Style Spotlight: The Transitional Kitchen 

See why the crisp, uncluttered look of a transitional-style kitchen is a great choice for so many remodeling projects. 


What Is a Transitional-Style Kitchen? 

Like the name suggests, transitional style bridges the gap between two other styles – traditional and contemporary. Think of transitional style as the best of both worlds, giving you the freedom to blend time-honored traditional elements with more modern touches typically reserved for contemporary spaces. Since you’re not forced to follow strict definitions of either style category, transitional kitchens often have a relaxed and casual atmosphere.


You’ll find plenty of character in a transitional-style space, but it’s always executed in a clean, understated way. The result is both tidy and timeless:

  • Shaker-style doors are a great choice because they adapt well to nearly every design style. The simple, square lines suggest modern, but the frame and recessed panel construction still read as classical cabinetry.
  • The easy-going vibe calls for a light, neutral-dominated color palette. Cool neutrals will shift the look to more contemporary, while neutrals with warmer undertones will feel more traditional. If a color is used, it’s normally soft and muted. (Darker colors, like Greyloft or Husk, can add a layer of sophistication when paired with white in a dual-tone color scheme.)
  • Consider countertops that have consistent color with little veining or pattern and a simple eased- or beveled-edge profile.
  • A simple backsplash tile pattern, like an offset subway or mosaic grid, fits the transitional look.
  • Details are subtle. Instead, texture helps to add interest. Think: a translucent finish to let the natural woodgrain of your cabinetry peek through, or polished hardwood floors next to an exposed brick wall.

Mix Old and New

Don’t be afraid to pair styles from different eras and influences. An eclectic collection of furnishings, such as acrylic chairs with a vintage dining table. A faucet in a traditional shape, but with a contemporary finish. A bold, mid-century pendant above a farmhouse sink. As long as the item you love blends into the overall look without calling too much attention to itself, it works.

A Great Compromise 

Perhaps transitional style is so popular because it is the perfect choice for couples who can’t agree. For example, you may think contemporary is too cold, but your better half thinks traditional is too formal or stodgy. With a transitional kitchen, they’ll love the clean, tailored look and you’ll love the welcoming character.

Get Inspired

Still trying to picture if transitional style is the right style for you? Browse our transitional kitchen gallery to see more examples and get transitional kitchen ideas for your project.