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Decorating in the Transitional Style

A Perfect Blend of Contemporary and Traditional

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Decorating in the Transitional Style

This transitional style living room perfectly pairs the beauty and classical feeling of traditional with the neutral colors and bold lines of contemporary.

Photo © Paul Burns/Getty

Transitional style is often described as a balanced blend of traditional and contemporary furnishings and decor. Many who like a “lighter” traditional look choose this style because the Transitional Style retains the classic lines of traditional, but the colors and furnishings tend to fit a more modern lifestyle.

Transitional decorating embraces soft lines and comfortable furnishings, but without the fuss of traditional styling. Color palettes tend to follow the contemporary style and are kept to a minimum. Decor is less bold than what one would typically find in a contemporary space, but is not as fussy as one would find in a traditional space.

Typical characteristics of a Transitional style space:
  • Neutral colors, such as creams, taupes, grays and black
  • Contrast is highlighted through textures or tones
  • Minimal accessories
  • Fabrics such as suede, chenille and leather
  • Bold furnishings with classic, simple lines
  • Sophisticated feel
  • Mirrored, glass and metallic furnishings and decor

Transitional is often confused with the Eclectic style, but they are very different. Transitional will often use contemporary furnishings mixed with antiques, but even these old-world pieces will be sophisticated and have simple, classic lines. Eclectic styling is far less refined.

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