How to Decorate a Home with Transitional Style

transitional design living room new tradition homes

August 23, 2021

Characterized by old and new, sleek and comfortable, heavy and light, transitional is one of those interior design styles that can be hard to define, yet easy to spot. It’s a mix of traditional and modern styles, but there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to proportions, statement pieces, materials, or patterns. 

For many people, transitional style "just happens" if they inherit a family heirloom, or if they enjoy both traditional and modern aesthetics and purchase furniture and accessories they like and mix them together. But this style can also be very intentional. Here are a few ways to pull together a room in transitional style!

Transitional Home Design

Start With What You Have

Chances are, you have some piece of furniture that's been passed down through the family. Consider yourself lucky! Even if you're not sure that it's your exact style - don't get rid of it. Use it to anchor a transitional room by adding modern touches to balance out the more traditional look. For example, if you have a plush sofa with lots of curves, have it reupholstered in a large-scale pattern material, then balance it out with a sleek coffee table and modern planters. Or let's say you have a heavy, dark wooden coffee table. Complement it with a more angular sofa in a light color.

Opt for Neutrals

Because of the mix of styles - and often patterns and textures - transitional rooms typically have white walls or rely on pale neutrals like taupe, tan, and vanilla to create a clean canvas. Dark brown wood is often the anchoring color because it's used in so many traditional pieces, but older furniture can be refinished in lighter stains to lift the mood of the room. Because of the neutral palette, it's easy to pick up interesting accent colors in upholstery or rugs and reflect them in small-scale accessories. 

Use Large-Scale, Tonal Patterns

If you choose a traditional element like a tufted headboard, keep things from looking too stately by balancing it out with a large-scale graphic rug, bed covering or accent pillows. To make things really interesting, look for large-scale, tonal versions of traditional patterns like floral, paisley or damask. The goal is to create an open, airy look and feel. 

Lighten Up the Fabrics

Though they can be beautiful, the heavy, ornate materials used in traditional window coverings and upholstery are typically omitted from a transitional room. Lighten up the space with flowy linen curtains, or try lighter, monochromatic upholstery that doesn't disturb the clean lines of the room. 

Focus on Minimalist Comfort

Unlike a traditional room, a transitional one focuses on simplicity. And unlike a modern room, a transitional one leans on comfort. Use large-scale, comfortable beds or couches, then scale back everything else in the room to achieve a sense of uncluttered minimalism. 

Balance It Out

The key to transitional style is finding the right balance between traditional and modern. Traditional style borrows from heavy, ornate looks of the 17th and 18th centuries, while modern style tends to be clean, light, and minimalist. They are opposing styles, so striking the right balance is necessary to keep a room from leaning too heavily in one direction. In the end, transitional style is about incorporating pieces that you love into a light, airy space that’s meant to be lived in. 

If you are interested in learning about new homes in South Carolina, and how the talented design team at Cothran Homes can help you achieve the transitional home of your dreams, call us at 864-318-9349 or schedule a personal tour today.

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