What Exactly Is Transitional Styling?

In early February, kitchen designers and industry professionals from across the USA converged in Las Vegas for the annual Kitchen Bath Industry Show (KBIS) which was held in conjunction with the International Builder's Show (IBS).  Although final numbers have not been released, the two shows were expected to draw around 70,000 residential building professionals.

During the show, over 1500 exhibitors showcased new products, and hundreds of professional development courses were available for pros to hone their skills and continue developing their product expertise.  During one of those events, the Research Institute for Cooking & Kitchen Intelligence (RICKI) presented their findings from a recent poll of designers and homeowners. 

One of the interesting topics highlighted during this session was the popular styling theme "Transitional", and how although it is common vernacular in the design community, it is not fully understood or identifiable among consumers.  Outside the sphere of design and architecture, the term "Transitional" design is vague and confusing and this presents an opportunity for designers to be more specific and definitive with their customers.

In 2012, the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) reported that for the first time in its polling history, Transitional design had displaced Traditional design as the most popular design theme.  That held true in 2013 as well and the trend looks to continue strongly in 2014 and beyond.

So what exactly is Transitional Styling? 

Possibly the best way to describe Transitional styling is that it is a mix of Traditional and Contemporary styling.  It takes the best of both worlds and encompasses a design characterized with clean lines, simple styling and an open floor plan focusing on classic, comfortable and practical looks.  It is not ornate or over detailed, and it is not high-gloss and ultra contemporary.  Oftentimes the clean simple lines of Shaker styling would be included in a Transitional design theme. 

Also, it's important to note that although painted kitchens are VERY popular right now and many painted kitchens are a clean, transitional design, paint itself does not define Transitional styling.  There are many beautiful stained wood kitchens that have a Transitional design as well.

Here are several examples of kitchens with a Transitional Design theme.

Transitional Design theme dining room and kitchen design.

Transitional Kitchen Design

Transitional White Kitchen

Transitional Kitchen & Dining Room in Minneapolis, MN

Transitional Kitchen by Venegas and Company

Transitional and Eclectic Kitchen Design by Venegas and Company


Karen Wistrom's picture

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