Traditional vs Transitional Interior Design: What’s The Difference?


There has been some debate through the years between traditional vs. transitional design and how they differ. While both aesthetics have some commonalities, they also have components that set them apart. As providers of traditional and transitional furniture in Grand Rapids, MI, we wanted to set out the key elements that distinguish the two choices.

Along with our in-house Interior Design Services, let us help you find the best fit for your home. Whether traditional furniture or transitional, we have all options available to meet your needs. 


One of the easiest ways to tell the difference between the two styles is their colors. You’ll quickly notice that many pieces that fit in with the traditional style are darker hues and rich textures. You will often see the addition of patterns such as plaid or paisley within the design. 

With transitional decor, you will notice many varieties of beige, tan, white, among other solid shades. Often the focus with transitional furniture and accessories is a neutral palette. However, a traditional option will afford you more variety and a mixture of different color options.

Design Era

When you are shopping for traditional furniture, you will be targeting pieces that are replicative of 18th and 19th century European styles. The items that you peruse will have more refined looks and has a focus on detail. These pieces are created with looks and style in mind. 

Alternatively, when entertaining traditional vs. transitional, you’ll see that transitional has a greater focus on the modern concept, which includes optimal comfort. While style will be at the center of both aesthetics, transitional will favor everyday living and comfort versus appearance. 

Mixing the two design eras can seem overwhelming. However, our Interior Design Services at Huizens can help you meld the two together seamlessly to create the exact look you are after.


The difference in the materials used in the creation of the furniture and decor pieces will also dictate the difference between the two options. Most frequently, you will see a combination of different materials, mainly wood, when incorporating transitional items. However, the style is not limited to wood and can contain other materials as well. 

Traditional items can also be made with wood but have more ornate details. Often you will see the addition of clawfoot finishes and intricate carvings within the furniture pieces themselves. At times you will see metallic inlays or accents. 

In Summary

It can be hard to pinpoint the exact differences between traditional vs. transitional. While there are several similarities, there are also definitive contrasts. Between the colors the styles embody, the specific eras they replicate, and the materials they are created from, they have elements that make them decidedly unique.

Are you interested in learning more about traditional furniture? If you’d like to speak with a member of our Interior Design Services team or take a look at the transitional furniture we have in stock, be sure to stop by our Grand Rapids, MI location today and Shop Our Selection!


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