What is Transitional Kitchen Design?

According to research by the National Kitchen and Bath Association, transitional kitchen design is the most popular style with homeowners this year. So if you're looking to renovate your kitchen, you might want to consider it. Unfamiliar with design terminology? No worries, we're here to explain exactly what transitional designs entail, complete with photo examples from our favorite transitional kitchens in our portfolio.

What is transitional kitchen design?

To put it simple: transitional design is not quite modern, but not quite traditional, either. It's contemporary design with classic elements, or vice versa. Its blend of both spectrums of design is exactly what makes it so popular: it will go with nearly any style home.

How do you know if a transitional kitchen will work in your house?

Chances are, if you don't know specifically that you want an ultra sleek, minimalist kitchen, or you love the timeless, more ornate look of traditional design, you'll find the perfect happy medium with a transitional kitchen.

What does a transitional kitchen look like?

While transitional design is a broad category, there are some common threads that pop up over and over again in kitchen design.

Simple cabinetry. The first is simple, recessed-panel cabinetry, like Shaker-style. The simple doors combine the sleek look of contemporary design with the dimensional detail of traditional style. Flat front doors would be considered too modern for a transitional space, which arched or carved-panel doors would be too transitional.

transitional kitchen
transitional kitchen

A neutral palette. Transitional kitchens typically feature painted cabinetry in shades of white or gray. Wood tones, shades of brown, and colored cabinets are avoided.

Porcelain tile backsplash. Porcelain or marble tile are the most common backsplash choice in transitional kitchen design. While subway tile is far and away the most popular choice at the moment, smaller mosaic tiles are also a common choice. Typically, stainless steel, glass tile or glass sheet backslashes are reserved for more modern kitchens, while rough stone tile, ceramic tile and beadboard are more traditional.

Trendy details. Transitional kitchens provide a great canvas for incorporating trendy versions of details like lighting and hardware. These details make the kitchen look current and fresh, but can easily be swapped out in a few years if the look starts to feel dated. Brass fixtures and hardware, cup-style drawer pulls, and industrial-style lighting are popular choices.

Want to see more examples of transition kitchen design? Visit our Houzz profile to see hundreds of photos of our work.