Transitional Style Interior Design that will Fit in Your Home

Transitional style interior design in dining room with board and batten walls

If you’re caught in a web where you want the interior of your home to be more contemporary but fear that by embracing the latest design elements, your home will be sterile, you might move toward a design that focuses on livability or a homier feel. However, if you go over the top with creating a homey atmosphere, you quickly over personalize your interiors and it begins to look more like the gift shop of a Cracker Barrel restaurant. This is where transitional design elements come into play, creating a feel that is contemporary and homey without looking like a stereotypical grandparent’s home.

What Is transitional design?

Simply put, transitional design is a style that embraces the traditional, modern and contemporary elements of design, yet also embraces comfort. For some, it’s no more than an updated classic design, as it represents the middle area of traditional and contemporary elements. Others see transitional design as drawing elements from shabby chic (often includes distressed furnishings that offer an advanced age appearance for a specific aesthetic), modern and rustic.

The typical characteristics of transitional interior

To achieve a transitional design appearance, designers will incorporate neutral colors, minimal accessories, simple lines, relatively few curves, mirrors, metallic furnishings, feminine and masculine elements in the same spaces, mixed textures, few or no bold accents, rugs that fit firmly under the definition of contemporary, an understated homey ambiance and wood furniture that has a mix of straight and curved lines.

Furniture and decor

Finding couches, chairs, tables and chaises with curved and straight lines is a must for a transitional design. This is how you can incorporate feminine and masculine attributes in one area, balancing them perfectly while avoiding any need for ornamentation. It is simple, but at the same time, it’s sophisticated.

While wood furniture with warm browns and chocolate tones are common in transitional design, furniture with fabric is almost always in beige or tan – as long as the muted palette rule is followed, you’ll be okay.

Colors and accessories

As we’ve laid out already, transitional design involves a muted color palette, so if bold and brash are your thing, transitional design will be difficult to sell you on. We’re talking about vanilla, beige, tan and taupe. Ivory, white and khaki are also part of this muted palette that should be chosen as the tint for your paint, the color of your rugs, furniture and curtains.

When darker colors are brought in, they are often wood tones or warm browns and chocolate browns. A mixture of muted colors and darker tones can be represented in a couch that has dark legs and beige fabrics.

Pillows are in no short supply for a transitional design, as they are one of the most popular accessories in living rooms, entertainment rooms and bedrooms. However, it’s important to note that accessorizing is not a popular element in transitional design, so aside from the pillows, keep accessories to a minimum.

Lighting wonder

Most designer who are working toward a transitional look will choose contemporary lighting. In fact, they’ll let lighting lead the way if they’re moving a home’s interior from traditional to transitional, choosing fixtures that are more prominent, such as a contemporary chandelier or a molecular light.

Another option is to go middle of the road with lighting by choosing fixtures that embrace traditional and contemporary elements. These will be fixtures with clean, uncomplicated lines and little to no ornamentation. Think monochromatic in color and warm traditional tones. Fabric finishes are also a popular option with transitional lighting.

What makes transitional different than traditional?

Traditional design elements do not include any contemporary elements. Traditional spaces are often crafted with 18th and 19th century European countryside home details. Transitional, however, will incorporate contemporary elements to achieve a more modern look, but without sacrificing a homier atmosphere that a traditional design achieves.

How to create a transitional style in your home spaces

To get a better idea of how you can embrace the transitional design elements in your home, let’s break it down by room and talk about a few elements in each that can get you comfortably into this popular home interior trends.

  • Living room

    The key to achieving the transitional look in your living room is to go as minimal as possible. You can keep traditional wainscoting and crown molding, but make sure it’s not too ornate – think smooth, clean lines.

    Remember to keep the accessories to a minimum, but to add a contemporary element, don’t be afraid to put up a piece of art that adds a pop of color to your otherwise muted tones throughout the living room.

    If your living room embraces a more contemporary style with two different lamps and two different styles of end tables that anchor your couch, try moving to a style where each element is an exact match with the other. That will move you into a more transitional feel.

  • Dining room

    The living room might call for more uniform tables and lamps, but in the dining room, mix it up with mix-matched furniture. For example, you can take chairs from the contemporary era and toss in a couple of chairs from the modern era around the dining table.

    Speaking of mixing and matching, you can go shabby chic by utilizing a rustic and weathered dining table to fully take on the transitional aesthetic. Rather than leave the tabletop bare, many designers will utilize candle-lit fixtures, usually with metallic accents, or you can utilize glass and use white, ivory, beige or some other muted color candle.

  • Bedroom

    If you’ve already developed a scheme for your living room and dining room, borrow from it to form the base of your bedroom. This includes your choice of color in fabrics, from your rugs/carpet to your curtains to your sheets and comforter. However, don’t be afraid to break uniformity in the colors you choose for your curtains – mix and match as you please.

    Crown molding with subtle features is recommended in rooms that need a little bit of extra oomph. You can explore mixing masculine and feminine features in the bedroom, such as an upholstered headboard that has curves in it. Use metal bedside lamps atop contemporary side tables.

  • Kitchen

    Most kitchens are equipped with fairly traditional cabinets, which means all you have to do is follow the muted color rule if you’re going to paint them, and bring in contemporary pendent lights over your kitchen island or countertops.

    If you’re itching to get rid of your granite countertops, now is the time – replace the granite with stainless steel for a more contemporary touch. You can mix it up by replacing your kitchen island with something rustic, perhaps even shabby chic, as mixing natural and manufactured elements is a tenet of transitional design.

  • Bathroom

    Focus on rounded, subtly accented fixtures, which includes your shower hardware, faucets, towel bar, etc. Light blue, beige and gray are all extremely popular colors for the transitional bathroom. Marble is a go-to material for flooring and counters, though you’ll want to consider natural wood and muted colored tiles in the mix as well.

    Keep your cabinets streamlined and in the classic style. Depending on how many contemporary elements you’ve already brought in, consider ultra-artsy sinks, bathtubs and showers to fully embrace the transitional feel.

  • Basement

    Will your basement be a game room or an entertainment hot spot where the family and friends gather for movies? Or, will it be an office space? Choose your flooring first to fit the use, and then design everything around solid base. Obviously, you can choose natural wood, tile or carpet that follows the muted color rule.

    Don’t go overboard with the bric-a-brac – keep the accessories to a minimum, and this might include hiding entertainment hardware, such as cable boxes, streaming devices and speakers hidden. If you’re going to be doing a lot of lounging in the basement, choose comfortable couches and chair, perhaps even recliners, but don’t be afraid to mix and match from different eras.

Get expert advice on transitional decor to help create your own home

At New Concept 180, we’ve assisted many homeowners in designing their interiors to fit the transitional aesthetic. Our designers have a tremendous amount of experience working with transitional elements in every room, so we’ve got many great ideas to pass along. Furthermore, our design team works directly with our build team, which means your home improvement project will go off without a hitch.

Contact us and let’s talk about how we can turn your home into a model of transitional design.

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