Living Space: At home with transitional style
By Kathryn Weber
Nov. 1, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
If you asked most people what kind of style their home is decorated in, you'd most likely hear "transitional." That's because transitional style lends itself to interpretation. Most homeowners have a home that's acquired, meaning that they've added to their decor with time and as their budget allowed. But that's not really the best definition of transitional - one of America's favorite styles today.
Strong on tradition
Transitional style borrows heavily from traditional style, but uses a modern interpretation, particularly where color is concerned. While traditional style incorporates color, transitional leans heavily toward neutrals for a cleaner, leaner, lighter-feeling room. Yet, the bones of traditional are still there.
Some call transitional style a lighter traditional, but that's not accurate. Transitional isn't just lightening up an old favorite; it's about incorporating neutrals and making a nod to another popular decorating style.
While transitional can be mislabeled as traditional light, it can also be mislabeled as a heavier contemporary. But transitional does borrow quite a lot from contemporary, such as avoiding fussy accessories or frills on furniture. The use of simple neutrals and leaning heavily toward a singular color is one of the ways transitional relates to contemporary. It also borrows from the gender-neutral qualities of contemporary styles, but it's a warmer, more inviting decor than contemporary because of the heavy use of textured and graphic fabrics.
If you want to create a transitional decor in your home, a good starting point is color. Chances are, you can create a transitional style in a room simply by using what you have. Think of color as a paint swatch from a home center. Typically featuring six shades of a single color, the paint chip is divided by intensity of color.
Gather together furnishings that would work like individual shades of paint on a paint chip. This will keep all your items in the same color family. Choose pieces that are amply-sized yet have clean lines. Next, select textiles or upholstered items that are very textural, such as a nubby chenille or fabric with a bold pattern, but still in the same color family.
When it comes to accessories, look for items that have similar coloring to your furniture and look for just a few distinct accents, such as a bubble crystal lamp or a mirrored chest. These work like neutral exclamation points in the room - a hallmark of transitional style.
When pulling together accent pieces and accessories, items like glass tables and metallic accents add lightness and elegance. Pull in a plant, such as a simple potted orchid or a single large silk tree to round out your look.
Transitional is a style that has a cool sophistication that's still warm and welcoming. Adding some graphical wallpaper can help you create a transitional space quickly. You'll be rewarded with a room that exudes comfortable sophistication.
Kathryn Weber is a home and decorating columnist and publishes the Red Lotus Letter feng shui ezine. For more information, contact Weber through her website, redlotusletter.com.