Transitional Design: How to get the look by Laura U

Transitional marries the best of both worlds, old fashioned charm brought current into today’s world of sleek lines and modern finishes. Whether you're looking to design your space on your own or hire a professional it is important to understand that transitional style carves out it's own distinct niche. It may seem difficult to achieve a cohesive look when mixing two opposing styles. Let’s look a bit deeper into how to properly blend them.

We asked the very talented Laura U to share her tips to achieve this look. Read on for her tips about this style, color palettes, textures, furniture and accessories.


FROM LAURA:: While our portfolio ranges widely in terms of style, we are constantly receiving requests for transitional interiors. This look, which marries traditional and contemporary in a sophisticated and timeless manner, is achieved through soft textures, neutral tones, and bold furnishings. To attain this style, I would suggest the following:

Master bedroom with Transitional Design


"Ground your space in whites, creams, grays, and tans. Then, incorporate soft and subtle colors such as deep blues or verdant greens. This combination is serene, soothing, and a key component of transitional design."

The colors in a transitional space lean toward soft and subtle, not bright or high-contrast. That doesn't mean neutrals are the only color on the table, but there may be fewer colors incorporated into the overall decor itself. In transitional design you may notice the majority of color is seen incorporated in accessories, textiles and art while the key furniture pieces like the sofa and armchairs remain subtle and neutral.


"When it comes to the extras in your home, less is more. Make sure to incorporate pieces that tell your story and fit your lifestyle. This is also a great place to incorporate a touch of color. "

In Transitional design a minimalist approach is taken with carefully selecting accessories A lack of decoration keeps the focus on the simplicity and sophistication of the design. You may also use materials that were utilized in the past, but incorporated into the home either new or used this will add the personalized touch you are looking for. Incorporating art is a great way to personalize your space. Find one statement piece that you love and be intentional about where it is placed.


"Fabrics like chenille, suede, and leather are upon some of the most common textures found in transitional interiors."

We agree! Stone, metallic, suede, leather, cotton, wood, corduroy, rattan, steel, and the list goes on.  The point is, include them.  The lack of color makes room for interesting textures. Woven baskets and wooden trays paired with metallic or mirrored surfaces result in opposite elements co-existing beautifully. Accent pillows are also a great way to add splashes of texture, color, pattern, and interest.


"Straight lines and soft curves are an integral part of transition design. Pairing a contemporary sofa with barrel back chairs or a rounded cocktail table with a rectangular rug can be beautiful and creates a bit of visual interest."

Look for classic, comfortable selections with a shot of texture for interest. Durable materials with small tone graphics are commonly used in transitional furnishings but that doesn't mean shy away from leather and wood as these classics add a timeless touch.

Transitional will often also use contemporary furnishings mixed with antiques. While adding that unique flair is the goal, too many items will create unwanted clutter.  Give the pieces you love the spotlight they deserve!

"Above all else, my interiors reflect the personality of the people residing within them." - Laura U
Masterbedroom with Transitional Design
Living Room with Transitional Design
Dining Room with Transitional Design

Laura's Transitional Bedroom Furniture Favorites

Meet Laura U Interiors

Award-winning residential designer Laura Umansky founded Laura U Interior Design in 2006. For more than a decade, Laura and her growing team built a reputation for Laura Umansky is a Houston-based interior designer best known for her warm and luxuriously livable interiors.

1 comment

  • Mary Barnes

    I love the way you blend traditional with more contemporary. I have had several homes & have sold all but one. I’m having trouble getting my head around how to blend the things I live with a newer look. Do you do design work outside the Houston area? I live in Tulsa.

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