If you are a fan of interior design at all, you have probably heard the term “transitional” by now. So what is it? What is the difference between traditional and transitional style? Well, we have the 411 on a few ways you can tell the difference between the two.

Traditional style screams warm & welcoming. Rich colors. Darker metallics. Wood tones. Luxurious fabrics. This is a house we designed in a very traditional style a few years ago in the M-Streets neighborhood of Dallas.

Traditional Style Kitchen Dining - MLInteriorsGroup.com

M-Streets. Kitchen Eat In.

Not all traditional design styles include such rich paint colors, but the “warm” feeling that these rooms exude is typical traditional style. You’ll also note there are a lots of curves and detail in the furniture and decor. We did NOT go heavy with the window treatments, but often you will see drapery with a lot of swag and draping in traditional style design. The fabric has bold patterns with paisleys, florals, damask, and so forth.

Traditional Style Guest Bedroom - MLInteriorsGroup.com

Traditional Style Guest Bedroom

These chairs are antique, and were re-upholstered in a bold fabric. If you look closely, there is fringe too. Layering this pattern on top of the patterned rug, is a very traditional style. Also, note the frame on the art above the fireplace -very decorative.

M-Streets Dallas Formal Living Room - MLInteriorsGroup.com

M-Streets Dallas Formal Living Room

As we move towards the “transitional” style, we see fewer curves in the furniture, straighter lines in the architectural details, lighter colors. But you’ll still see some traditional style pieces in the design. Transitional does not eliminate traditional style, it just lightens the feel of it and most importantly, allows the two styles to “live together”.  I liken it to Pottery Barn. They have made millions by blending the old with the new, the weathered with the smooth, the light with the dark. If you walk into their showroom and are a fan of a more contemporary style, you’ll find something to buy. If you walk into their showroom and are a fan of a more traditional style, you’ll find something to buy. If you buy one of each and put them in your house, voila, it’s transitional. (Well, it’s not quite that easy, but you get the idea.)

This great room is not too manly. But it’s not too girly. It appeals to both genders and people of various ages. This style has less “stuff” to rest your eyes on too. Knick knacks are definitely minimized in today’s transitional.

Transitional Style Great Room - MLInteriorsGroup.com

Transitional Style Great Room

You’ll note the light & bright colors of the home office below, but this space also has a traditional style chair and drawer pulls. See how that works?

Transitional style home office - MLInteriorsGroup.com

Transitional style home office

This client’s master bedroom has all straight lines, with the exception of the sofa, with some swooped arms (but notice they are NOT rounded). Neutral tones and non-patterned fabrics are a staple in transitional style. Various textures add interest.

Transitional Master Bedroom - MLIInteriorsGroup.com

Transitional Master Bedroom

So there you have it. This is not a hard and fast rule. There are really no hard and fast rules in design styles – design & decorating is really all about what you like. In my personal opinion, I think “Transitional” style was created by all of the people getting married and trying to blend their styles. So if YOU need help blending or defining your style, please call us – we would love to help!

Michelle Lynne

P.S. I am also on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Houzz – where you will find more images that don’t always make the blog or the website.