Transitional style is taking over interior design – top designers on 11 ways to capture the calm and collected look – LivingEtc

What is transitional design, to the uninitiated? If your preferred style is a little bit classic and contemporary all at once, you’re likely a fan of this unquestionably popular interior trend without even knowing it.

“Transitional design is about blending a traditional aesthetic with modernist sensibilities, ” says Los Angeles interior designer Stefani Stein. “Allowing the two styles in order to combine effortlessly is about balance. ”

Effortless will be the operative word: transition spaces tend to prioritize comfort. The typical palette is usually neutral plus light without much tension between contrasting styles; elements of traditional home design (like curvy furnishing) and contemporary design (like right angles) sit comfortably with one another (like the best of both worlds).  

The result is sophisticated and fresh – old soul with a youthful spine – and notably relaxed. “So many of our clients are drawn to this visual because, when it’s done well, it is comfortable, approachable, easily edited and updated over time, ” says Joe McGuier, a principal at Brooklyn’s JAM.

As far as styles go, transitional design is more relaxed than rigorous. But a few guiding principles will put you safely at home with this layered aesthetic.

1 . Embrace the neutral color scheme

(Image credit: W Design Collective)

Don’t expect any jolts associated with color – transitional interiors lean heavily on neutral color schemes . Softer hues like creams, whites, beiges, taupes are applied across furniture plus decor to create clean, relaxed, and gathered environments. This is where the approach is similar to minimalism .

“Keeping a neutral base lends to a softer feel and allows easy layers to be mixed in throughout, ” says Marianne Brown, owner and principal designer of Salt Lake City’s W Design Collective (opens in new tab) . “We often find a lot of organic textures and mixe

2 . Create visual interest along with mixed textures

Room by Betsy Brown Interior Style

(Image credit: Peter Vitale)

With so much talk of light and neutral palettes, you’d be right to worry regarding creating an altogether vanilla space. But one way to infuse visual interest while decorating with neutrals is to incorporate an array of texture: tactile materials in solid colors like boucle upholstery, linen drapes, or other soft accents (like the knitted throw or a velvet accent pillow).  

You can also apply this particular same concept with finishes, too, so long because they are subdued and varied. “Where materiality is concerned, variety is better, ” says Stefani Stein. “I gravitate towards woods within natural coatings, such as oak or walnut. Try mixing these components with marble and linen. Avoid using the same finish throughout; it can feel a bit one note. ”

3.   Pair two different styles of furniture together

(Image credit: Watts Design Collective)

The most basic formula for transitional design is simple: combine furnishings from 2 different eras. “If a person purchase a table that feels more traditional, find items with cleaner or more simplistic lines to pair with it, ” says Marianne Brown associated with Salt River City’s W Design Collective (opens in brand new tab) . “If you find the table that is all wood, find painted or upholstered dining chairs to set with this. ”

In the historic home above, mid-century dining chairs, colored black, bring a modernist accent that will balances out a hefty wood dining table with traditional rounded legs. It’s here you can see the particular similarities with the disciplines of the modern farmhouse movement. “Mixing contrasting pieces, traditional/vintage really feel with modern/clean lines, helped us achieve that balance without the space feeling too conventional on one hand, or too modern on the other, ” adds Brownish.  

4. Play with ranges and silhouettes

Room simply by Betsy Dark brown Interior Design

(Image credit: William Abranowicz)

To find the correct synergy between disparate styles, pay attention to outlines and silhouettes. “Transitional design is all about the particular seamless balance between the traditional and the contemporary, ” states Alicia Murphy, noting that ornate detailing found in classic design is definitely usually ‘cleaned up’ in transitional decorations.

This can be most pronounced in furnishing, as rounder shapes plus silhouettes found in conventional design (like turned hip and legs and arched backs) mingle with the clean lines of modern home furniture style (like crisp edges and simple shapes). Together, they soften plus straighten each other away, creating a warm and timeless look – it’s important to have a balance of each to create a seamless connection among both looks. A very calm take on eclectic style .  

5. Less is definitely more

(Image credit: Sam Frost)

We know what you’re thinking: combining several inside styles within one space sounds an awful lot like varied style. But if there’s 1 trick that will keeps transitional spaces in check, maintaining a certain level of minimalism offers the right balance. Think Scandinavian design as a person keep your decor spare provides a clean slate as you bridge the particular gap in between old plus new designs.  

“It is important not to over-accessorize with this appear, ” says interior designer Stefani Stein. “Thoughtful levels and a less-is-more approach is certainly best whenever thinking about pillows and accessories. ” 

6. A solid rug creates the soft plus balanced base

Design by Meg Lonergan

(Image credit score: Pär Bengtsson)

An easy way to anchor your area in a simple, solid palette is to zero in on items along with the most surface area – and there’s likely no bigger item in your room than a good area rug. “A darker solid colored rug always creates a great foundation, ” states Houston-based internal designer Meg Lonergan (opens in new tab) .

Covering your floor with a monochrome rug, or even the rug with a more subtle pattern, will give you a clean canvas for some other items, like in the bedroom above. “In this bed room we laid a charcoal mohair carpet down and layered it with a paler gray wool draperies, we stuck with the same colour family but different tones of the particular same color to produce harmony, ” says Lonergan, noting that a playful patterned pillow added just the correct amount of personality.

7. Create balance along with neutral classics 

(Image credit: Pär Bengtsson)

While you may pair accent pieces from different style eras, you can also reimagine timeless pieces with modern (read: neutral! ) upholstery plus finishes. “Classic pieces within neutrals are a great foundation with regard to transitional design” says Houston interior developer Meg Lonergan (opens in new tab) . In this way, natural finishes can simplify traditional details and silhouettes that otherwise might stick out there.  

Within the over living room , fairly neutral classics work together to form a subtle palette. “The flax linen slipcovered sofa along with clean straight lines as well as the lucite plus glass easy coffee table are classics that will certainly never date or proceed out associated with style, ” says Lonergan. “It’s easy to layer with colour and design on basic larger items. Pillows, lampshades, art and accessories are usually easy methods to change the look of a space. Invest in classics is the majority of important lesson! ”

8. Pick muted and demure hues

(Image credit: Mike Frost)

While we often see transition style interiors in neutral palettes, the gentle use of color goes a long way. “Colors can function nicely with transitional design – this isn’t simply about neutrals, ” states Stefani Stein. “However, the color palette should be tonal, moderate or a lot more subdued; avoid bright pops or overly cheerful shades. ”

When in doubt, Stein recommends sticking to subtle colors inspired by nature, like the ‘blue-grey’ of a foggy sky, or the ‘dusty green’ associated with garden herbs. “Using color in balance is furthermore important, ” adds Stein. “Ground any kind of colored moments with natural woods, plus earthy neutrals like oatmeal, camel or even tan. ”

9. Let a contemporary fixture gentle the way

Style by Alicia Murphy

(Image credit: Read McKendree)

Especially when designing a space along with historic architectural features (such an original fireplace , or classic millwork), you can appearance to contemporary fixtures to lighten the particular mood and decor.  

In the interior above, Amagansett-based indoor designer Alicia Murphy (opens within new tab) balanced out a Federal-style mantel plus table with a modern chandelier made by Apparatus. “I think this particular balance is best achieved when the lights possess modern forms but conventional materials – think clean lined sconces in Antiqued brass, ” says Murphy. “I usually think in order to myself – what would have been in this house historically and then how do I get that product and make it have thoroughly clean lines. ”

10. Think about your architecture, too

(Image credit: Gieves Anderson)

If your own home’s foundation layer leans classic (from exposed beams to traditional wood floors and crown molding) you have plenty of latitude to incorporate clean, modern detailing (from neutral coated millwork to furniture along with seriously sharp lines).  

The over modern kitchen , located within a reimagined farmhouse, contemporary lines stability out more the home’s historic bones. “With a project like this, we constantly start with proportions and materials that are rooted in conventional design and then coating in modern detailing having a restrained approach, ” says Joe McGuier of Brooklyn’s JAM. “We used richly textured hand-hewn beams, stone, and chevron floors in a traditional method, which allowed us to make the cabinetry plus detailing from the overall space crisp and minimal. ”

11. Avoid pieces which are too traditional or modern, period

(Image credit: Lucy Call)

Of course, while you may balance two pieces of decoration from extreme ends of the spectrum, it’s best to pick products with a lot more common ground. “I might steer clear of anything that leans so strongly into a specific style that it appears out of place paired with parts from other periods, ” states Martha Mulholland. “A greatly carved plus gilded rococo console may only mix well with a brightly colored Memphis Milano lamp at the hands of the seasoned decorator who has an adept ability to juxtapose periods. ” 

In the collected, easy going living room above, a range of styles share the same space without having getting singled out. “In this particular space all of us mixed traditional furniture along with clean lined transitional pieces, ” says Marianne Brown of W Design Collective. “We kept things balanced stylistically, which keeps the space from pulling too far a single way or the other. ”

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