Transitional Kitchen Design: A Creative Mix of Old and New

transitional design


If you’re looking to create a relaxed and welcoming space (but prefer a mix of styles, materials and patterns) you’ll appreciate the refined but eclectic feel of the transitional kitchen. This popular design type blends newer, cleaner lines with traditional style cues to create a space that is familiar, current and highly functional.

Because this design type bridges traditional and contemporary styles, it can be a bit hard to pin down or define. In general, though, it’s more decorative than a contemporary kitchen, but not rigid, formal or fussy like a traditional kitchen. (Properly confused yet?)

The bottom line is, when a transitional kitchen is done right, you’ll have a streamlined look with a neutral color palette, a mix of textures and materials, and refined touches that make it feel cozy and lived in.

Ready to walk this tightrope? Here are some common elements that will make designing for the transitional kitchen a breeze.

Mix of natural textures and tones with man-made materials

Traditional design is all about natural materials, and contemporary kitchens embrace all that material science has to offer, while the transitional kitchen is sure to do both (and make it look effortless).

Here, a concrete countertop is right at home on top of classic stained wood cabinetry. Likewise, stainless steel appliances are equally harmonious with a salvaged butcher-block island. To achieve the timeless transitional look, embrace both the old and new to create a space that defies definition.

Use a neutral palette to keep everything relaxed and coordinated

We’ve got nothing against a splash of color here and there. (In fact, we welcome it!) But transitional kitchens mostly revolve around neutral colors in shades of white, ivory, beige, tan, grey and natural greens and blues for an uncomplicated and tranquil feel.

Incorporate lots of textural interest

While the transitional style keeps to a short list of colors, you have free reign to explore all the finishes and textures under the sun.

Love that intricately tiled backsplash? Go nuts! Driftwood chandelier? Yes and YES. Rough stone floor and high gloss cabinetry? Sounds amazing.

As long as the lines are clean and the colors jive, go nuts with all the textural elements you want. There’s just one rule: don’t be boring!

Simple cabinet lines that aren’t too modern

The transitional kitchen is clean and not overly elegant, and your cabinets will follow suit with clean, straight lines and simple, straightforward hardware. Stained or painted wood keeps cabinets in this style from looking too modern, and keeping them flat faced or lightly styled ensures they won’t look overly traditional.

Blend old and new to make it feel like home

The transitional kitchen is unstuffy, unfussy and delights in the unexpected. If anything, this is your chance to let your personality and creativity shine.

Found and salvaged objects work well in the transitional kitchen just as well as heirlooms, antiques, or that cool Target fruit bowl. Whatever you like, make your kitchen look like you.

Remember: If you’d like some expert advice, tips and personalized pointers, our talented designers are just a phone call away. You’re invited to stop by a Marsh Kitchens design center anytime to talk with a seasoned designer and see more examples of transitional design.