In Part I 13 Reasons Why I Love Transitional Style, I gave six reasons:
- Color - warm neutral colors such as taupe, khaki, creme, and beige and accenting black and cocoa. Neutral colors make us feel relaxed.
- Strong lines in furnishings and accessories paired with soft curves, shapes that are elegant, simple and visually relaxing.
- Also, furniture designs have clean lines; that is, ornate patterns are not to be found in the transitional style.
- I love the variety of materials found in transitional that range from wood to metal to translucent furnishings.
- Clean walls that are not necessarily boring but may be one of the 270 hues of white to a taupe to even a strong dark shade of gray.
- Simple flooring. I'm a huge fan of hardwood floors, a simple area rug then layered with a smaller shag or flokati rug. It gives a simple but layered look to the flooring.
The overall design theme of transitional style is that "less is more."
7. Understated Patterns
Soft, light blue and white, a classic color combination, are repeated in varying sizes from window treatment to the herringbone throw to the zebra fabric on the ottoman. A pattern in the rug anchors the composition. I love how the navy blue bedroom (?) and the painting in the backdrop create an accenting distraction--but a nicely and exciting one.
8. Elegant But Simple Window Treatment
Transitional style lighting fixtures are more often offered as modern fixtures. I take the view that transitional lighting fixtures are more of an update of the traditional style, such as those illustrated here. However, it's important to note that by mixing both traditional and contemporary in the same room works just as well. For example, a chandelier that is contemporary but wall scones are more traditional. Look for common elements in color, shape and materials.
The red sconce here is also stated as defining the space as transitional although the caption states contemporary. I thought this a perfect example of just how versatile is the transitional style.
This is a wonderful example of mixing an updated traditional chandelier with contemporary table lamps. Color and lamp shades really pull the two styles together.
10. Visual Presentation
By visual presentation, I mean that transitional strikes a balance between traditional and contemporary. One interior designer suggested that for every piece of traditional, you should balance it with a contemporary piece. I'm on the fence with that idea. It feels too formulaic for my taste. I do like the idea that suggests adding "a few" other period pieces, such as modern, definitely adds to the interest of a transitional design.
My dilemma is that I have more traditional pieces than contemporary and am working through the process of editing before adding. I will definitely be studying very closely such rooms illustrated below:
I included this next image just to illustrate that indeed you can have a transitional style (as labeled) and load it with stronger colors than neutrals. Here too you will find more modern elements as seen in the chevron fabric style and cocktail table. What makes these items more modern? I suggest that the high gloss found in the glass and gold metal frame of the cocktail table; and the sharp bold edges in the chevron rug pattern.
I simply love . . . I must say this twice . . . love natural fiber: matte colors found in cotton and linen; the coarseness of wool; and the sheen in silk and leather; or any of the blends--as long as natural fibers account for the higher percentage. Even more fascinating about contemporary fiber is that each of these can be found with or without a sheen and with or without naps.
One my favorite sofas combines a leather frame and back cushions with wool blend seat cushion fabric:
As in the contemporary style, accessories in the transitional style are minimal. Still, each piece is substantial. Artwork is unframed or completed with simple straight line frames. Sculptural pieces, like lighting, are clean lined and strong.
13. A Design That Is Enduring
In summary, I love the transitional style for its elegance; its reference to classic designs; and its versatility and easy acceptance of what is contemporary. With careful editing and selections, it doesn't have to become dated with the "now" design elements. Most of all, I love the transitional design for its faithfulness to comfort.
It fits perfectly with apartment living--any apartment style from brownstones to high rise to penthouse.
As I was writing this post, I ran across many myths, misunderstandings and a "breaking of the rules" about transitional design. But one fact was consistent in that there are more of our homes that are truly transitional than we think.
My thanks to these authors for giving me a foundation of information on transitional design:
- Three excellent articles written by Lisa Federick: So Your Style is Traditional ; So Your Style is Contemporary ; and So Your Style is Transitional
- Wikipedia: Modern Furniture
- HGTV Transitional Style 101
- Home Decorators What's Your Style?
- Transitional Style: Light, Art and Accessories by Kerrie Kelly
If you love the transitional style, I would love to hear from you. If you love another style, I would love to hear that too. And if you even liked this post . . . well, let me know that too. Just click on the like button!