Neo-Traditional Home Decor & Interior Design

I’ve seen the phrase on countless blogs and interior design publications. But I never quite knew for sure: What is neo-traditional decor? Sometimes called the New Traditional interior design style, I set out to read as much as I could on this popular decorating style.

I started my search on Instagram as I so often do. I love that Instagram is search is still relatively untouched by blanket-fit algorithms, unlike Google. I get a mix of top posts and also recent ones – allowing me to see the latest photos of a particular decorating style and get a sense of the style in real life.

Well, apparently #neotraditional is associated with – TATTOOS – who would have guessed that? So I had to dig further into other platforms this time around!

Long story short, after a lot of digging, here is what I’ve learned. Quite simply, neo-traditional decor embodies a style that is rooted in traditional interior design, but with modern and contemporary updates throughout. It’s an homage to traditional style with modern-day creature comforts that ensures we feel like we’re living in our homes and not Grandma’s.

You can check out the book called “The New Traditional” for more neo-trad eye candy, or keep reading along here.

Neo-Traditional Decor

Let’s dive deeper into a few of the most common elements of neo-traditional interior design, furniture, and decorations.

Modern Design

Neo-traditional rooms are spacious with a modern design and layout. Furniture could have a modern form that keeps it looking fresh, however, it is usually upholstered with traditional fabric. Or, it could have a traditional design with modern upholstery. The key is to effortlessly blend old and new.

Neo-traditional living room with bird pattern upholstered furniture via Lee Radziwill and François Halard for T Magazine
Lee Radziwill / François Halard for T Magazine

Painted Furniture

You’ll see lots of painted furniture in glossy hues in neo-trad rooms. It’s usually in a bold color. Take a look at this red nightstand against a green striped wall. Eye-catching, no?

Neo-trad Painted Furniture via Summer Thornton Design
Summer Thornton Design

Monochrome Rooms

I often come across Neo-trad rooms decorated in different shades of just one color. Check out this monochrome green family room by Summer Thornton.

Neo-Trad Green monochrome room via Summer Thornton Design
Summer Thornton Design

Dark Accents

Whether it’s a black piece of furniture or a midnight blue bookcase, you can often find a dramatically dark accent in the room.

Neo-trad Dark bookshelf decor via Summer Thornton Design
Summer Thornton Design


There’s almost always at least one chinoiserie piece in neo-traditional rooms. Most often, I see a chinoiserie garden stool, as seen below. This room has a lot of neo-trad elements going on besides the chinoiserie stool, from the patterned wallpaper to the blue monochrome, to the traditional skirted chaise lounge.

Neo-traditional pattern wallpaper and blue chinoiserie stool via @amylberry

Rich, Saturated Colors

You won’t find many pale colors here, except maybe in small amounts! Colors in neo-trad design are bold and rich. I love the interaction between this lime green table lamp and sky blue office chair below.

Neo-trad Rich Colors via Summer Thornton Design
Summer Thornton Design

Contemporary Patterns

If there is a traditional form of furniture, then it’s most likely upholstered in a contemporary pattern, and vice versa. I see lots of mod, geometrical patterns in neo-trad homes, like the rug below.

Neo-Trad Contemporary Patterns via Summer Thornton Design
Summer Thornton Design

Oriental Rugs

The oriental rug is holding out strong through neo-traditional design. This kitchen’s geometrical tile backsplash is also very neo-trad.

Neo-traditional Kitchen Decor with Oriental Rug via @pamelajaccarino Design by Summer Thornton
@pamelajaccarino / Summer Thornton

Thick, Colorful Curtains

Curtains make a bold statement in neo-traditional homes. Naturally, they are a bright, saturated color.

Neo-traditional Bedroom Decor with Bold Green Curtains via @pamelajaccarino

Intricate, Patterned Wallpaper

Lastly, you can’t miss the bold and intricate patterned wallpaper of neo-traditional interiors. Often whimsical in nature and with motifs like birds or flowers, it creates a sense of business in the room.

Neo-traditional Bathroom with wood vanity and floral wallpaper via Ellen Kavanaugh
Ellen Kavanaugh

Overall, I think the neo-trad style is very busy and not for the faint of heart. It can be overwhelming at times, but there are definitely some talented interior designers who make it look easy to pull all of those contrasting colors and patterns together. (I’m sure it’s anything but!) Personally, it’s a little too busy for my style, although I appreciate the design work behind many of these rooms. I could see myself purchasing one or two pieces from this style, but I’d have to tame things down a lot before I’d be happy.

Neo-Traditional Room Design

Neo-Traditional Inspiration

For more Neo-Traditional interior design inspiration, I recommend checking out:

What do you think of the neo-trad decorating style? Could you see it working in your home?

Everything to Know about Neo-Traditional Decor & Design
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  1. I’ve only stumbled across this style after seeking many years for what encompasses all the things I love! It’s exciting and also frustrating because I’m having a hard time finding retail stores that offer especially upholstered furniture in this style, at least those that are more budget-friendly than bespoke, custom-made options. Do you have any suggestions?

    1. Hi Sophia! It’s not a very common decorative style, but I’m so glad you like it! I’m not aware of any retail stores that specialize in this type of interior design. I think it’s a bit high end and so professional interior designers create the look for their clients. That being said, I would recommend checking out Wayfair if you can describe what you’re looking for. They have products in just about every style imaginable! :)

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