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What is Transitional style?

In the world of interior and furniture design, the term ‘Transitional Style’ refers to a blend of eras –traditional, contemporary and modern. Therefore, incorporating an old traditional world with a modern one allowing a timeless, & classic aesthetic.

What does Transitional style mean?

The combining of curves with straight lines. Creating designs that balance both masculine and feminine attributes for a comfortable and relaxing style. A lack of ornamentation and decoration with minimal accessories keeps the focus on the simplicity and sophistication of the design. Color palettes are typically neutrals such as greige, beige or warm off whites, they may also be monochromatic.  Although accents are kept to a minimum, it is where carefully selected colors are often introduced. Large matted art, graceful orchids, wooden trays and similarly shaped objects accent the space, keeping to a comfortable yet minimal design.

Transitional style focuses on comfort and practicality, to meet the lifestyle of an active household. The scale of furniture pieces are ample but not overwhelming. Wood finishes are typically warmer tones but can range from a natural finish to a high-gloss lacquer. Texture is important, and fabric selections can vary from durable materials to sophisticated, plush fabrics, with tone-on-tone or small scale graphics. A balanced mix of several textures is often used.

What is the difference between Traditional and Transitional style?

A few of the main differences are: traditional style is more ornate. Kitchens will boast elaborate profiles on counter tops, ornamental moldings, classic (often dark) stained cabinetry, detailed craftsmanship & traditional lighting options. Living rooms often feel out dated, but also calm orderly and predictable. Furniture in bedrooms and family rooms are commonly found in sets that are comfortable and somewhat casual. Fabrics such as damask, florals, stripes and plaids adorn windows and walls. Crystal chandeliers both large and small would be lighting up dining rooms, entry ways and bedrooms.

While in comparison transitional style is simple, yet sophisticated. Kitchens have a bright relaxed feel. A key identifier in a transitional kitchen is the organization as this style relies heavily on storage to create clutter free spaces. Cabinetry maybe shaker, stained or painted and will blend in to the rest of the kitchen rather than standing out. Counter tops may feature both straight and rounded edge profiles. Look for lighting to be simple but made with metal, glass and natural products. Furniture in a transitional home is about freedom to experiment, mix, blend and have fun…..do what feels right!! Create spaces to evoke conversations with carefully selected, simple silhouettes balanced by abstract elements. Whimsical décor pieces help with orchestrating layers throughout the home. A key when furnishing with mismatched pieces is to keep the scale similar in order to maintain harmony in the design.

How to decorate in a transitional style?

Transitional design is – The best of both worlds, not to prim nor too stuffy! Here are a few pointers to help you with creating a transitional space.

  • Stick to muted neutral paint colors, off whites, greige, taupe. (Heavy colors are reserved for accent pieces)
  • Balanced layers of natural elements such as wood, glass, rattan, sisal, jute, leather and metals.
  • Pare down the use of accessories; simplify for a more streamlined look that does not confuse the eye.
  • Choose impactful art, but use it sparingly. In most cases, one large piece on the wall is better than an arrangement of small pieces.
  • Focus on comfort, especially when it comes the sofa and bed.

    At Jane Baker interiors we offer an Interior decorating consultation that is perfect for homeowners looking to get ideas on to how create a transitionally styled home.
    Just click on the image to be directed to our consultations page.  

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How to achieve a Cohesive Transitional look– Room by Room

  • Transitional Dining room: Use a modern dining table and chairs, but upholster the chairs in a traditional fabric. Alternatively, use traditional furnishings and offset them with modern lighting, such as steel pendants with exposed lightbulbs. Classic wood wainscoting can be another traditional feature in an otherwise contemporary dining space.
  • Transitional Bedroom: Use a tufted or curved headboard (a traditional element) with a steel-gray fabric (a more modern element). Or flank a traditional headboard with modern cube side tables and sleek metal lamps.
  • Transitional Kitchen: Paint the traditional cabinetry, replace hardware for a modern look. Replace some of the modern door panels with glass fronted ones. Consider adding contemporary pendant lights over the island, or steel countertops.
  • Transitional Bathroom:  A traditional claw foot tub (as a center piece) and pedestal sink will bring in the traditional elements. Install modern cabinetry and floor tiles in chevron/herringbone patterns to create balance.
  • Transitional Living room: Combine traditional architectural features such as trims and moldings with classic drapery, & textural plush sofas in neutral in colors. Introduce whimsical chairs, mismatched prints and expressive art of various scale and era. The key is to have each element be able to stand on its own but work beautifully with every other element in the space.

Transitional design must-haves are:

  • Warm neutral color scheme
  • Colorful accessories
  • Cushions galore
  • Metallic accents
  • Key statement pieces (of various eras)
  • Natural elements such as wood, glass, rattan, sisal, jute, leather and metals.
  • Warm lighting
  • Layering pieces to create balance
  • Large scale patterns
  • Bold furnishings with classic simple lines – not too many curves
  • Mirrored, glass, metallic furnishings and décor
  • Subdued patterns
  • Multiples species of wood and various tones
  • Painted cabinetry, dressers or night stands
  • Detailed millwork

We hope you enjoyed this blog, if you have any questions or would like to discuss and upcoming design or decorating project please reach out to us using our contact form located on our contact page.

Thank you for stopping by XO


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