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7 Key Elements of Transitional Design

By 3 minute read

Last updated on September 17th, 2019

Transitional design has become one of the most sought-after styles for today’s discerning homebuyers. Achieved through a carefully curated mix of contemporary and traditional elements, it appeals to a broad audience because of its flexible interpretation.

When sophisticated, timeless elements are juxtaposed with colors and forms that take on a more modern spirit, the unexpected combinations become decidedly harmonious, exciting, and memorable. Below, see how the 7 key elements of transitional design are beautifully incorporated into two Toll Brothers model homes.


1. Appropriate Scale

The Regency at South Whitehall’s Berwick model features a classic coffered ceiling in the great room, with a modern inset of light wood. The multi-tiered chandelier is the perfect scale, emphasizing the architectural interest and commanding attention. The two-story marble fireplace utilizes the volume of the space and creates a traditional elegance. The large abstract art coupled with straight-lined furniture nods to contemporary styling, achieving the transitional look many are seeking.


2. Texture

Edison bulbs and oil rubbed bronze light fixtures crown the dining room, as a modern take on a Persian rug adorns the floor. The mirrored wood panel wall is precisely positioned to reflect the dining fixtures, while the wood trim adds rustic texture and creativity to this transitional dining room. 


3. Neutral Color Palette

A neutral color palette always makes way for sophistication. The contemporary-classic, white waterfall island combines with light grey shaker cabinets and traditional, neutral furnishings to showcase a perfect transitional blend. The nook fixture takes the classic drum shade and wraps it in bent, brushed brass to fuse a traditional light with modernity. 


4. Contrast

The beauty and intrigue of transitional design is that it can evolve throughout a home. This owner’s suite continues the use of the neutral tones from the great room and kitchen, and introduces drama by way of contrast with a black and white ceiling detail and rug. Simple, clean trim detail on the bed wall, partnered with an iron headboard, honor traditional lines. The unexpected midcentury nightstands provide a unique and memorable accent that hints at a youthful expression.


The study is a lesson in design continuity. The neutral palette, accented with contrasted black and white art and draperies, complements the home’s transitional aesthetic. Industrial accents and vintage-inspired lighting are paired with ebony-stained millwork to create intrigue and the ultimate two-toned balance.


5. Complimentary Styling

The Bucknell from The Preserve at Emerald Pines in Methuen, MA embraces a transitional “East Coast Contemporary.” The inspiration behind this design was complimentary styling, which began with a deep respect for the strong traditional values of the area, and providing an interesting, contemporary twist. Furniture colors and accessories carry a soft, neutral theme, allowing the spectacular tone-on-tone trim and striking linear chandelier to shine.


6. Limited Accessory Use

Limiting the accessory use allows other design elements to speak for themselves. In this instance, minimal to no accessories adorn the kitchen, allowing the staggered pendants, charcoal slab cabinets, and a show-stopping marble waterfall island to capture contemporary sleekness. The apron-front sink and metal barstools lend a bit of farmhouse fun to the kitchen.


7. Clean Lines

The combination glass and metal chandelier adds sophistication to this comfortable, grounded great room.  The crisp, clean lines of the metal-accented leather chairs and straight-lined upholstery and furnishings complete this transitional look.


Utilizing these seven key elements allows spaces to bridge the movement of change from classic styling and contemporary elements, achieving the ultimate transitional design.

To view more of these two models, head over to Possibilities’ website.

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Possibilities For Design

written by

For more than three decades, Possibilities has specialized in creative interior design and merchandising solutions for national homebuilders and developers in need of compelling and inviting model homes. As one of the most awarded firms in the country, Possibilities blends current trends with buyer preferences to create spaces that inspire and delight.


  1. Avatar

    I really love The interior design of the Toll Brothers models from around the country. Is there a source where I can find out paint colors that were used in some model homes?

    • Avatar
      Andrew Espinoza

      Hi Dina, we appreciate your kind words! Are there any specific models or rooms that you are interested in? With this information, we can better assist with identifying the select color you are looking for.

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