Design 101: Traditional vs Transitional Interiors

By: Casey Gerber

February 6, 2015

Ever wonder what makes a traditional or transitional design? We’ve got a few tricks that will help you detect the differences between the two.


TRADITIONAL – Traditional design has its roots in 18th century England and French countryside. The style is known for its warm, inviting interiors that scream comfort.

Design 101: Traditional vs Transitional Interiors, Laurel & Wolf, pic1

via Houzz

Bronze accents, a rich chandelier and luxe drapes are common in traditional interiors. Wall sconces with ivory shades and detailed millwork create a for a warm environment in the bathroom.

Traditional color schemes typically include neutral tones with warm, rich woods. Office’s usually feature dark wood tones and coffered ceilings.

Symmetry is important to traditional design. The furnishings are balanced to create a room that invites conversation. Accents include plump cushions, plentiful pillows and silk flowers in intricate vases.

Traditional kitchen designs often feature soft, curved edges and natural stone, such as granite countertops. Walnut railings are also common, with detailed millwork being found on staircases and wood molding.
Shop the Traditional Look:
Design 101: Traditional vs Transitional Interiors, Laurel & Wolf,
Design 101: Traditional vs Transitional Interiors, Laurel & Wolf,
Design 101: Traditional vs Transitional Interiors, Laurel & Wolf,

TRANSITIONAL – Transitional design combines the best of traditional and contemporary styles to create a timeless interior that everyone will love. Together, they form a perfect balance of masculine and feminine resulting in elegant designs.
Transitional designs are known for their subtle and clean color palettes, which create relaxing and uncomplicated rooms. Accents of rich wood are typically added to create warmth.

With transitional design, soft-colored carpets or warm wood floors are accented with a textured rug.

Clean lines and rounded profiles keep the room feeling fresh and comfortable. The result is a room that is not too manly and not too frilly.

A statement light fixture and minimal accents exude a sense of simplicity and sophistication. A neutral backdrop allows the clean lined millwork to have a powerful impact in the space. It pairs perfectly with simple hardware and sleek stainless steel.

Shop the Transitional Look:

Design 101: Traditional vs Transitional Interiors, Laurel & Wolf,

Lighting: Shadwell 6-Light Candle-Style Chandelier // Oslo 3-Light Mini Pendant by Ink + Ivy

Design 101: Traditional vs Transitional Interiors, Laurel & Wolf,

Rug + Mirror: Distressed Arabesque Wool Rug // Foil Finish Mirror

Design 101: Traditional vs Transitional Interiors, Laurel & Wolf,

Lantern + Baskets: Nantucket Brass Lantern // Wire Mesh Storage Basket

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