Transitional Décor: A Harmonious Marriage

Transitional living room with teal drapes, beige and gray walls and brown traditional furniture

Harmony is key – in life and interior decorating, especially in transitional settings.

Transitional design is the marriage of two or more interior design styles into a unified look.  Whether you call it hybrid, fusion, compromise, blended, or mix and match, it is one of the top four design styles along with traditional, contemporary, and modern – and guess what, it draws from these styles.

Making the scene in the 1950s as a response to the sleekness and straight lines of mid-century modern style, transitional design is a nod “to the old, classical styles (of traditional décor) using modern materials and elements to increase usability, all the while maintaining that unique flavor of a timeless design with a special twist,” says Bryan Stoddard of Homewares Insider.

Color schemes include the neutrals of white, grays, tans, and browns or monochromatic palettes of calming blues or greens. In the living room, furniture pieces combine straight lines with soft curves, nothing overly ornate, using textural fabrics like velvet, bouclé, corduroy, leather, and linen. Common characteristics for lighting showcase brushed metal, steel, and brass with light woods and rattan.  Used sparingly, art choices include paintings as well as framed and matted photos. And don’t forget the plants, white faux fur throws, and soft toss pillows. 

Need more inspiration? Try a white kitchen with a blue-gray island with chrome pendants and brushed nickel legs on the wooden counter stools.  In the dining room, choose a modern table with straight lines while selecting a traditional pattern on the upholstered chairs. In the bathroom, choose a wooden vanity with white fixtures and a large print floral wallpaper on the walls or ceiling. Otherwise, just visit Crate & Barrel or Pottery Barn to find the ultimate in transitional décor, loved by men and women alike.

Barbara Graceffa owns and operates Secretary of the Interior in Quincy, MA offering creative solutions at reasonable rates. Learn more about her decorating, downsizing, decluttering and home décor sewing services, decorating workshops, and quilt programs and shows at, and enjoy her art quilts on Instagram @secretaryinteriordecorating. You can reach her at 617.921.6033.

By Barbara Graceffa

Barbara Graceffa, CEO of Secretary of the Interior, serves decorating clients; assists with professional organizing, home staging and moving assistance; teaches on these subjects; and delivers quilt lectures and trunk shows.

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