Transitional Style – the new black or just plain boring?

Transitional style design is an emerging trend gaining momentum in furniture and interior design circles. It is neither traditional nor contemporary but a blending of the two. Definitions for this vary …

Traditional with a twist. A bridge between traditional and modern. Postmodern. Contemporary for people who don’t like the word “contemporary.”
- McClatchy-Tribune article

Transitional style is hot because it

takes the stuffiness out of traditional styles and the coldness out of modern to create an environment that is personally meaningful.

Transitional style is clean, serene, minimalist, and inviting. Simple, uncluttered, and sophisticated. Timeless, classical, and tasteful.

Neutral Colors & Contrasting Textures

Colors are neutrals and earth tones – ivory, taupe, beige, and tan. If you don’t like the word beige (it got a bad rep in the last century), try vanilla, pewter, wheat or sandbar. Color is actually very important but subordinate to the neutral. Isolated splashes of color are common: “There may be bright orange, but only in the bookshelf or on a pillow or a piece of sculpture.”

This “absence” of color creates more opportunity to work with texture in terms of fabric choices for accents, etc. Typical transitional fabrics?

  • Chenille
  • Corduroy
  • Mircofiber suede
  • Leather
  • Cotton
  • Twill
  • Denim
  • Raw silk
  • Tweed
  • Woven reeds
  • Woven rope


Clean Furniture Design

Transitional furniture design combines both straight lines and curves.

The look balances both masculine and feminine attributes for a comfortably contemporary design. The scale of the pieces is ample but not intimidating. A lack of ornamentation and decoration keeps the focus on the simplicity but sophistication of the design.
- HGTV online

Which brings me to …


Yes comfort. Transitional style is “inviting”. “Transitional is about lifestyle, not design for its own sake.”

Minimal, Tasteful Accessories

Carefully chosen. “Transitional rooms always have art – good art…” albeit in an understated context.

The new black? Or just plain boring?

See HGTV’s transitional style interior design portfolio for more examples. I like this slideshow better as it leans more to the contemporary. Boring or the new black? You be the judge. My verdict is that it’s smart. The smart homeowners decor choice, one that will both age and show well, especially if you are interested in selling your home in the near future. The trend may be to make a personal statement with your decor but …

Catlin worries these personal statements will date quickly and alienate future buyers. “You have to think how it’s going to translate for the next owners,” Catlin said. “You may love your dark green countertop, but the next owner’s favorite color could be yellow.”

That’s why Catlin advises homeowners who care about resale to choose more neutral colors for floors, countertops and other hard surfaces, using easily changeable paint and accessories to infuse personality.
- The hottest remodeling trends for 2011

Sounds transitional to me …

The latest remodeling trends

Found an interesting report on Remodeling Trends from the recent National Association of Real Estate Editors Conference

Spending on Remodeling

The experts are predicting a slight and short-lived decline in renovation spending, in line with other national reports and studies.

Tips for working with renovators

  • don’t be afraid to vet your contractor – go ahead and ask the tough questions,
  • specify everything in your contract, and
  • check your contractor has the proper insurance — including workers’ compensation – else you could get saddled with the liability.

Remodeling Trends & Homeowner Demand

“Nearly every panelist mentioned the pervasive influence of TV design shows”. In other words, the media is heavily shaping and influencing consumer demand. Popular trends include:

  • the rise of the outdoor living space
  • home kitchen and bathroom remodels are taking longer because of the selection process – more choices = more time
  • radiant heat floors
  • green flooring (cork or bamboo)
  • more cultural diversity in color schemes
  • pot-filler faucets, and
  • energy-saving appliances or accessories

But the single most striking trend?

“the urbanization of cities”: in essence, more and more people are moving out of the suburbs and into cities … [and] the new urbanites, apparently, are renovators.

… city dwellers are willing to spend freely on their smaller spaces. “A survey we did a couple years ago,” Wilkinson said, “noted that people who live in condominiums spend the same amount of money renovating their homes as people who have driveways and backyards.”

Source: Remodeling the American Dream, Inman News.

Interior Designers vs. Decorators vs. Political Commentators

A recent opinion column by George Will is stirring up a fuss the design community. Mr. Will, a Pulitzer Prize winning author, usually does political commentary … not Home & Garden news …

But in his recent column In the new West, its interior designers vs. decorators, Will points up some, in his opinion, absurdity implicit in some of the new laws separating Interior Designers from Decorators …

In Nevada, such regulation has arrived. So in Las Vegas, where almost nothing is illegal, it is illegal — unless you are licensed, or employed by someone licensed — to move, in the role of an interior designer, any piece of furniture, such as an armoire, more than 69 inches tall. A Nevada bureaucrat says that placement of furniture is an aspect of space planning and therefore is regulated — restricted to a registered interior designer.

Placing furniture without a license? Heaven forfend. Such regulations come with government rationing of the right to practice a profession. Who benefits? Creating artificial scarcity of services raises the prices of those entitled to perform the services. The pressure for government-created scarcity is intensifying because the general public — rank amateurs — are using the Internet to purchase things and advice, bypassing designers.

The column has generated some debate in the design community, including this response from Michael Alin, the Executive Director of the American Society of Interior Designers …

If furniture is placed in such a manner that it impedes egress during an emergency or exit pathways are not appropriately marked or laid out, people will die. Should a nonqualified, noneducated person select the materials for the interior of a hospital, nursing home, school or high-rise building?

And some conservative commentary backlash.

As with anything, there are two sides to the story. I think they both have a point … the question becomes where to draw the line. When do you need the regulated professional and when do you not? If it’s a question of building materials or decisions for hospitals, nursing homes, or even public buildings, yes it’s easy to agree we want the regulated professionals: lives are on the line. But put in that context, I know what I would prefer: not just an interior designer but a designer in conjunction with a dedicated safety professional.

Let’s take the argument outside of the public domain and into the private home. If it’s a question of a designer who is involved in writing the technical or construction specifications for my home, yes I want a trained, certified, regulated professional. Hands down, no questions asked. If it’s to place furniture in my home … what on earth for?

I think where the Interior Design profession opens itself up to criticism is when it attempts to apply the regulatory brush too liberally, when it tries to regulate tasks that just need “common sense” or where there are other professionals who could provide the needed guidance to the same level or better. Who’s going block the front door with a 69 plus inch armoire for lack of an Interior Designer’s instruction? Anybody? No takers? I can see someone blocking a rarely used back door that could serve as a fire exit. But in that case, who should be called? An Interior Designer or a Fire Marshall?? I’m thinking Fire Marshall. The point is, this type of unneeded regulation does nothing to enhance the perception of the Interior Design profession.

If there is anyone to benefit from the new laws in Nevada, it’s lazy spouses. As one commenter put it on,

Nevada, here I come. It’s the Land of Liberty. Why, every time my wife asks me to move this or that piece of furniture. I can demur, pointing out that I am not licensed to do that. Free … Free at last.

Ikea as the Mother of Invention

Came across an interesting blog the other day – ikeahacker. The challenge: take existing Ikea furniture, components or accessories and make them into something new. Each blog post features a new Ikea “hack”, either by the author or other Ikea fans.

The blog was started in

may 2006, i did a google search on ikea hacks and saw that there were so many wonderful ideas floating in the www. how great it would be if i could find them all in one place, i thought.
jules, the ikeahacker

Before: unassuming hemnes daybed

So he did. Projects range from the simple – transforming a roll of Ikea rationell drawer mat into a set of modern contemporary placemats and coasters to the complex.

After: cozy banquette for 2

Ikeahacker recently published its top ten and awards for 2006. The nominees ranged from using akurum kitchen wall cabinets to make a terrific sideboard to making sliding wardrobe doors into an ultra cool room divider.

Voted the best Ikea hack of 2006? The hemnes daybed turned banquette … wherein a mild-mannered daybed (above) is transformed into a cozy dining area for two (right).

Sometimes the hacks are about just making dodgy Ikea products actually work … there’s even a forum where you can ask other hackers for help. If you have a tip on “how to finally stop flimsy forby stools from wobbling”, ikeahacker would love to hear from you.

Eco-friendly stylish furniture from sustainable wood, twigs, reeds

Furniture made from reclaimed wood, sustainably harvested wood, and twig inspired pieces & accessories and are very fashionable right now. In the home décor world, green is the new black, so to speak. “Green” furniture was once only found in trendy, cutting edge stores but now more mainstream retailers like Crate & Barrel are taking notice.

Lockport Chair from Crate & Barrel

“I think it’s all part of this back-to-nature movement,” said Betty Kahn, spokesperson for Crate & Barrel. “Now, it seems very important that people just feel, inside or outside, that they’re going back to nature. People want to live green and this is part of that.”
Julie Young, Times-Dispatch

Crate & Barrel have just introduced a new line of furniture made from sustainably harvested wood and recycled fill.

Twisty Stool from VivaTerra

If you enjoy the look of wood, you should check out the VivaTerra catalog online. It features a wide range of striking pieces made from sustainable wood (the Twisty Stool made from Monkey Pod wood is a favorite, right), reclaimed woods with a more rustic feel (weathered hardwood salvaged from old houses, railroad ties, teak planks, barn beams), and twigs. See more at VivaTerra …

Looking for custom and one of a kind pieces? Or feeling crafty enough to make your own? Then check out the Twig Furniture Directory which features unique furniture made by artisans and how-to resources. Also check out this tutorial on How to make twig furniture on

Go Green With Style – The 2007 Domino Green List

Domino magazine has partnered with to produce their 2007 Green List, which celebrates companies and products for your home that are not only eco-friendly (either made from rapidly renewable resources, responsibly grown, recyclable, or biodegradable) but irresistibly stylish too. Winners include:

Explore more on

6 Interior Design Trends for your Home 2007

Everybody’s got a forecast or prediction for decorating and design in 2007. Here is CNNMoney’s list:

  1. Trim in bolder, deeper tones
  2. Engineered stone countertops
  3. The wrought iron fence
  4. Glass tiles over ceramic
  5. Your refrigerator or freezer in a drawer
  6. Recycled or unusual woods

View the full photogallery and details on Nice!

More Hot Home Improvement Trends for 2007

Forecasters have seen the color of 2007 and the color is “Green”. Homeowners will be buying more “green-friendly” furnishings and accessories this year as well as growing more organic gardens. Other trends include minimalist, natural colors for the home, more home automation, and bigger, badder home theatre / media rooms.

Read more from the experts in Trend forecast. Categories: House & Home, Gardening, Collecting, Birding, Home Improvement & DIY.

Hot Home Improvement & Decorating Trends for 2007

“Home-furnishings retailer ShowPlace Direct has identified some of the top decorating and home-improvement trends for 2007, based on polls conducted with U.S. interior design firms and furniture manufacturers. On the hot list: hardwood floors — especially bamboo — still reign, blue decor and furniture to capture the still popular “cottage look,” flat-screen TVs, screened-in porches or sunrooms, and energy-efficient faucets.
– Bonnie Britton, Indianapolis Star”

Read Sizzling ideas for 2007 on

  1. Search Blog

  2. Subscribe

    • Google Reader or Homepage
    • Add to My Yahoo!
    • Add to My MSN
    • Add to My AOL
    • Add to
    • Subscribe to RSS 2.0
    • Subscribe with Bloglines
    • Subscribe in NewsGator Online
    • Furl It
    • Subscribe in Rojo

  3. Add to Technorati Favorites
  4. Popular Posts

  5. Recent Posts

    1. New LED Under Cabinet Lights from DEKOR
    2. Worth reading: Ebuild’s 2009 Most Valuable Products
    3. Green Appliances: Energy efficiency makes a difference
    4. Does this energy efficient lightbulb make me look fat? Women shun CFLs in droves.
    5. Product Recall: Sauder Woodworking TV Stands Can Collapse
    6. Video: Good and Bad Home Remodeling Investments
    7. Concrete vs. asphalt driveways – which is better?
    8. Product Recall: Black & Decker GH1000 Grasshog XP String Trimmer / Edgers
    9. Do you need extra insurance during your renovation?
    10. ZZZerious emerging home trend: the snoring room
  6. Categories

  7. Archives