Home Style Guides The Complete Spacejoy’s Guide to Transitional Style

The Complete Spacejoy’s Guide to Transitional Style

by Geraldine Orentas
neutral bedroom design

For those without a clear preference for one era over another, transitional style might be the perfect matchup. Part of this style’s joy is the diversity it celebrates and how it lets your creativity simply flow. Unlike other interior design movements, no two rooms will ever look-alike in a transitional-style house. That is precisely what makes transitional style so alluring and intriguing to many, but also daunting and challenging to master. In this design guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of transitional style to help you see if this is the movement you most identify with.

transitional style guide

What is Transitional Style?

Transitional style is a bit of everything. It incorporates a mix of traditional and modern pieces, with decorative features that leave plenty of space for creativity. In essence, this design movement isn’t precisely one single style. Instead, its various design styles are brought together to create a cohesive look. Because it allows for some old and contemporary furnishings, many designers love the idea that transitional style is truly timeless.

transitional style elements

The Key Elements of Transitional Style

At first glance, transitional style presents smashing contrasts that can seem disparate. But the key to transitional style is to find the one similarity that makes everything work well together. Someone can have a traditional and classic style with antique furnishings and incorporate contemporary or modern design elements that create a masterpiece.

Transitional style is:

  • Refined and comforting without sacrificing elegance and sophistication. It would be the design equivalent of business casual dressing.
  • Updated classics with an ode to the past that look elegant.
  • Understated and harmonious, almost as if everything was meant to go together.

Transitional style is not:

  • Eclectic or all-over-the-map. Pieces from other styles might be welcomed, but overall transitional style draws inspiration from contemporary and traditional styles.
  • Trendy, there won’t be hot-right-now trends and items showcased in the room.
  • Overly ornamented or embellished, things are often kept simple with a minimalistic air.

transitional style colors

Colors & Texture

One thing that’s instantly noticeable in a transitional room is the choice of serene hues all across. Neutrals are not an afterthought. Instead, they’re the focal point. Whether cools or warms shades are used, they’ll all stem from a neutral palette. The idea is to lean towards subtle and soft spaces rather than contrasting ones. Some popular color palettes for transitional spaces are:

  • Warm neutral tones: chocolates, tapes, creams, and beiges.
  • Cool neutrals: snow whites, silver, dove gray, and pale blues.
  • Serene hues: pale sage green, blue-gray, dusty rose, and misty blue.

Texture is another big element in transitional style. You’re bound to find a mix of varied textiles that coordinate with most furniture pieces across the home. You’ll quickly find velvets, rattan, silks, brocades, and other fabrics blended together in similar hues and tones to maintain a serene space.

transitional style walls

Walls & Doors

As most transitional homes keep a neutral color palette, the walls and doors also follow suit. The one key thing is the window treatments. Usually, you’ll go for crisp, classic drapes in a solid color to go with the rest of the room. Sometimes transitional designers like to incorporate some ornate window treatments. In this case, straight lines and fuss-free patterns go best. Sometimes sheer curtains will add a bit of drama and texture while still preserving that formal vibe.

transitional style furniture


Out of all the essential elements, transitional furniture is the most challenging one to master. Since transitional interior design is all about unexpected combinations, it can be tricky to find the perfect pairs. Expect to see simple silhouettes paired with abstract elements, round borders paired with sharp lines, and other contrasts that keep the eye moving around the room.

Furniture is clean and sophisticated with an ode to elegance. Most of the time, you’ll source traditional style furniture like wingback chairs, sofas with straight lines, and nailhead trimmed ottomans.

transitional style decor


With accessories, transitional style lets you have all the fun. Here’s where you can draw inspiration from other eras and incorporate layer after layer of styles. The key here is to practice editing and keep things to a minimum, though. Contemporary artwork pieces with clean and straightforward frames pair well with glass lamps. Cashmere throws and plush pillows will add a touch of texture. While potted plants and flowers like orchids and roses will incorporate a hint of nature that is still sophisticated.

transitional style house guide

The Transitional Style House

The transitional-style house is a feast to the eyes with just the right amount of contrasts to keep things interesting without being overwhelming. From the entryway to the kitchen, every space is unique, and every room feels serene and charming in its own way.

Transitional Entryway

It might be easy to miss the transitional entryway, mostly because your eyes instantly go towards the living room or the first room you can see. Things are kept to a minimum, often following an entryway’s basics: entry table, large mirror, lamps, and decorative items. But, the transitional entrance also adapts to your needs. Remember, no two rooms have to be alike, so you can have a bit more fun designing this space.

transitional style living room guide

Transitional Living Room

The heart of the house, transitional style is the definition of a beautifully orchestrated mix. The options for a transitional living room are indeed endless. Think whimsical chairs paired with traditional sofas, mismatched prints, and expressive art pieces. All layered together to create a masterpiece. To avoid looking eclectic, the key here is to keep details similar in scale and inspiration, so they’re not fighting for your attention. Also, it’s best to keep things minimal at the expense of overdoing it, so items are chosen with thoughtfulness.

transitional style dining room guide

Transitional Dining Room & Kitchen

An extension of the living room, the dining area, also follows a more formal vibe common in transitional homes. Traditional statement pieces are layered with more modern accents to keep the eye entertained. Most like with other rooms of the house, furniture pieces don’t have to be the same. It’s common for a transitional dining room to feature different chairs incorporating elements like a bench or armchairs to break up with the traditional style.

The kitchen is clean but not entirely minimalistic. Out of all rooms, the transitional kitchen is the one that makes the most compromises. Elegant finishes of the tabletops and cabinets elevate the space to satisfy traditional style, while clean lines and serene color palettes in the kitchen are a nod to contemporary design. Or it can go the other way, vintage cabinets and finishes with new accessories. Expect shaker cabinets, natural woods, marble or quartz counter, and clean-lined furniture that creates a contrast with the dining room.

Transitional Bedroom

For the bedroom, the keyword is serene. Statement-making pieces can find their way into the bedroom but don’t compete with other items. Even in a small transitional bedroom, there will be a subtle mix of design styles and eras without overwhelming the view. The bedroom is also one of the very few rooms in a transitional style that’ll see some color, although it’s still kept in a neutral palette.

Unlike traditional style, nothing has to match here. You will see how designers have fun pairing different styles for the nightstands, dressers, and accessories placed in the room. Elegant armchairs and finishes are also typical to bring an air of sophistication and glamour to the bedroom.

Ready to See How Transitional Style Looks In Your Home?

Transitional home decor is all about achieving a balance of design styles and elements from different eras. It creates a beautiful and elegant space that’s full of history and juxtaposition. Think of it as the perfect marriage between traditional and contemporary styles with sophisticated yet simple accessories. If all of this sounds like your ideal home, start a project today.

Collaborate with our interior designers and learn more about transitional style and how it could work for your home. With Spacejoy’s 3D technology, you’ll be able to visualize and interact with a real-life design concept of your home. Even better, you’ll be able to shop from our platform everything our designers used in your home design. Get ready to see how transitional style looks in your home without ever leaving your house.

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