What Is Transitional Design?

Many of us who follow design trends have heard the term transitional applied to architecture and interior design. What exactly is transitional design? It is a term used to describe spaces and structures that incorporate both traditional forms and styles but also take some elements from modernism as well as contemporary design.

The goal of transitional design is to bring together the classic values of traditional design, its well-worn comfortable layouts, and shapes, with newer styles that feel fresh and exciting.

When it comes to interiors transitional design incorporates antiques, mid-century modern pieces as well as the ever-popular clean lines of contemporary pieces. Transitional design gives people the freedom to pick and choose the looks they like and curate their spaces accordingly.  It is very handy when trying to incorporate hand-me-down family pieces that may have sentimental value alongside your love for the clean-lined, comfortable pieces that accommodate comfort and beauty.

Transitional design in architecture refers to the practice of using traditional forms and materials to design and build a house that is referential to the past but use these forms and materials in new ways. For example, homes with traditional neoclassical elements such as columns or a traditional farmhouse with the gabled roof can be given a more transitional style by using more modern windows that will enhance the architecture and give a modern open feel.

Another example of architecture becoming more transitional is the pairing down of the materials and elaborate details of a more traditional façade and by using neutral tonal colors, natural woods, brick and stone, to elevate the traditional bone structure which will ultimately give the home a touch of modern minimalism that will balance the traditional forms.

Transitional interior design tips:

  1. Make sure each room in your home incorporates an antique or another piece of unique or authentic furniture, such as a collectible or designer piece. It will lend weight and gravity to the room.
  2. Bring a sense of levity or humor to each room with a light-feeling accent, such as children’s art, an inexpensive outdoor piece or a modern piece with vibrant color.
  3. Make sure each room provides comfortable furniture that services a contemporary family such as a deep sofa or relaxing chair.
  4. Neutral or tonal color schemes to give a clean, modern feel that will mesh well with the traditional pieces you have selected.
  5. Make sure each room also has a piece or two that elevates the room…something that is clearly a special and likely splurgy piece. Lighting is a good way to invest in a room to elevate the overall look.
  6. Finally, edit and balance the pieces you choose so your result is a curated, not cluttered or chaotic look. As you walk through each room, your transitional house should have a balanced rhythm with the colors and pieces in each room.

Recommended Posts