The Trend is Transitional
Top designers define and share tips for the most popular style in kitchens today.
Synopsis: For good reasons, transitional-style kitchens are in high demand. In contrast to the more ostentatious kitchens popular before the Great Recession, transitional kitchens feature neutral colors, clean lines, and modern appliances, along with a few traditional elements. One of the goals of a transitional design is to avoid having a kitchen that will seem dated after a few years. With a transitional-style kitchen, homeowners who grow tired of a particular element or two can simply replace those elements with new ones, and doing so won’t disrupt the overall design.
If you watch home-design shows on TV, or read shelter magazines, or use Pinterest or Instagram, you’ve seen transitional-style kitchens. Think neutral colors, clean lines, and modern appliances, warmed up with a few traditional details and natural materials, and possibly embellished with a funky touch or two. The popularity of transitional kitchens is a shift away from the more ostentatious kitchens of a decade ago. “When the economy tanked, homeowners had to reevaluate every purchase,” says Portland, Ore., designer Amy Troute. “Budgets were smaller and needed to be used smarter. The move to stylish simplicity — the transitional style — was born from that need.”
Transitional is something of a catch-all term that refers to a mix of contemporary and traditional elements. The style is versatile and adapts well to different regions, as well as to both old and new houses. According to polls by the National Kitchen and Bath Association, transitional has been the most popular style in kitchen design for a few years. Every kitchen designer I spoke to across the country said the same. They love it, and their clients do, too.
A few designers echoed the experience of Chicago designer Chad Esslinger: “My own style is eclectic — combining aesthetics — it’s not quite modern, not…