Transitional Design: What It Is & Why We Love It
If you are feeling like you might have a bit of a split personality when it comes to interior design, you’re not alone. The transitional design style, which is when traditional and modern styles come together in one cohesive design is definitely trending. And while it might seem a bit daunting to try and successfully mesh these two distinctive and different styles, it is possible to create a transitional look you’ll love.
Break It Down
To be sure that transitional is the look you’re after it’s important to understand the basics of traditional and modern design on their own. This will not only help you determine how to update your home with transitional design ideas, but figure out which elements of each you want to consider.
Traditional Design Elements
- Think European: Probably one of the most important elements of traditional style is that it is inspired by 18th and 19th century décor. Antiques, classic art, books, and rich, dark colors are all important characteristics of the traditional design style. Full of order, charm, and eclectic pieces, traditional design creates a home that is cozy yet elegant all at the same time.
- Think Elegance: Heavy curtains, mirrors, sconces, large candle sticks, and gold or silver chandeliers are important elements. Furniture follows curved lines, velvet, decorative throw pillows, and is usually made of heavy woods such as mahogany or cherry.
- Think Dark: Colors are rich and dark––wood flooring, jewel tones in furniture, and metallics combine with neutral walls and accessories with floral patterns to provide warmth and a feeling of comfort.
Modern Design Elements
- Think New: Modern design style first appeared in homes in the 20th century, and has continued to grow. Considered more of a movement, modern design style also includes mid century modern and postmodern design styles.
- Think Simple: Modern design is based on the idea that “form follows function.” All elements are simple, designed for a specific purpose and are not ornate in any way. It’s a design style that is lacking anything extra or over-the-top. Furniture is low-profile and offers clean, straight lines.
- Think Natural: Featuring light, natural woods, neutral and earthy colors, and simple accessories without any unnecessary elements. There is an emphasis on the use of natural light with modern design, so window coverings may be minimal or not at all. You might also find reflective materials such as metals or glass used throughout a space.
Bring it Together
Now for the hard part––how to bring these two very different design styles together in a way that doesn’t make your home look like one big design mess. One of the best things about transitional design is it gives you the freedom to explore more ideas when decorating your home…the opportunities are truly endless. There’s a certain freedom that isn’t found in other styles and keeps things fresh…you’re not married to one design that may go out of style soon.
- Think Meshing: Remember, transitional design is all about bringing together modern and antique design elements. Open floor plans typically work well with transitional design as there is a continuous flow from room to room. You can use statement pieces of furniture and then add memorable touches such as bold walls or ceilings, elegant chandeliers, and simple, yet impactful art. When it comes to furniture, curves and straight lines work together in an elegant yet simple way. Remember to tone down the dramatic ornamentation found in traditional design furniture, instead focusing on modern furniture styles and then add touches of traditional style drama (velvet pillows, soft fur throws and textured rugs).
- Think Scale: Scale is very important in transitional design. Despite the differences in the two styles, your goal is to keep everything in the room the same height. Focusing on symmetry will help guide you as you make your selections. Color also plays into scale––a transitional palette relies on neutral colors for a more relaxed, peaceful environment. Once you create your neutral palette, add a punch of personality and color by using a few oversized, dramatic accessories, and some pops of darker colors such as brown and blues.
- Think Playful: The kitchen and bathrooms are areas where you can really create a fun mix of each style. Use frameless cabinets in neutral colors which are more modern in style, and then add color and some playful bar stools at the kitchen island. Mix antique lighting fixtures with sleek appliances and classic flooring to create a symmetrical look from top to bottom of the room. Maybe add a vintage breakfast table in the kitchen nook, or antique mirror above a modern bathroom vanity for a look that is fun, yet not over the top.