Transitional, or ‘eclectic’ design, is all the rage, blending both traditional and contemporary styles, mixing lines, colour, furniture, finishes, and materials.

The eclectic approach to design has increased in popularity for both residential and commercially designed spaces in recent years.  Compared to strictly traditional motifs, which are often perceived as formal, or stuffy, and more contemporary interiors, which can often feel cold, or gallery-like, eclectic or transitional spaces strike the perfect balance between class and comfort.

Outfitting a space with all the right accents and details is essential to the creation of a truly transitional surrounding. Selecting the right pieces, and putting these pieces in the right places, always being careful to juxtapose old with new, antique with unique, is all a part of the process.

Family treasures may have been passed down from one generation to the next, and may not reflect your own personal taste. That said, sentiment is a powerful thing, and parting with these pieces is often near impossible. So, don't put them out on the curb, put these pieces to work in your home. Transitional design has room for this dichotomy, the contrast between new and old, and invites you to see even your late grandmother's ugliest china vase in an entirely new light.  Eclectic design is the ultimate game of mix and match, blending clean lines, with artifacts, knickknacks, and unassuming accent pieces that positively pop.

Most people are drawn to several styles of furniture, some contemporary and some more traditional. The eclectic approach allows you to choose your favorite pieces that might not traditionally partner, and create a style of your own.


Some Guidelines to follow when aiming to achieve that excellent eclectic look...

One may think that with transitional design, the rule for a successful project is <em>anything goes</em>! Nope, this certainly is not the case. Transitional design is one of the most difficult styles to pull off successfully.

1. Choose the dominant overall look for the space. Pick a foundation, and either predominantly traditional or predominantly contemporary, and build upon it. Equal parts of each style will not work. One style must take center stage.

2. Select a curve, a line, a shape that defines a favorite piece you will be using in the space. Subtle repetition of an element will begin to unify your space. Alternatively, choose a new piece with a complimentary gesture. Be it the lines, finish, or proportion to create consistency.

3. Arrange furniture or millwork to allow the mix of the two differing styles to co-exist in the same grouping. Place a contemporary section beside an embellished cocktail table with mixed prints and pattern pillows. Use layers. Again, one piece should always be Alfa.

4. Mix fabric styles and textures. Upholster a contemporary sofa in a streamlined, clean fabric choice and contrast a group of chairs with more traditional fabrics.Or vise versa.

5. Combine textures. The mixture of textures and is a contemporary technique that works well when applied to transitional design. Use silks, cottons, corduroy, ultra suede, leather,&nbsp; linens then contrast with sleeker finishes of wood or the rough texture of honed granite, or the cool smoothness of polished marble or glass. Mix it up - this is what creates interest!

6. Balance colour: Be consistent in your colour scheme. Once you have selected your main and accent colours, ensure they are balanced throughout the space. Everywhere, especially when site lines are connected.

7. Balance pattern. Traditional relies heavily on pattern and heavy detailing, contemporary uses very little. In transitional design,&nbsp; distribute it carefully and consistently.

8. Accents: Accessories alone can change the feel of a room. Should you have a traditional based room, add contemporary accessories and artwork to give an easy eclectic mix.

9. Lighting: Play with traditional end tables with contemporary lamps. Try an exotic chandelier in a contemporary dining room - shake it up... again, and always, be consistent.

10. Keep it Simple. Use the credo that “less is more”. Start with the essentials and add only until it feels right. It's always easier to add than it is to take away, and it’s easier to be mindful of your budget this way too.

Check out the following images of transitionally design spaces we found on Houzz.com!

The Design Shop Girls