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Key Differences Between Traditional and Modern Home Decor

When you design—or redesign—the interior of your home, it’s wise to know a little bit about popular styles of decor and what they can do for your space. Do you prefer a cozy, homey style, or a sleek minimalist look?

Traditional and modern home decor are both smashing choices for interior design, and some folks even blend their favorite elements of the two! To understand these styles more, here are some key differences between the two.

Color Palettes

Traditional home decor is exemplified by warm, rich, and earthy colors. Fans of traditional interiors often emphasize natural wood colors instead of painting over them.

Meanwhile, modern interiors lean more heavily into clean white and monochrome palettes. White walls with black and silver accents are common in homes with a modern design.


If you wish to design your home in a traditional style, you will want to use the materials people have been using for thousands of years to build homes. Wood is one of the most common materials used in traditional home design, from floors to paneling to furniture.

The modern look, on the other hand, is all about what’s sleek and new. Think metal, glass, and marble in clean, neutral shades.

Form vs. Function

When you visit homes decorated in the traditional style, you’ll see a lot of decorative items that don’t serve a purpose beyond bringing beauty to the home. Traditional interior design incorporates plenty of details, patterns, and decorations meant to fill the space.

Modern decor, on the other hand, is still plenty aesthetic, but it prioritizes function over form. Decorations that are not useful are limited. Instead, modern style focuses on crafting a clean space that is beautiful in its simplicity and convenience.

Use of Space

Traditional homes often lean towards maximalism. Shelves and tables exhibit decorative pieces, walls sport lots of hanging wall art, and furniture placement creates a warm, inviting, and comfortable space.

Homes decorated with a more modern flair, however, tend to prioritize open space. It’s all about creating clean, open floors and walls, maximizing the existing space.

If you are decorating your home, think about the design principles that speak the most to you. Do you prefer muted colors or rich, earthy tones? Do you like plenty of cozy furniture or lots of wide open space? It’s your home—decorate it in a way that makes you happy! Knowing the key differences between modern and traditional decor will help you mix and match styles to create the perfect interior.

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