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Design Styles - Transitional Style

Sep 12, 2008
Transitional style refers to the blending of elegant traditional style and sleek contemporary style. It allows a person to take the elements they enjoy about traditional and contemporary styles and leave out the bits they don't want.

The importance of comfort and relaxation in our homes has been growing at the same fast pace as our hectic busy lives. Transitional design is at the forefront of that idea. It takes the stuffy attitude out of traditional style and the cold feeling from contemporary style and melds it into an elegant, updated , classic, yet casual space. It allows for a little bit of eclecticism- you can pick and choose the elements you like, and mix them together.

Here are a few ideas to help create transitional style:

-Colors-

Color palettes are usually very subtle and monochromatic in transitional style. This gives the relaxing effect that many people are after. Creams and browns including, ivory, taupe, beige, tan, and chocolate are among the more popular choices. If that sounds a little too bland, then feel free to use accent colors. However, use them in moderation because the idea is to let the eye rest and therefore create a more comforting space.

-Furnishings-

As with most things in transitional style, it is best to keep furnishings understated. Proper scale is key to making sure the space feels balanced and appropriate. Choose furniture that isn't too masculine or feminine. Both Shaker style furniture and Mission style furniture are a good fit with transitional style because of their clean straight lines and warm wood tones. Upholstery pieces with straight boxy lines that lean to the contemporary side are best, but just be sure the big ticket items are timeless and neutral.

-Textiles-

Textiles in the form of rugs, pillows, drapes, and throws are both comforting and an easy way to repeat your color scheme throughout the room. They are extremely important in transitional design because they add texture and interest to the space. Different fabrics include chenille, corduroy, micro fiber suede, leather, cotton, twill, denim, silk, and tweed. Tone on tone patterns or small scale graphics are a good choice. Berber carpets or sisal rugs are another way to bring texture to the space. Keep window coverings simple with solid draperies or possibly roman shades.

-Putting it all together-

Now comes the tricky part, putting it all together. Transitional style is by nature a little bit eclectic so how do you keep a space from feeling disjointed? Use common elements to your advantage when mixing styles. For instance, if pieces are a different style, unify them with the same finish or vice versa. Also you can find pieces that pull differing elements together such as a rug or a piece of artwork. Keep accessories to a minimum and artwork understated. Remember that you are trying to create a relaxing comfortable space so choose things that you like. Keep it as simple as you possibly can.

Transitional style is elegant, comfortable, classic, sophisticated, sleek, relaxing, and uncomplicated. Now who wouldn't want that?
About the Author
After being a student of Southern Oregon University's English program, Angela Stephens has dedicated herself to the study of interior and furniture design styles for the past 6 years. Angela established Peniel Products, an online retailer of Home Furnishings and Decor
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