The Woh Factor of the Transitional Style

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When it comes to interior design, rarely do we devote time to find our style. We just like things. We like one bathroom fixture style more than others and prefer one type of furniture over others. At the end, we succeed in mixing styles without even knowing that there is a name for it: transitional.

What is the transitional style?

In short, it’s the blend of the traditional and contemporary interior décor style. As the name implies, it’s a bridge that creates a freeway between the two worlds. You get a free ticket to travel to both worlds without breaking any interior design rules and creating your own unique style.

The transitional style allows you to mix traditional and modern features in one room whether we are talking about structural or decorative elements. As a matter of fact, you need to use both in order to bring the traditional elegance without breaking the modern charm in one room.

What is the result?

From an architectural point of view, the goal is to create balance. From your personal point of view, the goal is convenience. The idea of blending the traditional and contemporary interior worlds is to create harmony by breaking the stiffness of the former and the coldness of the latter.

The intention is to enable the eye to travel throughout the room without interruptions. In other words, the transition between contemporary and traditional elements must be as smooth as possible. The result should be nothing too formal or informal, too heavy or cold, too busy or fussy. The lines must be clean with a touch of vintage elegance.

Why use it?

One reason for adopting the transitional style in your home is to stop getting limited by your décor options and start thinking out of the box. Since this style is the marriage of the contemporary and the traditional design, it’s not actually a trend. When you decide to replace decorative objects, you are not restricted by design rules. Let’s say you want to get rid of some old and classic table lamps in the living room. You can either get traditional or modern ones. They will fit nicely in the environment.

This interior decorative style offers freedom in regard to your choices. And that’s important in a world where everything has been simplified for people’s convenience. Think of it in another context. A man can wear a suit jacket with jeans in a dinner party. A woman can wear a dress with sneakers and still be very elegant. Just like the dressing codes, the interior design rules are simple to meet our busy lives.

Too formal is kind of tiring because it requires excellence in everything: symmetry, tidiness, and perfection in every detail. Does that mean that the transitional style leaves room for imperfections? No! It just takes the burden of trying to find the ideal masculine or feminine design off your shoulders. It sets you free as far as your interior design ideas and creativity are concerned. You don’t have to fit them in a box anymore.

Since the transitional style is a blend of the best features the modern and traditional design can offer, the result is a warm and cozy room with as much elegance as needed but also a splash of comfort modernity provides.

How to use the transitional style in your home

The marriage of the traditional and contemporary style leaves room for plenty of combinations. Although there are no strict rules when it comes to such styles, there is a path to follow to avoid chaos. Since the idea here is to create harmony in the room, items & elements shouldn’t stand out. For example, if you want to place lamps on the two sides of the sofa, choose the same style. You can still place a floor lamp of the opposing style in a different corner of the same room but when the eye travels over the sofa, the transition must be smooth.

In order to make your home transitional, you need to focus on everything – from furniture and colors to fabrics and materials. The right combinations will give you the expected results. Remember that the idea is to blend the two styles to create an uncomplicated, friendly and relaxing environment. And so you can make your own rules and combinations. For example, if you’ve got classic furniture, you can break the traditionalism by hanging modern artwork on the wall and covering the floors with modern rugs. That’s a very simple idea. Let’s take a closer look at what you can do.


The furniture must have a clean line. Even if you like traditional ones, avoid furniture with curves and ornaments. And don’t forget to blend. For instance, if your dining table is classic, use modern chairs. The Eames chairs will make a beautiful contrast with a rustic table. If the side tables are classic, use modern table lamps and vice versa. Use a modern sofa near an antique. A floor-to-ceiling built-in classic bookcase will make the traditional style dominant. Break the stiffness by placing a big blue vessel or paint the wall behind it gray or deep orange.


Speaking of colors, forget about patterned fabrics and drapes that will make the room complicated. The tones should be natural. The prevailing color for transitional homes is beige. But you must be very careful how you use it. Although the color palette ranges from whites to chocolate, you shouldn’t overdo it with brownish colors which will make the room too stuffy and traditional. The neutral hues are preferred in order to allow smoothness. But don’t forget that there are many shades of beige and white. Use several tones of neutrals to create contrast and make the room interesting but not busy.


Since neutral tones enable you to make your home transitional, you can use leather, iron, wood, bamboo and similar materials. When it comes to your floor, wood is a great option. If you want to cover some areas with rugs, prefer neutral colors as well. If you like wall-to-wall carpets, prefer white or beige tones. Materials you can use for furniture and accessories include a combination of metal, glass, wood and plastic.

Structural elements

If the ceiling is white, paint the walls gray, light orange or deep green. You can cover them with brick, stone or wallpaper – no perplexed designs. But you can use wood for the ceiling too. In this case, prefer lighter colors for the wall.

If some structural elements are already too traditional, lighten up the room with furnishing and accessories. For instance, if there is a dentil crown molding, paint the wall gray and use modern furniture.


The accessories must have a clean line too. You can use classic candlesticks but not ornate ones. Your intention is NOT to create a dramatic but subtle look. You can use baskets made of bamboo and metal while the picture frames must be simple too.

With the transitional style, the furniture is not too big or too small. The colors range from olive and ivory to black and white. The accessories are rather minimal and the materials are natural. This style allows you to use items and furniture you most likely have in your home. What could be a better example of a piece of furniture to enhance the transitional style than a distressed leather sofa? Or an antique? Since this style focuses on comfort, it doesn’t just create an illusion of serenity. It DOES create a relaxing environment, which is timeless and will never become boring since you can make small changes without altering the style.

Some final tips to help you out

  • If you like focal points in the room, choose only one
  • For better results, apply the same style throughout the house and not just in one room. Use similar colors and furnishing to make every room relaxing and soothing
  • Invest in furniture and accessories with simple lines to never get tired of them
  • Use several natural color tones to create the contrast needed to make the room interesting and still soothing
  • Blend different materials (wood, metal, glass, acrylic etc.) and in various combinations

Remember that neither style (modern-traditional) must stand out. Instead, your interior design must embrace both in a restrained manner to make the house comfortable for everyone without reducing its elegance. Since practically is what each busy household needs, the transitional style is the best style option for everyone.


Alexia studied sociology at Essex University and did postgraduate studies at Sussex University in the media field. In Greece she worked for many years in printed and electronic media. She has written and illustrated the children's book "Little Bobby Steps Into the World", which is available on Amazon. Today she is spending endless hours with, regularly writes articles for websites in America and Europe, and is a top rated content writer on Upwork. Alexia has always been interested in interior design and has written relative content over the years.

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