Old Money Interior Design: Timeless Elegance Unveiled

This picture of a light-flooded white room is a perfect example of old money interior design.

Old money interior design: Few things tell you as much about a person as their style and interior design. So how does quiet wealth design their homes to be cozy and elegant?

As a general rule, old money interior design is a combination of antique furniture combined with modern elements. The use of high-quality natural materials like wood or leather as well as handcrafted elements, lots of natural lighting, and clean lines are core features of old money interior design.

This article will give you a comprehensive view of what old money décor and interior design are and how they compares to the new money trend. Also, we will look at specific elements and influences as well as prominent examples to see how quiet wealth lives.

If you want to know how to style a kitchen similar to the living room, check out my article about old money kitchen ideas.

Old money interior design explained shortly

Old money by definition describes families or people that inherited lots of money over the course of many generations. This and their way of living can be seen in their houses and interior design. 

With lots of space, typically a huge staircase, lots of natural lighting, and antique but cozy furniture, old money knows how to live comfortably and elegantly at the same time. 

For more information, on how old money houses look from the outside, check out my article about old money houses.

This picture shows the side view of Villa Balbianello, located at Lake Como.

Old Money vs. New Money Décor

Another contemporary trend is “new money,” which differs significantly from “old money” in more ways than just wealth. Therefore, let’s take a brief look at a comparison between the interior design styles of old money and new money.

Old money interior designNew money interior design
Historical-inspired designs      Modern, trendy designs
Includes natural materials (wood, silk)Uses lots of synthetic materials (Laminate, Faux leather)
Mostly neutral color palette   Uses vibrant colors
Antique furnitureModern, technological furniture
Old money vs new money interior design

Core Elements of Old Money Interior Design

Now, let’s look at which essentials quiet wealth’s interior design lives by.

Neutral colors

As well as regarding its style, old money loves neutral colors. Therefore, they will keep their wallpapers and walls in general in a neutral color, mostly white. 

Surely quiet wealth doesn’t live in unicolored steril boxes. Other neutral colors as well as colorful accents keep old money houses pleasant for the eye.

Therefore, keep the walls and floors in neutral colors and experiment with different more vibrant colors regarding furniture and decor. E.g. choose white and blue striped bedsheets or curtains.

As with old money outfits, try mixing and matching shades and colors to determine the combination you like the most.

This picture shows leather couches and a fine table standing in a beautiful home. Looks like old money interior design to me.

Natural materials

Natural materials play a central role in the interior design of old money, not solely due to their luxurious appeal but primarily because of their superior quality, timeless charm, and innate beauty.

Whilst they may come at a higher price, pieces like a leather couch, a wooden floor, or some silk chair covers add an elegant touch to any interior. In modern times, old money may combine natural materials with synthetic products, but vintage old money households typically feature only natural materials.

Antique furniture

Old money households showcase furniture and artwork with a deep-seated family heritage and rich history, handed down through generations from their ancestors. These timeless couches, curtains, carpets, or armchairs are not only very valuable but give off a great vintage feeling.

Also, they combine the other two essentials of natural materials and neutral coloring very well. Typically, you will find old money interior designs to include those timeless staples frequently.

Here, you can see old money and antique furniture. These tables and chairs look so lovely.

What Does Old Money Interior Design Look Like

But how do these features come into play; you might ask. Therefore, let’s look at some living examples.

Typical old money interior designs

Typical old money interior design elements will be of rather opulent and elegant nature whilst maintaining a timeless and natural touch.

Grand staircases: Grand staircases in the entry lobby exude a very luxurious vibe. Typically consisting of grand marmot tiles, wood, or natural stones, these staircases, that can often be spotted in movies like The Great Gatsby or the series The Denver Clan, show everyone that you possess quiet some wealth and are also pretty practical.

Lots of natural light and huge windows: Even the former generations understood how to make a room visually appealing and elegant at the same time. With huge windows allowing for lots of natural light to come in, they managed to counter the missing technological advantage of no LED lights or other modern stuff. Huge windows and lots of natural light are a symbol of wealth and old money. Also, some well-placed lamps and chandeliers give a room elegance and timelessness which is exactly what old money did to create a cozy aesthetic. Nowadays, LEDs and other technological advantages can be found in old money homes too.

Beautiful chimneys: A common and, in my opinion, very beautiful thing that can often be found in old money homes, is a chimney. These elegant and timeless fireplaces not only make your rooms warm but also allow for a cozy atmosphere. Whilst they aren’t cheap at all, chimneys are a great part of Quiet Wealth’s interior design. Especially in a living room, they come to play a lot.

To get to know more about old money living rooms, check out my recent article here.

Real-life examples of old money interior designs

You will find real-life examples of old money interior design in lots of places. Especially stores and other places sponsored by old money brands and schools and libraries with an old money character will feature those design elements at most. Here are some:

The Arts Club: The Arts Club, located on Denver Street in downtown London, is a members-only club known for its exclusivity and great old money interior. You can find like-minded people as well as great ideas and theories in this exclusive club.

The Polo Bar: This unique and noble Restaurant by the designer Ralph Lauren himself is not only renowned for its dress code and fine private dining experience but also for its great old money interior design. Located in 55th St in New York City, this restaurant features incredible decor elements.

Yale University Library: The library of an old money Ivy League university typically comes with great interior design elements. So does the library of Yale University. With its high bookshelves and wooden interior, this place looks magical.

Old money furnishing and attention to detail

With all these examples of old money interior design in mind, let’s look at some actual pieces of furniture that will make great old money interior design.

Elegant couches: An elegant couch, mostly made out of leather or with silk covers.

Wooden dresser: A handmade wooden dresser, optimally covered with leather or silk on top.

Luxurious armchair: Opt for a wooden armchair with a silk or leather cover.

Elegant desk: Matching the armchair, a wooden desk with ornaments will look great.

Fireplace mantel: A fireplace mantel with stucco or ornaments will match a chimney perfectly.

Window sills: Marble, stone, or wooden window sills look a lot like old money.

Huge curtains: Huge and heavy curtains make a great figure with old money’s high ceilings.

Grand bed: Grand, wooden, and cozy beds make for an unbelievable atmosphere.

Luxurious carpets: Grand and elegant carpets with embroidery make great floorcovers.

Antique bookshelves: Books and their grand bookshelves are a crucial component of old money interior design.

Antique statues: Handmade statues of figures like Aristotle or Eros have a special place in old money homes.

Modern elements: May it be smart-home elements, glass tables, contemporary art, or minimalist designs, old money adapts to the modern world but manages to keep it elegantly.

Old money decor: The timeless way to decorate a home

After discussing all interior design elements, let’s take a quick look at old money decor. As old money interior design describes furnishing and the overall look of a room, old money decor includes sculptures, paintings, and many other things that add the final touch to a room. So, let’s make a quick list of old money decor elements you can add a final touch to your home with:

  • Fine Paintings
  • Sculptures
  • Books and Bookshelves
  • Wall Molding and paneling
  • Traditional rugs and carpets
  • Huge clocks
  • Linen and silk draperies
  • Porcelain and glass vases
  • Elegant candles
  • Instruments (Piano, Guitar)
  • Neutral-colored pillows and blankets
  • Floor lamps
  • Chess board

By adding those refined old money decor elements to your interior design, you will add a unique touch to your home. Also, you can add seasonal decorations for autumn or Christmas to transform your home into a cozy place.

Check out how old money decorates for Christmas here.

Old money interior design styles

Finally, we will take a short look at different styles of interior design old money uses. With this overview, you can create your own interior design to make your home timeless and elegant.

Neoclassical

Neoclassical old money interior design, originating in the late 18th century, draws inspiration from ancient Greek and Roman aesthetics. Its trademarks include grand symmetry, classical columns, elegant molding, and a focus on classical art and sculpture, creating a sense of timeless elegance.

Stucco, ornaments, and high ceilings are typical elements found in old money interior design.

French Chateau

Inspired by the opulent châteaux of France, this style features ornate moldings, lavish furnishings, and gilded details. Elaborate crystal chandeliers, parquet flooring, and exquisite tapestries are common elements you can find in old money’s interior design.

English country

Rooted in the charm of the English countryside, this old money interior design style is cozy and traditional. It features elements like floral patterns, rustic wood, cozy fireplaces, and a love for antiques.

Renaissance

Originating in the 14th to 17th centuries in Italy, Renaissance old money design embraces classical motifs, frescoes, and intricate details. Decorated ceilings, elaborate wall paneling, and decor like fine art or sculptures are typical elements you can find in old money homes.

Colonial

Inspired by early American settlers, Colonial old money interiors often feature warm, dark wood tones, brass accents, and handmade craftsmanship. Dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries, this darker style can look great in many homes.

Art Deco

Emerging in the 1920s, Art Deco old money interior design combines geometric patterns, bold colors, and sleek materials like glass and chrome. This vast opposite of the darker colonial style finds great use in more modern old money homes.

Final thoughts on old money interior design

Old money interior design is a timeless and elegant way to decorate and generally build your interior design. It works best in huge houses with an old money appeal but can also work in smaller buildings or apartments.

A little advice; I can give, is to never let the room be too dark. Especial dark woods can make a room look elegant but also way too dark and depressing if there is not as much natural light coming in. Sp, keep a balance between darker and lighter tones but opt for more lighter ones.

FAQ

How can I decorate my old money room?

Opt for high-quality materials, light colors, and timeless designs. An elegant armchair, some grand curtains, a nice carpet, as well as a beautiful ornamented wooden desk will make your room look old money easily.

What do old money homes look like?

Typically, old money homes consist of neutral-colored, high-quality interior design elements like grand staircases, elegant couches and armchairs, as well as timeless decors like statues or paintings. High ceilings and huge curtains covering big windows are also important aspects of an old money home.

What are the best old money interior design brands?

Ralph Laure Home, Farrow & Ball, and Scalamandré are arguably the best brands to shop old money interior design elements at.

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