What is transitional style?

transitional style

When it comes to interior design, some people are simultaneously drawn to traditional, ornate lines and sleek, contemporary shapes. They seem to bridge the gap between the old and the new, with neither style completely winning the day. There is a middle ground that is able to satisfy both the classicist and modernist elements within such people. Transitional style is a design hybrid that combines traditional themes and forms with newer, more minimalist choices, resulting in a sophisticated and timeless collection of textures, hues and materials.

Furniture serves as the foundation for any interior theme and can play an important role in creating a transitional style living space. Transitional furniture features both curved lines and streamlined finishes that reinforce the style’s commitment to old and new. While these pieces usually lack the intricate details of truly traditional pieces, their forms unmistakably echo classic themes. The main pieces often found in transitional style interiors are generally substantial in size, but are meant to be comfortable and inviting.

The color scheme of a typical transitional room leans heavily toward neutral base tones. The vibrant, saturated colors that characterize other design schools are largely absent. Ivory, beige, and myriad variations of similar hues often combine with deeper browns to create a straightforward tableau. The simplicity and tonal quality of the colors often used in transitional spaces allows the focus to shift to the different textures and materials used for upholstery, draperies, rugs and other textiles. Natural materials such as leather, suede and cotton are among the staples of transitional design and are used to their best sensory advantage.

transitional style

Transitional style rooms feature artwork and accessories of a distinctly eclectic, yet deliberate nature. Careful editing of selected pieces should result in a streamlined, uncluttered feel. Small collections or groupings of items often serve as points of contrast to particularly significant pieces of furniture in the room. Such accessory pieces make purposeful use of texture, scale and sheen to complement the neutral yet nuanced decor.

The shapes, colors and textures most characteristic of transitional style embody some of the most popular elements of both traditional and contemporary design aesthetics. By combining some of the most timeless visual themes with the sleek lines and textures of more modern products, transitional style is essentially an updated version of classic design. It is this combination of seemingly dissonant perspectives that has given transitional decor its wide popularity.