style of the furniture and the decorating. Here we’ll show 5 interior design ideas to mix in contemporary furniture or mid-century modern furniture in a traditional home.

You can use modern or contemporary furniture in an older traditional style home, or you can go with whatever style you like, be it eclectic or craftsmen or mid-century modern. There are ways to help unexpected furnishings “blend” with the architecture of the home.

Our clients in the Winston Salem home (top photo below) preferred a contemporary look. They were tired of the jewel tone rugs and antique furniture they had for years.  Whatever your taste, there are ways to blend the traditional style of your home with a more modern interior, such as:

1) With unexpected touches!

The chair below gave the homeowners the fresh contemporary feeling their formal study once had. The solid cherry built-in wall unit and crown molding were dark and formal, so this unexpected chair changes the mood of the room. Notice in the before photo the brown leather chair was dark and blended in with the dark walls.

Also unexpected are the light ivory and gray contemporary rug and abstract art, the last thing you’d expect in a formal traditional home.
Before and After

2) Today’s fresh color tones!

Notice the rug below is a traditional pattern, yet the color tones are not the dark burgundy, forest green, camel tones of rugs past. The lighter tone on tone colors of this ivory and blue rug make it feel fresh and updated. The silver cocktail table is also an unexpected color tone to help update this very traditional living room.

The lounge chairs below are a traditional shape, but the turquoise leather and silver nail head make them a more updated or contemporary look.

After Before
Contemporary furniture in traditional home Traditional furniture in traditional home
After Before
Contemporary chair Traditional chair

3) Updated floor lamps & Accessories

Today’s high-quality floor lamps are often about 5 1/2′ to 6′ tall, while the floor lamps from the 90’s were often about 4′ tall. See photo above. The taller floor lamps blend well with today’s furnishings. Also, notice the after in the bookcases, we removed some shelves and added larger more contemporary accessories.

4) Contemporary furniture blends with many styles!

The light fixture is traditional, or industrial, the art is abstract, the kitchen table and chairs and the plant stand all have a mid-century modern feel. The color pops of orange, teal and a medium wood stain are a nice contrast to the light gray walls in this kitchen.

Mid century modern table and chairs

5) Light Fixtures can change the mood of a room!

The home below has a rustic traditional style, with shiplap walls and a contemporary upholstered headboard. Even more unique is the light fixture, which is contemporary. Sometimes unexpected touches make the room more interesting!

Want more inspiration photos and design ideas? Then you’ll LOVE these most popular stories for updating a room: When one spouse is more contemporary than the other!

And here are more great design tips: Popular ideas for updating living rooms!

Modern or contemporary furniture can certainly work n a traditional home! Do you have an idea you’d like to share? We’d love to hear your thoughts, click “comment”. Or, for questions, be sure to email us instead!

About the Author


An interior designer in Greensboro, NC, Deborah features before and after transformations at

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