Interior Design Trends: American Traditional

Not to be confused with Early American, there’s a fresh design style sourced and built in the US that I collectively call American Traditional.

 American design is generally associated with the Early American style of décor, constructed using local materials and influenced by features and embellishments found on furnishings brought across the pond from the home countries of the first colonists. The styling was typically plain, simple, and functional. There was a heavy puritanical influence founded on bare necessity without undo ornamentation. 

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, American design lacked its own identity. Furnishings were eclectic European-based revivals. With the exception of a brief surge of midcentury design, designs of more recent decades were overshadowed by imports from overseas designers and manufacturers. America imported goods from the most remote corners of the world.

In the 21st century, interior architecture and design tastes and focus are returning to the US. An image of American design is currently developing its own unique identity created by designers with a young and fresh perspective. Emerging as American Traditional – a contemporary style that, while reflecting a great cross pollination of European, Russian, Asian, and South American influences, emphasizes Made In America. Inspiration comes from the diversity of what exists naturally throughout the country. Component materials are sourced in the US with an emphasis on sustainable, recyclable, and environmentally friendly qualities. 

Interior spaces have evolved as well as the furnishings within them. For example, open concept living/dining rooms have become the standard of construction. Open kitchens further extend interior space, often flowing to the outdoors, creating a seamless transition from indoors to out. The kitchen island  provides multiple functions as a surface for cooking, serving, and socializing.

Another American ‘tradition’ is the bathroom designed as a personal resort with a natural aesthetic. A spa-like look is inspired by nature, using neutral color palettes with materials in textured mirror, frosted glass, and architectural tile. Graceful freestanding tubs are taking center stage as giant spa tubs are losing ground. Aging baby boomers are thoughtfully placing built-in benches in showers.

Technology is playing a growing role not only in improved design and function, but there’s
an increased demand for state-of-the-art customization from appliances to audio visual equipment along with trendy and sophisticated looking installation. In one year I designed 5 custom wall systems that included TVs, AV components, improved storage, fireplaces, and even a hidden ironing board.

In addition to good looks, interiors are fresh with a focus on form and function. The prominent styles are spare but not stark. Furnishings have a more sculptural look and are warm, inviting, and comfortable. The emerging trends in design give a new and vibrant voice to Made in America. American Traditional is a classic style that’s here to stay.

Robin Lechner Designs is a full service interior design firm, serving South Florida, NYC, and the Hamptons for over 15 years. As Principal, my style is true collaboration, involving clients in every stage of a design scheme from inspiration through development, to placement of the final accessory.  I do so while maintaining a commitment to provide the highest level of personal service and attention. With my depth of experience, skills, and resources, you can feel confident that your project is in reliable and experienced hands.

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