Transitional Design: How You Can Pull It Off In Your Home

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The definition of transitional is moving from one place or thing to another. What does this mean in interior design? Interior designers use this term for a meshing of both traditional and modern elements in a room to result in a cohesive design. Knowing how to mix the two styles will help you to pull of this hot new decorating idea. Millennials enjoy this type of décor to venture out and create their own personal designs. You can marry curved furnishings with straight lined and lacquered finishes to create a space that is both feminine and masculine. This style is lightly adorned with accessories, a clean and not messy looking room with textures and neutral colors.

The Four Rules of Mixing

Combining modern and traditional items can be a challenge. There are lots of interpretations of this style, but the four rules of mixing can get you started on creating your own unique style. Keep your colors neutral to allow the furniture lines to be seen more than a bright color. Incorporate several textures into your space such as rattan, fabric, steel, wood, glass, lacquer and metal. Limit your use of accessories. Since you are adding details through mixing of your fabrics and furnishings, you don’t need many accessories to confuse people’s eyes. Choose artwork that has an impact, but use it sparingly. Usually, one large piece on a wall is much better than an arrangement in some shape of many small pieces.

Creating a Cohesive Transitional Style

It can be a challenge for a beginner to create a cohesive transitional style. Here are some examples of mixing your elements in your home room by room.

Dining Room

Use modern furnishing such as the dining room table and chairs, but upholster the chairs with a traditional fabric. You may turn this idea around and use traditional dining room sets and offset that look with modern lighting elements, such as steel pendant lights with exposed light bulbs. The addition of beautiful wood wainscoting can work for a traditional feature in a contemporary dining area.

Bed Room

Add a tufted, curved headboard to the bed as a traditional element with a steel gray fabric to make it more modern. You can keep a traditional headboard and alternately place modern styles of cube side tables on each side of the bed and incorporate sleek metal lamps.


If your kitchen cabinets are traditional and you like them, then leave them the same and add stronger modern accessories. You can add pendant lights over your kitchen island or replace the island with a lacquered one. Steel counter-tops add a contemporary appearance to a kitchen that would otherwise be considered traditional.


Mix and match glass, metal, ceramic and wood for a more modern appearance. If you have a traditional style tub like a claw foot tub, you can install a modern version of floor tiles or arrange traditional floor tiles underfoot in a chevron pattern.

Living Room

If you already have traditional features such as wooden trims and moldings, the addition of clean lined chairs and couches with warm fabrics in neutral colors can give you the transitional design. Transitional design can be achieved while bringing two opposite styles together into one cohesive room if it’s done properly. Since this décor is a bit challenging, you may want to enlist the services of a highly skilled interior designer.
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