What Is Transitional Design? (It’s the Perfect Middle Ground)

I hope you like the products I recommend. Just so you are aware, Freshome may collect a share of sales from the links on this page.

It’s a common design conundrum: For some of us, ultra-modern looks feel uncomfortable. They’re too stark and sleek to feel homey. Yet, if we focus solely on livability over style, we can end up with a room that feels like it belongs in grandma’s house. It’s easy to find yourself searching for a viable middle ground.

If you’re one of those people, we have your answer. It’s transitional design. This style embraces comfort with a modern twist. Below, we’ve outlined why it works and how to pull off the look in your own interiors. With these tips, you should be able to solve the comfort vs. style debate once and for all.


What is transitional design?

As the name probably suggests, transitional design came about by combining two opposite styles. It’s sometimes referred to as “an updated take on the classics” because it acts as a middle ground between the best elements of traditional and contemporary looks.

On the one hand, you have the warmth, comfort and balance that comes from a traditional aesthetic. Rather than being bogged down by the ornate details that can sometimes make traditional spaces feel outdated, transitional looks borrow the clean lines and simplistic nature that defines contemporary design. At it’s best, this style feels timeless with a modern twist.

soothing colors

Shop a similar look: Armchairs | Bench | Rug

Use soothing colors

The key words to keep in mind when dealing with a transitional style are “clean” and “serene.” Here, your goal should be to create a room that feels like an oasis, a respite from the hectic nature of everyday life. Selecting a calming color palette should be your first step.

As usual, you want to start with a neutral base. However, opt for subdued shades this time. Choose soft grays over harsh blacks and warm tans rather than harsher, deep browns. In fact, don’t be afraid to mix and match. If you’re a fan of neutral shades, go ahead and use them for both your dominant and secondary colors.

When you do add pops of color, make sure they drive home that serene feeling. Blues, in particular, are a great option because color psychology has shown they have calming connotations. Softer shades of greens and purples also work nicely.

strong furniture

Shop a similar look: Coffee Table | Lamp | Vase

Choose comfortable furniture

In transitional design, furniture truly takes center stage. These pieces are often larger and take up a commanding presence in the room. Ideally, they form the basis of your design and the rest of the room is built around them.

As far as what you’re looking for, concentrate on pieces that exemplify the clean lines found in contemporary design. They should also be plush enough to make the room feel cozy and welcoming.

Once you have the furniture in hand, focus on placement. Create lots of groupings like the one shown above to ground the space and facilitate conversation. Then, leave lots of negative space in the surrounding area so your pieces become the room’s focal point.

purposeful accessories

Shop a similar look: Chair | Orb Sculpture | Vases

Pick accessories carefully

Since a lot of transitional design is so neutral and a key part of the look is keeping things simple, the accessories you choose will need to pack a punch. They need to be bold enough to create visual interest in the space without distracting from its overall feel.

Items that promote comfort are an obvious choice. Think about using lots of area rugs, throw pillows and blankets. Bonus points if these items include a bold pattern that still fits within your neutral and clean color scheme.

As far as décor items are concerned, it’s really up to you. Try to stick to pieces that have those trademark clean lines from contemporary styles. This helps drive home the room’s modern edge and keeps it from feeling out of touch.

transitional design

Shop a similar look: Chandelier | Table | Chairs

Transitional design is an example of timeless style at its best. It combines the comfort and lived-in feel of traditional styles with just a touch of modern, contemporary flair. If you’ve been searching for an aesthetic middle ground, this post is for you. Keep our tips in your back pocket so when it’s time for your next redesign, you’ll find your ideal style.

What do you think of transitional design? Will you be bringing it into your own interiors? Tell us in the comments below.

For More Information About This Blog, Click Here!


2 thoughts on “What Is Transitional Design? (It’s the Perfect Middle Ground)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.