Understanding Transitional Interior Design & Adding to Your Home
November 14th, 2013 | by The Update
November 14th, 2013 | by The Update
We’re all pretty familiar with “modern” and “traditional” design styles (they are pretty much synonyms after all), but what about transitional? It’s a little confusing since the title does little to clarify what, exactly, we’re seeing. It doesn’t help that designers so often swap the term “transitional” for others like “updated classic” and “classic with a contemporary flare.” Our editors answer questions often asked by design fans hoping to understand this nebulous style and how to blend its trademark look into a home.
Q: So what is this transitional style, anyway?
UP: THAT is the million-dollar question! I’ve seen a wide display of styles covered by the term without any real defining features in common. Mostly, though, I think it’s safe to think of transitional as a warm, comfortable medium between dated traditional and cold modern design. It’s all about neutral palettes, clean lines, gentle curves, and subtle, clean looks. Balance is KEY. While modern interiors focus on a theme or statement, transitional is all about the end user–the family. Comfort is key, though there’s definitely no sacrifice to style. Everything shows a beautiful myriad of chic livability. Nearly every commercial these days incorporates transitional design in their stock “homes.” Check out Crate & Barrel or West Elm for a better picture of this.
Q: What are the key colors, textures, and elements of transitional interior design?
UP: Lots of natural elements—wood (walnut, mahogany, maple, cedar), stone (rough cut and polished), and a wide range of finishes and paint colors. Usually, brown takes the center stage in transitional rooms—ranging from cream to chocolate, its universal flexibility and warmth make it indispensable. Again, materials that speak of comfort are usually preferred over stark beauty. Plush fabrics, soft woven rugs, and straight-lined drapes are favorites.
Q: Why transitional? What are the benefits to choosing this interior design or architectural style over her counterparts?
UP: For 99 percent of homeowners, I recommend transitional style because it speaks to everyone. With its relaxed traditional accents—crown molding, for instance—paired with small nods to the modern–a sleek, modern chandelier or a bright teal desk–the home appeals to everyone, regardless of taste or background. For the homeowner thinking of possibly selling in the future, this becomes particularly crucial. Prospective home buyers can much more easily imagine themselves living in a transitional home than in an ultra-modern or stoic estate. Again, that’s why advertisers use transitional homes in their videos and ad campaigns. It just resonates clearly with the masses!
Q: How would you recommend incorporating transitional style into a home?
UP: Start by doing a little window-shopping. Check out Crate & Barrel and West Elm to get a feel for what transitional is all about. Then start small. I recommend starting with fresh coat of paint (preferably in a creamy taupe or suede.) I recommend Restoration Hardware’s incredible paints. Next, add a few pillows and a rug. Remember the tenants of transitional:
1: Comfortable! (But not “slouchy”!)
2: Clean and sophisticated, straight lines, neutral colors
3: Go modern in the details—light fixtures and glass tile backsplashes are the most common ways I see this beautifully incorporated in the home.
Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty is Dallas’ luxury real estate leader, with more than 200 agents in five offices located throughout Dallas-Fort Worth and access to the global Sotheby’s network, including more than 11,000 agents in 600 offices worldwide. CEO Robbie Briggs independently owns and operates Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty. For more information on escapes and second homes, ranch and land, and luxury homes in the Dallas-Fort Worth region and beyond, go to briggsfreeman.com.