Transitional Style Guide
You’ve probably heard the term “transitional” in decorating shows or while shopping for furniture, but what does it actually mean? At its core, transitional interior design combines contemporary and classic decor elements to create a fresh, sophisticated look. With a little know-how and the right pieces, you can capture that chic transitional look in every room of your home.
In this article, we’ll teach you:
Transitional design merges contemporary and traditional styles for an updated twist on timeless decor. This approach to decorating is a great choice for people who want the freedom to create a personalized look. The best part is that you can pick and choose design elements that appeal to you, so your transitional style home is truly unique to you and your tastes.
In this transitional living room, contemporary and traditional elements blend together, creating a stylish, cohesive look. Notice how the sofa’s tapered legs and neutral upholstery lend the space a neat, chic appearance.
While the end result should seem natural and effortless, transitional design does have a few guidelines. Here are the most important elements to consider while decorating with transitional decor:
- Subdued Colors: Neutral hues are key. Beige, cream, soft gray and other calming shades work well with this style.
- Simple Design: Avoid piling on too many accessories or patterns. Less is more, so focus on creating an uncluttered design with subtle decorative touches.
- Visual Variety: Transitional furniture mixes shapes for a cohesive look. Break up straight profiles with a few curves for balance.
- Strong Textures: Since you’re working with a limited color palette, a variety of textures like mirrored accents, glass tabletops, wood finishes and upholstery adds visual appeal.
- Minimal Layouts: Embrace open floor plans and keep clutter to a minimum with furniture that’s both stylish and functional.
The effortless elegance of transitional design makes it a natural choice for every room in your home. Whether you’re completely redecorating your space or you want to add a few stylish pieces to your collection, transitional furniture and decor will help you create a chic, elevated look.
Your transitional living room furniture should be fashionable and comfortable. As the centerpiece of most dens and family rooms, the sofa is the best place to start. Balance is key when choosing larger pieces like seating, so if a couch has oversized cushions, opt for a subdued color, like beige or ivory. Alternatively, look for a sleek, low-profile sectional with classic details like nailhead trim.
When choosing coffee tables and end tables, feel free to play around with different shapes and materials. If the sofa has classic sloping curves, use a square coffee table to create some visual interest. Alternatively, modern glass top and dark wood tables take on a transitional vibe when paired with traditional living room sets.
If you want to incorporate transitional designs into your living room, first consider the furniture you already have. By evaluating your current layout, you can determine how much space you have to spare and what kind of pieces you may want to add or replace. Check out some of these options as you think about what you need for your room:
- Loveseats: Ideal for use in apartments as well as in large living rooms, loveseats work well on their own in smaller spaces or alongside coordinated seating sets.
- Sectionals and Sofas: Amp up the cozy factor in your den with a spacious transitional sofa or sectional set. Check out models with reclining seats and chaise lounges for premium comfort.
- Chairs: An accent chair is an instant classic for your living room. From power and pushback recliners to arm chairs, there are an array of options to suit your transitional interior design.
- Coffee Tables: Transitional coffee tables are a convenient way to keep your space organized and clutter-free. Look for pieces with built-in shelves for extra storage or a display area for photographs and decor.
- Console Table: A great way to maintain the streamlined, simple look of transitional design is to add a console table. These tall tables fit conveniently behind the sofa, providing extra space to set drinks, snacks or remotes.
- Ottomans: The ultimate living room multitasker, a transitional ottoman serves as a comfy footrest, extra seating or a spare table.
From quiet meals with the family to chic dinner parties with friends, transitional design is a smart choice for the dining room. A transitional dining table set blends the elegance of a formal layout with casual elements like bench seating. Alternatively, you can handpick tables, barstools, cabinets and credenzas to create your own unique spin on the design.
You can explore a world of possibilities when decorating a transitional dining room. If your current table looks more traditional, update it with a set of chic chairs. On the other hand, you can ground your contemporary sideboard with classic lighting, such as a crystal chandelier. It’s a good idea to consider all of your furniture options before making a final decision.
- Dining Tables: You can choose between rectangular or round transitional tables, depending on the space and your family’s needs. Warm, natural finishes like dark wood blend easily with most existing color palettes.
- Dining Chairs: Transitional dining chairs feature plush, padded seats and high backs, ensuring you and your loved ones can sit comfortably for many meals and hours of conversation.
- Dining Benches: For a functional and fashionable alternative to standard seating, try benches. These seats are great for everyday use, plus they provide ample room when you host guests.
- Servers & Buffets: Add some much-needed storage to your dining room with a sleek server. Look for models with built-in bottle holders to display your wine collection or transform your buffet into a home coffee bar.
- China Cabinets: A china cabinet with glass doors and mirrored shelves makes an elegant addition to your transitional dining room. Look for curios with dark cherry or gray finishes for the perfect blend of contemporary and classic elements.
The soothing, neutral hues and uncluttered quality of transitional design make it a natural choice for bedrooms. Transitional bedroom furniture featuring details like button tufting or nailhead trim add a hint of classic sophistication to the space. Meanwhile, clean lines and dark wood or gray finishes give the aesthetic a fresh, updated feel.
In addition to your bed, you’ll also need other bedroom essentials for storage and seating. Consider dressers and nightstands in clean, neutral finishes like oak or ivory to complement your king-size bed. If you have room, try adding a comfy settee or accent chair in a bolder hue like navy or burnt orange for a pop of color.
Decorating a transitional bedroom is simple thanks to the many available furniture options. Whether it’s your primary suite, a guest room or your teenager’s room, there are plenty of styles to choose from to help you bring your vision to life.
- Beds: For a transitional bed, look for upholstered frames that have classic and contemporary elements like diamond stitching and tapered legs. Panel beds and sleigh beds also have an elegant yet sleek appearance.
- Vanity: When you need a place to get ready in the morning, try bedroom decor like a simple ivory white vanity with a coordinating stool.
- Dressers & Chests: Maintaining a tidy space is important in transitional style, and dressers and chests make it easy to keep the clutter in check.
- Bedding: Look for bedding like sheets, quilts and comforter sets in soft shades like beige, tan, white or even light blue.
- Daybeds: A daybed is a stylish solution when decorating a small space in the transitional style. These pieces are also ideal for home offices that double as guest rooms.
Although transitional decor should be minimal, you can still add a few pieces for some personality. Try incorporating a dramatic light fixture or a large rug with an intricate pattern for a little decorative flair. An oversized mirror adds dimension to a room and amplifies the light, airy look of your transitional design. Give new life to your home with transitional decor such as:
- Accent Cabinets: A transitional accent cabinet in your entryway will help you stay organized and provides a spot to set down keys and mail.
- Wall Decor: Hang one or two large canvases above the sofa or use wall clocks as functional decor in your dining room.
- Accent Pillows: From your living room couch to the guest bedroom, accent pillows can make your transitional space feel soft and inviting.
- Accent Benches: Add seating to your mudroom with an accent bench. Models with built-in cubbies or shelves are great for storing shoes and outerwear.
- Decorative Accents: You can include decorative accents in your transitional decor such as small sculptures, statuettes and trays to put the finishing touch on your design.
Curated Collections for Transitional Decor
Unsure where to start in creating your transitional style home? Shop sets to simplify the decorating process. Carefully coordinated transitional furniture collections for bedrooms, living rooms and dining rooms make it easy to outfit a whole room with confidence and spend less in the process.