Transitional is a style that is very popular today because it lies somewhere between traditional and contemporary.
That sounds like a tall order, but basically it’s a less detailed traditional and a softer, more detailed contemporary. However, like contemporary style, it often uses neutrals and textures so the finished look is about comfort and practicality. This more relaxed style is common today because of busy, active families.
Notice the chair with cleaner lines than the traditional wingback yet softer curves than many of the straight lined contemporary styles.
The rug is neutral but more curvilinear and detailed like the traditional.
A simple pillow has some detail with the diamond top stitching and tacked on sequins but doesn’t go overboard. Even the color is just a bit more saturated than a neutral.
The mirror is a nice wood, but plain and casual. I think the soft curve at the top takes it from a strictly hard edged contemporary to a bit softer with some detail – traditional. In other words, it falls right in between both styles.
Fewer curves are seen on the floor lamp as well. To make this lamp more traditional, a curved shade could be added. However, the soft lines of the base make it difficult to put in the contemporary category as does the bronze finish.
In our transitional room you see some clean lines in the occasional tables but the soft round arms and back of the upholstery warms the room. The windows are still bare, though a drapery or blind would be fine – but there are more accessories to give warmth and personality.
Basically, if a room is too soft with rounded arms on the upholstery to be contemporary and has too many sharp edges on the occasional furniture to be traditional, it’s probably a transitional style room!