Vintage Shopper

Transitional Design: Modern Design with Vintage Chic


Have you found yourself lusting over the comfortable elegance of a vintage interior design palette? Drooling over the fresh, clean lines of a contemporary room? Like many, you’ve probably been left scratching your head over how to achieve a seamless combination of the two in your own home.

But you’re not alone. In fact, there’s an entire aesthetic dedicated to those who crave this hybrid style, which is perfectly dubbed ‘transitional design’.

Modern vs. Traditional Design

Transitional design takes the best of both modern and traditional styles, marrying them together in a vision altogether its own. Modern design is loved for its neutral color palette and crisp, clean lines. However, these rooms can often feel cold and sterile. While the icy aesthetic, full of glass and shiny metal, can be eye-catching, it lacks the lived-in feel many homemakers prefer.

Traditional style, on the other hand, is comforting for its dedication to consistency. It lacks any surprise elements, keeping furniture matched and orderly. Heavy curtains, floral patterns, and curved lines create a room that feels ready for some relaxing family time. However, this style space can also err on boring, uninteresting and outdated.

The Merge: Transitional Design


By mixing these two styles together, you can create a highly complementary space that’s both comfortable and interesting. Picking up cues from modern design, transitional rooms work best by sticking to a neutral color palette – lots of white and beige. Brown is also often utilized to create depth, appearing in sleek wooden furniture like coffee tables and shelves. For some inspiration and excellent examples on making the most out of neutrality, check out Houzz.


transitional design

Transitional design in the living room | Image from Flickr Creative Commons

Blending colors together works when each is subtly different, to keep the room from becoming sterile. For instance, the different vanilla-based shade variations should be layered throughout the room in order to warm it up.


Furniture in a transitional interior space should be comfortable, almost begging you to sink into it – think goose down fill and chenille or leather fabrics. For that vintage chic, nail head details or a tufted backing on a sofa or chair will do the trick. However, don’t use anything too ornate, such as a gilded framing, to overwhelm the design aesthetic.

Furniture size should also be proportionate to the room—don’t get anything too large or out-of-scale. Matching sets are also a no-no. Instead, look for one-off pieces that complement each other, like a brown leather sofa and a soft-green simple cotton-wrapped chair. Similarly, an assortment of vintage-style pillows and comfy throws on sofas and chairs will encourage guests to sit back and relax. Etsy is a fantastic resource for vintage, traditional and antique home décor.

All in all, when introducing fabrics to the space, keep them mix-matched. The use of different textures in a transitional room helps keep the space interesting against the monochromatic, clean color palette.


Accessories should be kept to a minimum, each one carefully selected for the space. Too many small items will end up looking overcrowded and busy. Instead, focus on a few well-thought-out, eclectic pieces. A shiny, metal pot holding an elegant flowering plant, such as an orchid, African violet, or jasmine will help pull the room together and add chic, rich detail.


vintage chic decor

Transitional design accents | Image from Flickr Creative Commons

Similarly, lighting can work wonders when accenting these carefully-curated areas. Whether you choose to shine a direct light on a painting or illuminate the entire space with a ceiling fixture, lighting outlets and brands like We Got Lites often have gorgeous options at affordable rates. For instance, the vintage-style Joshua Marshal crystal chandeliers will add some glamour to the room, while sticking to the traditional, old school atmosphere.

A transitional room can work great in any home that strives to offer guests lavish comfort and eye-catching design elements. It’s the best of both worlds!




Latest posts by jmn1491 (see all)

October 14, 2014 |

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