Transitional Style Defined

FInd out how to add transitional design to your home

By Lisa Frederick

Trans-what? Given the popularity of transitional style, it's surprising how many people aren't aware that it even has a name. The transitional look has gained steam over the past couple of decades, as the contemporary glitz of the '80s gave way to a dual craving for style and comfort. It's versatile, accessible, and open to interpretation—major reasons for its mass appeal. (View 1000s of transitional-style rooms.)

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The Basics

Casual Transitional Living Room
Lauren Muse

Clean and classic yet of the moment, transitional decor nimbly straddles the line between traditional and contemporary with a relaxed, inviting air that offsets streamlined furnishings and minimal accents. Simple but not austere, warm but not cloying, it feels both fresh and timeless.

These designer rooms represent transitional decor:

Get the Look

If transitional style hits all the right notes for you, here's how to pull it off.

Sam Moore

Neutral colors. There's a hint of minimalism about transitional style, and it extends to the palette. Colors rarely stray beyond neutral boundaries, from warm whites and pale tans to shots of coffee brown, charcoal, and black. That's not to say you can't incorporate color, but it should be the exception rather than the rule—think art and accents, not upholstery and floor coverings.

Crisp, clean lines. Transitional furnishings are stripped down to their essence with no unnecessary embellishments, yet they're anything but boring. Strong lines and a beautiful interplay between lines and curves add ample visual interest to carry a space. Woods tend to be dark and rich; metals are cool and polished.

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