What Is Transitional Interior Design?


Transitional interior design style has been one of the most popular styles for decades. Transitional styles are more collected and warmer than Mid-Century Modern spaces’ bare minimalism. They combine the traditional and the modern in an unconventional way that appears timeless.

We’re looking at the essentials and essence of the design style to have you started with confidence and get you inspired and on the way to creating an environment unique to you (part of the real pleasure of transitional interior design because no room will ever look alike). Are you ready to bask in the effortless chic of transitional fashion? Here’s how you can get it.

What Is Transitional Style?

Traditional interiors are not by chance at the very top of Americans’ interior design style preferences. The transitional style combines contemporary and traditional furniture, materials, finishes, and fabrics to create classic, timeless, and crowd-pleasing designs.

Furniture silhouettes in a transitional space offer straightforward sophistication: pieces with crisp lines and right angles coexist with more rounded profiles. The transitional palette’s elemental nature allows for a lot of fabric variety, and graphic patterns on overstuffed sofas look great with textured chenilles formed across sleek wood frames.

Origins of Transitional Design

Transitional design surfaced in the 1950s as homeowners and designers were disillusioned with modern design’s clean lines and stark minimalism. As a result, traditional styles were combined with contemporary design styles of the day.

The transitional style constantly evolves as design materials, elements, and aesthetics come and go. Transitional design’s ever-changing nature results in a style that feels both fresh and timeless.

Transitional Design Characteristics

a transitional interior designed living room with furniture and home decor

A few common characteristics define the transitional interior design.

Patterns and Accent Colors

Upholstery is an excellent way to incorporate pops of patterns and colors into a cohesive room design. Suede, corduroy, and chenille are common textiles employed in transitional design.

A Mix of New and Old Materials

You can find a cohesive blend of new and old materials in transitional homes. Antique wooden furniture blends in with modern glass and metal furnishings and home decor, so you must know how to look for quality wood furniture.

Neutral Colors

Interior designers use neutral colors like beige, white, taupe, and tan to create a transitional look. Transitional spaces benefit from using dark colors, such as dark brown.

Solitary Focal Point

Transitional design borrows from the modern style by emphasizing a room’s focal points in a minimalist manner. A central focal point, like a chandelier or coffee table, makes a room feel elegant and intimate.

Must-Haves in Transitional Interior Design for the Ideal Home

The transitional design style is achieved by seamlessly blending modern and traditional elements. While there are numerous interpretations of this style, here is a list that will assist you in achieving a well-blended transitional look.


Transitional furniture, like transitional home decorating, combines two distinct design styles. As a result, large pieces of traditional furniture are given a makeover to be more sophisticated and streamlined to match the sleek condition of the emerging trend. The primary distinction between traditional and transitional design is that transitional interiors incorporate traditional and contemporary elements.

Choose a Color Scheme That Is Neutral

The colors in a transitional home are similar to those in a traditional style: grey, sand, and white. Neutral colors contribute to the transitional interiors’ stately traditional side. Bold dark colors, such as charcoal, midnight blue, and black, are popular in more masculine transitional decorating styles.

Accessories in Bright Colors

Don’t be put off by traditional neutrals; you can still have pleasure with colorful accessories. For example, scatters, colorful curtains and décor pieces can add a splash of color.

Choose bedding with pops of color for a transitional bedroom. Also, if you have some wiggle room in your budget, you can reupholster a favorite piece of furniture in a bright color.


With contemporary lighting, you can light your way to a new interior. Lighting is an exciting way for homes to transition from the traditional to the transitional interior decor style.

Because lighting has a powerful impact on a space, fixtures have become more prominent as designers push the envelope. So, for a fantastic focal point, add a molecular light or an inspiring contemporary chandelier.

Lots of Cushions

Cushions in the tens are another wonderful transitional decorating style must-have! A transitional living room design looks great with many cushions in true maximalist style.

Likewise, scatter cushions with a modern print or pattern can liven up transitional home decor. Don’t throw the scatters just yet!

Metallic Details

Metallic elements are popular in contemporary homes because they blend in with all home decor. Use bronze, gold, or copper in lighting, side tables, and accessories, for example. Select a single metal finish or mix metals for a trendy contemporary look.

Adding a Carpet for Texture

a close up of the details on a carpet

Rugs play an essential role in transitional interior design. They add color and anchor furniture in the room while providing luxury underfoot with comfy cut-pile area rugs. However, choosing rugs in neutral colors to complement the design of the room or adding pattern and texture with a  knotted or traditional woven carpet is preferable.

Classic Statement Piece

Look in the attic for a striking piece of traditional furniture or décor that can be the focal point of your transitional room. The item could be a dresser, table, mirror, or other from another era. Another way to draw attention to a new classic piece is to highlight its features through a layer of paint, reupholstering, or a coat of wax.

Tried-and-Trusted Woody Favorites

Wooden furniture has long been a staple of traditional homes. As a result, treasured ornate wood pieces are making a strong comeback, not just in transitional interiors. To celebrate the craftsmanship, include a grounding piece of furniture, such as a dresser, large wood dining table, or bookend.

Contemporary Art

Accents are important in transitional-style homes, and the details can transform an interior from contemporary to transitional or traditional to transitional. Make a statement with your favorite contemporary artwork. A minimalist approach is also recommended to avoid overdoing the look.

Transitional design is all about blending contrasting styles in a way that complements your personality—ideal for those who appreciate contemporary and traditional decor elements. You are not limited to one design style when using transitional design; you have the liberty to incorporate pieces from various design periods to produce an interior design that is truly unique to you.

When done correctly, this interior design style can combine two opposing styles into a harmonious room design. If you are unsure about doing this by yourself, consider hiring a competent interior designer to assist you.

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