Design Series: Transitional Design

Transitional design is what happens when warm traditional meets clean, contemporary style. It is one of the most sought-after looks in design today. Why the popularity? From my perspective, I see people staying home more often and wanting to enjoy it. As a result, they tend to gravitate toward uncluttered, but still inviting rooms where they can relax.

While you might know it when you see it, transitional style is hard to pin down because it’s all about the mix. Let’s take a closer look at one example, a living room from a recently completed Refind Interiors project.

This apartment is situated in a vintage Chicago high rise along the city’s lakefront, where the owner was looking for a tailored, warm environment. He also asked that I incorporate family heirlooms into a simple aesthetic.

Here’s how we did it:

  • We used furnishings, fabric, and finishes that are both contemporary and traditional throughout. No one element in any room is either one or the other. For example,the window is dressed with a tailored mohair cornice, a traditionally patterned silk drape and soft–but still masculine–neutral sheers.
  • We mixed objects from different places, times and textures. In the corner, an antique lamp sits on a new dark wood table with clean lines next to a contemporary sofa in soft silk and chenille–all atop a lively, patterned Persian rug.
  • Complementary tones like cool silver and blue and unite the details throughout. The quieter tones in the fabrics, wainscoting and molding, and on the home’s vintage radiator come alive with contrasting dark herringbone-patterned hardwood floors and the bold cornice.

The bottom line: to achieve a transitional look, remember that there is no one rule to follow. Just keep mixing up the items and looks you love!