20 Transitional Living Room Ideas for a Timeless Look

This decorating style combines modern and traditional elements for sophisticated but approachable living spaces.

<p>Werner Straube </p>

Werner Straube

Transitional style is a blend of modern and traditional elements. It's an approachable style because it allows you to work with what you have and purchase pieces that catch your eye, rather than selecting furniture and decor based on a specific era or look. Transitional style also utilizes a restrained color palette, which can make design decisions easier. The focus on neutral colors not only allows different design styles to work together, but it also creates an instantly serene, relaxing space.

Because this design style is so forgiving, there are many ways to achieve the calm, timeless look. We're sharing our favorite transitional living room ideas so you can create the look in your own living room.

Related: Soft Transitional Is the Biggest Decorating Style of the Year—Here’s Why

Mix Prints and Accessories

<p> John Stoffer</p>

John Stoffer

Handmade items bring a lot of warmth to a room, and they can lean modern or traditional. Graphic prints or modern art like the ikat upholstery and photography used here feel modern and balance out the more traditional accessories, such as the paisley-printed ottoman and the handmade jug vases.

Related: 20 Living Room Furniture Layouts That Make the Most of Your Space

Highlight Architectural Details

<p>Julie Soefer</p>

Julie Soefer

This room keeps it classic, with a few modern lines and finishes to punch up the elegant, traditional architecture. Clean-lined stone cocktail tables and sand-colored drapes speak to the impressive fireplace. A deep army green sofa cleverly bridges the warm beiges and cool grays and blacks for a cohesive, neutral color palette.

Pair Old and New

<p>Joyelle West </p>

Joyelle West

The steel and wood coffee table atop a vintage wool rug is a subtle but dynamic mix that keeps this room looking fresh. Once you have your large items chosen, such as the soft linen furniture in this room, see if you need more 'hard' or modern items or more traditional accessories to soften the room.

Related: How to Find the Best Vintage Home Decor, According to a Pro

Warm Color Palette

<p>Jay Wilde</p>

Jay Wilde

Opt for a warm color palette to make modern furniture feel inviting and less stark. The warm green bookshelves in this living room ground a cozy array of cream, beige, and brown furniture and accessories. Despite using mostly modern furniture, this room is anything but cold.

Related: 11 Cozy Paint Colors to Warm Up a Room

Choose Upholstery Wisely

<p>Edmund Barr</p>

Edmund Barr

Material choice makes a huge difference when you're combining eras. While a slipcovered sofa may scream modern to some, the worn navy linen makes it feel old-world. Similarly, the gray tweed on the mid-century chairs is a timeless fabric that's much more versatile than a plaid or other pattern.

Simple Living Room Decor

<p>Werner Straube </p>

Werner Straube

Transitional can lean minimalist because it's about highlighting the things you really love and nothing more. You can see and appreciate the stunning architecture and millwork in this living room because it's styled with equally sophisticated but simple, modern furniture and art.

Related: 7 Colorful Millwork Ideas to Highlight Your Home's Architecture

Muted Color Palette

<p>Erin Little</p>

Erin Little

If your style is funkier, but you still want the cohesive look of transitional style, choose a couple more saturated colors to repeat. Here, brick red and navy blue are featured in the paintings, the rug, the coffee table, and the accent chair. The look stays grounded because the rest of the room is kept neutral.

Related: 33 Living Room Color Schemes for a Beautiful, Livable Space

Mix Modern with Vintage

<p>Karyn Millet</p>

Karyn Millet

Modern architecture is the perfect setting to display collections from any era. The clean lines and minimal decoration allow the things you love to truly shine. Don't be afraid to show off vintage items in a more modern room; the mix will make both styles sing.

Related: 7 Tips for Adding Vintage Home Decor to Your Current Design Style

Combine Colorful Accessories

<p>Marty Baldwin</p>

Marty Baldwin

This room uses a simple formula for a timeless room: Traditional architecture, modern furniture, and colorful, playful accessories. You can easily apply this combination in your living room, changing up the accessories to suit your style. Bonus: If ever you need a fresh look, you can change out the smaller items rather inexpensively.

Highlight Design Details

<p>Jared Kuzia Photography</p>

Jared Kuzia Photography

Simple, modern furniture is a great way to draw the eye to more intricate features in the room, like the impressive wood-clad ceiling and large beams in this living room. The comfortable but sleek furniture takes an understated backseat, allowing the architecture to shine.

Related: These Vaulted Ceiling Ideas Create a Dramatic Living Space

Glam Transitional Living Room

<p>Joyelle West</p>

Joyelle West

Even though it's calming, neutral, and elegant, this transitional living room is also, dare we say, glam. The restrained color palette—black, white, and brown—allows many elements and eras to play nicely together. A tufted ottoman, a fawn-print rug, and a regency mirror add serious style without sacrificing serenity.

Related: See How This Small Studio Apartment Got a Glam Makeover

Include Natural Elements

<p>Brie Williams </p>

Brie Williams

Items from nature help bridge modern elements with traditional ones. Create more harmony in your transitional living room by including things like natural wood, plants, and found nature items. Even the birch logs in this living room feel somehow contemporary and timeless at the same time.

Related: 30 White Living Room Ideas That Create a Fresh, Modern Look

Use Simple Millwork

<p>Paul Dyer</p>

Paul Dyer

If you know you like a mix of styles, going simple with the millwork in your room is a great way to make the rest of your furnishings fit in. These built-ins have enough detail to complement traditional furniture, but they're simple enough to make sense alongside the modern fireplace and accessories.

Related: 31 Built-In Bookshelf Ideas for Every Room in Your Home

Midcentury Meets Transitional

<p>Jay Wilde</p>

Jay Wilde

Organic accessories add a cozy factor to this otherwise midcentury living room. Following the architecture of the home, the couch and chairs are modern. Natural elements like a leather pouf, plants, woven pillows, and a spot for firewood soften the modern lines for a transitional look.

Related: The 7 Best Midcentury Modern Couches of 2024, According to Our Research and Testing

Sophisticated Transitional Living Room

<p>Erin Kunkel</p>

Erin Kunkel

To make simple architecture more soft and inviting, add some traditional pieces like the wingback chairs, roll-arm sofa, and ottoman in this living room. Graphic items like the rug and woven accent chair create the transitional blend, as they speak to the more modern style of the room.

Related: 12 Modern Living Room Ideas That Are Anything But Boring

Mix Texture and Materials

<p>Werner Straube</p>

Werner Straube

The subtle palette of transitional rooms allows you to play with texture. Here, boucle, woven, and velvet furniture blend seamlessly with a paper chandelier, a vintage wool rug, and a granite fireplace. These many elements work in harmony, thanks to the restrained palette of rust and cream.

Related: 5 Ways to Add Texture into Your Home, According to Interior Designers

Choose Timeless Finishes

<p>Jay Wilde</p>

Jay Wilde

This simple sitting room is practically minimalist, but thanks to careful furnishing choices, it still feels warm, sumptuous, and timeless. The honey colored leather on the sofa and the overstuffed chair cushions temper the modern lines of the furniture and help them blend into the classic brick room. When choosing plants for a transitional room, think about whether your room needs more softness (leafy plants) or more modern elements (something sleek like a snake plant).

Related: 11 Minimalist Living Room Ideas to Simplify Your Space

Modern Transitional Living Room

<p>Matthew Williams</p>

Matthew Williams

Modern furnishings in a soft color palette complement the delicacy of classic architecture while providing a fresh point of view. Here, blonde wood tables and a gray midcentury couch in a similar tone are all distinctly modern, yet because of the muted color scheme, the overall look is more ballet than Bauhaus.

Related: 12 Modern Living Room Ideas That Are Anything But Boring

Choose Statement Art

<p>Sara Bradley</p>

Sara Bradley

The laid-back, neutral style of transitional rooms calls for a statement piece. In this case, modern art stands out amidst the mostly white surroundings. Thanks to the juxtaposition inherent in this style, any style of art you love will look good.

Related: 34 Creative Wall Art Ideas to Fill Blank Spots with Personality

Tonal Transitional Living Room

<p>Anne Schlechter</p>

Anne Schlechter

This room uses a cool palette to achieve the soothing tonal look of transitional style. Most of the furniture is midcentury, and the accessories are handmade or natural items that warm up the space.

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