What Does a Transitional Home Look Like?

If you've ever watched a decorating show or read a blog about interior design, you've probably heard the term "transitional design." It sounds nice, but it might have you wondering what exactly does it mean? Check out this simple guide for a better understanding of the basics of transitional style and how to pull it off in your own home.

What is the Definition of Transitional Style?

Simply put, transitional decor merges contemporary and traditional design to build a look that's sophisticated without being stuffy. This approach is a great choice for people who want their homes to have a personalized feel. Any two transitional homes will look totally different, as the key to this style is combining the facets of old and new that appeal to you.

While the end result should seem natural and effortless, this style does have some common guidelines. Here are the most important elements to consider:

  • Subdued Colors - Neutral hues are key. Beige, cream, soft gray, and other calming shades work well with this style of decor.

  • Simple Design - Avoid piling up too many accessories. Less is more, and each piece ought to be impactful.

  • Visual Variety - Transitional furniture mixes shapes. 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 adds visual appeal.

  • Minimal Layouts - Embrace open floor plans and keep clutter to a minimum.

Transitional decor finds a way to tap into what's current while keeping the classic design features you love. Often furniture features traditional silhouettes without ornate embellishments for a more streamlined, less fussy look. It's an easy option to create a space that feels warm, welcoming, and timeless.

Transitional Living Room Set

Transitional living rooms combine old & new, focusing on subdued tones to make the home feel both appealing and comfortable to guests.

Pennington Sand Transitional Living Room Set

Mixing traditional living room table sets with contemporary furniture exemplifies the transitional decorating style.

Decorate with Transitional Style

This versatile aesthetic lends itself to every area of your home. Below are some suggestions for how to achieve transitional design room by room.

Transitional Living Room

Choose transitional furniture that is elegant yet comfortable. As the focus of most living room layouts, a sofa is the best place to start. Select a couch in a subdued color, like beige or ivory. Go with seats featuring streamlined silhouettes for a sleek appearance. Overstuffed cushions and tailored linen slipcovers add an extra level of coziness.

For coffee tables and end tables, maintain a well-edited feel with coordinating pieces in similar hues and shapes. Play off classic seating with the modern flair of round glass tops and dark wood finishes, or complement an angular, modern couch with a curvy, traditional coffee table. When in doubt, browse table collections and save when buying a whole set.

Here are some examples of transitional furniture styles for living rooms:

Transitional Dining Room

Naturally serene and straightforward, transitional design makes a flawless choice for dining rooms. Create a little contrast by placing a structural, rectangular table alongside upholstered side chairs with curved backs. Limit the number of additional furnishings to a few essentials, like credenzas or cabinets, to maintain an open floor plan.

You can take advantage of transitional decor to enhance dining rooms as well. A chandelier with wrought iron framework in a geometric shape strikes the perfect balance between old and new. Floor-to-ceiling curtains with a contemporary print are also a lovely detail.

Take a look at some additional pieces to complement transitional design styles for the dining room:

San Luis Oak Transitional Dining Room

A sturdy, rectangular table pairs well with upholstered bar-height chairs and neutral rug to make the perfect transitional dining room set.

Transitional Bedroom Set

An upholstered headboard is the centerpiece of your transitional bedroom. Add in some pops of color with your bedding for a modern twist.

Transitional Bedroom

The soothing tones and overall unfussy quality of transitional furniture offers a natural fit for bedrooms. Button tufting or nailhead trim on the headboard make a gorgeous traditional focal point, while charcoal or linen upholstery introduces a modern touch. Incorporate duvets and decorative pillows for a cozy, curated look.

Adequate and attractive storage is also important for the clean, orderly effect of transitional style. Consider dressers and nightstands in clean, neutral finishes, such as oak or ivory, with simple or embedded drawer pulls. Add an upholstered armchair in a contrasting hue for extra comfort and softness.

Take transitional interior design in the bedroom to the next level with some of these essential furniture pieces:

Transitional Decor

Although transitional decor should be minimal, there is still room for finishing touches. A statement piece, like a dramatic light fixture or a large rug with an intricate pattern, can help to merge the traditional and contemporary elements of your space. An oversized mirror is another option to add dimension to a room while sticking to a neutral color scheme.

Give new life to your entire home with these great pieces of transitional home decor:

Transitional Chandelier

A chandelier lights up your dining space, adding to your transitional home decor.

Transitional Rug

A modern rug in soft tones of gray and white tie the transitional design of an entire room together with ease.

Curated Collections

If you're unsure how to make pairings that establish a chic and balanced vibe, shop sets to simplify the decorating process. Rooms To Go offers carefully coordinated transitional furniture collections, so you can outfit a whole room with confidence and spend less in the process. Your home will be flawlessly elegant before you know it.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, every transitional-style home is different depending on the decorator. The key is taking your favorite components from traditional and contemporary designs and making something cohesive and unique. Mix and match textures, materials, and subtle shades to create a harmonious look that's all your own.