Traditional or Transitional? Contemporary or Modern? People throw these terms out like Oprah with presents during the month of December. The truth is, these are used by clients and designers so interchangeably that it can be very difficult to know what styles the other party truly likes because of the perceptions they have on these words. Let’s look at each term and simplify.
Traditional Style can be characterized by European influences, Dark Rich Colors, Regal Furniture, Elegant Furnishings and Ornate Architectural Elements.
Traditional design is a timeless style that exemplifies elegance and comfort. These spaces usually have a neutral paint color on the walls so the room’s colorful furniture, artwork and accent pieces can pop. You’ll find a lot of claw-foot and button-tufted pieces, armchairs, carved wood and metallic details. Traditional furniture is generally made from mahogany, maple and cherry. Architectural details are what make a traditional home design, well, traditional! Built-in cabinetry, crown molding, columns, wood paneling, and tray or coffered ceilings harken back to the 18th and 19th century home while also adding a touch of opulence. Symmetry is paramount in traditional design. Almost everything comes in pairs. This includes sofas, chairs, end tables, lamps, sconces and accessories. The purpose of pairing these pieces is to create a balanced space around an important focal point – usually a fireplace, television or piece of art.
Transitional interior design is a fusion of traditional and contemporary styles. It borrows from the best of both worlds to create a balanced and sophisticated space attuned to your needs, tastes and lifestyle. Transitional Style can be characterized by Neutral Colors, Refined Furnishings, Simple Lines Natural Elements, Neutral Floors, Minimalism and Understated Sophistication.
Designing a home in shades of tan, beige, taupe, ivory and grey will make the space feel peaceful and comfortable. Neutral wall colors also serve as the perfect backdrop for your furniture, accent and statement pieces, and artwork. Like its contemporary counterparts, transitional style home design celebrates tailored lines and simple architecture. This style has a wonderful mix of straight and rounded profiles to achieve a balance of feminine and masculine design elements. Touches of natural elements like woods or natural stones, like marbles, will make any space feel warmer and more welcoming…and this style is all about serenity!
Contemporary vs. Modern
Style Modern or contemporary design…is there really a difference? This question has been haunting homeowners for years! Yes, there is and here’s what it is.
Contemporary interior design is all about the here and now. It flaunts what’s happening in today’s world of interior design. It is constantly evolving – it plays around with conventions, embraces new ideas, and takes on different forms as each season comes and goes. While contemporary design stays in the moment, modern design lives in the past.
Modern design showcases a specific era in time. Modern interior design refers to the styles of the early to mid–20th century – specifically the 1920s through the 1950s. For this reason, modern design never changes. It is meant to capture and celebrate the style and mood of a specific era. It is the very definition of timeless! While these time periods can be anything from art deco to Bauhaus, mid-century modern style is considered the crown jewel of modern interior design.
Ultimately, it all comes down to this – modern interior design is all about seizing a moment in time, while contemporary design observes the present moment. Whichever style speaks to you, all are guaranteed to leave a lasting impression.