Trying to nail down your particular design style can be challenging. Sometimes it’s hard to put a name to it. I don’t know about you, but I find myself liking a lot of different styles.
I am currently working on designing our new home and it is hard to design for yourself! I finally understand what my clients must feel like! It’s so easy for me to walk into someone else’s home and know exactly what to do but when it comes to my own home I was struggling there for a minute.
I like my home to feel warm, inviting and relaxed. I like traditional rounded arm furniture but I also love the look of modern, clean lines. What’s a girl to do? Thankfully, there’s transitional design!
Transitional design style is a happy medium between traditional and contemporary style. I like to refer to it as a little bit rock-n-roll and a little bit country. It’s a great way to take traditional elements like wainscoting and combine with modern clean lined furniture. It’s become extremely popular among the millennial generation, and for good reason.
Transitional style marries classic traditional lines with more modern appearing furniture. It’s different from eclectic design in that there is not a lot of “stuff” in the room.
The accessories are kept to a minimum and the color palette is generally neutral with a pop of color mixed in here and there. Transitional style has actually been around since the 1950’s and started as a response to the mid century modern style that was so popular back then.
Today’s transitional style homes focus on comfort and a luxurious feel. Transitional style is an elegant and timeless design style that combines new and old and will always be in style!
As with every design style, there are going to be some challenges. In transitional style, scale is key. Keeping everything around the same size is important as well as remembering not to have too much color or too many patterns.
To be successful with transitional design, you need to combine a mix of modern and traditional elements in the space. Here are my five tips to help you achieve this look:
The color palette you choose should take a backdrop allowing the lines of the furniture to take center stage. Think white, grey, or sand. These colors keep things light and airy. You can also add in darker colors like Navy, black and charcoal as well. Also keep the flooring either a light or medium brown. Below is a photo of my favorite Benjamin Moore neutral paint colors that you can use in your home.
Metal, wood, glass, and fabric. Metallic accents are a great way to add that luxurious feel to your transitional home. Gold, polished silver, copper, and bronze can be incorporated into your space through hardware, lighting and accessories.
Adding wood finishes is an easy way to add a traditional element to your home. Wood kitchen islands or dining room tables are an easy way to incorporate this texture into your home. You can add a piece that’s a family heirloom or one that you found at an antique store.
Mirrored surfaces are another great way to add a luxurious feeling to your home. Think mirrored coffee table or decor pieces.
Add pieces that have meaning to you rather than just buying a bunch of random stuff at Home Goods. Your accessories are there just to help you finish the space off. The furniture and any natural elements you incorporated into the space should shine.
Accessories are a great way to add some color the space. Color just helps a space to feel more alive. I always recommend picking one main color-let’s say blue and then add in a second complementary color like orange.
Area rugs are another integral part of a transitional home. They offer a luxurious feeling under your feet and can add color and texture to a room.
The accessories pictured above are styled using a symmetrical design pattern by flanking the artwork with two identical lamps on either side. To learn more about how to use symmetrical design to style your mantle or bookcase you can check out this blog post here. Repeating the blue and yellow color in the artwork helps to tie in the colors from the kitchen and dining room.
Take a minimalist approach to artwork and use is sparingly! Look for pieces that are impactful and fit the space. Think one large piece instead of a bunch of smaller pieces hung next to each other. You can also use the artwork to create a focal point in the room.
I love lighting. It’s like the jewelry on a good outfit. It can showcase your personality and add a little sparkle to your space. Don’t be afraid to mix up the finishes either. Good transitional lighting blend modern elements like exposed lightbulbs with traditional structure. In the photo below, I have mixed chrome fixtures over the island with a gold one in the dining room. Your are basically just repeating colors to create a cohesive design scheme.
Now that you know what transitional style is, let’s take a look at how we can incorporate this style into different areas of your house.
If your cabinets are shaker style, then they are traditional. If you don’t want to replace them, you can update them by painting them. In this kitchen, I used Benjamin Moore’s color of the year-Aegean Teal.
If you want to keep your cabinets white, think about adding a wood island or wood open shelves. It’s a great way to add some warmth and texture to your kitchen. You can also use stone like I did here. They make large format porcelain tiles now that looks just like marble. Add a warm butcher block countertop and you are good to go!
You can bring modern elements in by choosing modern pendants for over an island. Updating hardware on the cabinets is another great way to update your kitchen. Look for gold, silver, or black hardware.
In your dining room or eat in kitchen: Using a more modern dining room table and chairs like I did here is a great way to incorporate some modern elements into your space.
The chandelier is a great mix between the two styles and the gold finishes coordinates with the gold fixtures in the kitchen. Wallpaper is believed to be a traditional element but adding it in this fun, geometric pattern in a neutral color is a great way to add some texture and dimension to the space.
Use furniture with traditional lines and a modern appeal. The Kravet couches here feature clean lines, incorporates wood finishing detail, and has a nice neutral fabric on it. The orange pillows add my third color for the space and are a nice compliment to the green and blue pattern on these custom pillows. The orange pillows bring in a bold palm leaf pattern as well. Feel free to go crazy with pillows and don’t be afraid to mix in patterns.
The coffee table has a modern geometric pattern and works well with the wallpaper. I repeated the Aegean Teal color in the TV console.
The console table has a scaled texture with modern clean lines. Notice there is only one painting above and the two lamps on either side creating a symmetrical pattern. The accessories have been kept to a minimum and they really allow the furniture and artwork pieces to shine.
Also keep in mind that any drapery you may need for the space should maintain the traditional style, in a neutral color. You can add a modern touch to them through the hardware and if you feel like the room could use some more pattern.
Keep the headboard traditional with a more modern color. Here i used a tufted headboard with black trim and white fabric.
The end tables are black and modern and the pendants are a modern color with a traditional design. I’m repeating the geometric pattern on the walls but in a bold green color while the curtains pick up the same green but are a traditional curtain style.
Don’t forget the area rug! No one wants to wake up to a cold floor under the feet in the morning. Make sure the rug is large enough for the space. You can read more about how to choose a correct area rug HERE.
To achieve the Transitional style in this guest bedroom/office, I kept the lines of the furniture clean and brought in more traditional elements like wallpaper.
These days we probably have at least one room in our house that’s doing double duty. I’ve always hated having a full guest bed that only got used once or twice a year and was taking up valuable real estate.
I recently discovered Resource Furniture and I LOVE their Murphy beds. It serves as a couch for you to hang out on when not in use and then when you are ready for guest to come over you just pull on the shelf and the whole thing just fold down. It’s like magic. You don’t even have to take the accessories off the shelf! I love it when a product makes my life easy!
I am a firm believer that an entryway sets the tone for your entire house so it’s important to make a good first impression! Mixing wood, metals and colors let’s visitors know that this is a house with style! I also like that you can see straight to the back of the house and that the same color palette continues through out.
There you have it! My best tips on how to achieve the transitional design style. I hope these helped clarify what transitional style is and how you can incorporate it into your home. If you’re still feeling a little overwhelmed on how to incorporate this style, I can help you. Check out our different design packages HERE. I realize not everyone has an “eye” for design and we all need a little help sometimes! Let me know in the comments below if there are any other burning design questions you want answered. I am here for you :)