Transitional Design

What is Transitional Design?

Transitional design is the marriage of contemporary and traditional design. In transitional homes, the design is often clean and refreshing, while still remaining warm and inviting. This style of home design is great for homeowners who appreciate classic elements of home building, like crown molding, but want a more modern effect.

transitional design

Tall, modern windows are complemented by the inviting velvet bed frame in this transitional bedroom. The nightstands are a more traditional shape but become modernized by their mirrored paneling. Image Source: Amy Elbaum Designs

The Details

Transitional color palates represent a clean and calming atmosphere. Picture cool blues, greys, and whites, accented by carefully picked accessories. Since the minimal color scheme allows for more freedom with fabrics and furniture, expect to see unconventional fabrics like corduroy, pliable leather, and chenille.

Furniture is often curvy and large in size, but not traditionally “grand” in it’s presence. With the lack of decoration in transitional homes, the spaces are free of distraction and have an open layout. Where lines in contemporary homes are often straight and stark, transitional homes have a bit more freedom of flow.

Transitional Design in Your Home

The most difficult aspect of achieving a transitional design is finding the right balance of classic and new. If you own a home with traditional elements such as interior columns and crown molding, a great way to modernize it is through neutral wall color, and contemporary furnishings—couches that are lower to the ground, square shaped tables, and textural details like steel or glass. You can also incorporate more traditional upholstery with modern furniture pieces, like dining room chairs. Here is a prime example of a transitional living room:

As for decorating, less is best. Choose one large statement art piece instead of mixing multiple smaller pieces. Use textural elements like reclaimed wood or metal to make your space more interesting, but stay away from kitschy décor or any anything that would crowd your space. Learn more at: