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These transitional kitchen ideas will help you style your kitchen for a timeless look. Learn how to embrace and create this design style.

What is the transitional style anyway? It’s the combination of traditional and modern styles. In other words, you take a classic kitchen layout which is designed in time-tested and trusted ways and add new trendy and bold elements. It’s a mix and match that results in a contemporary look that still maintains the traditional qualities.

You can say that it’s a “safe way” to design a kitchen. While you can experiment with modern decor, you are still anchored by the classic, timeless design. That’s why the transitional style has seen a significant increase in interest in recent years:

transitional kitchen interest
Data via Google Trends

You can see how interest has grown in the past 4 years, and it has almost doubled in the past 10 years!

This can be explained in two ways. First, people want to update their old kitchen design, which usually results in a transitional look. Secondly, they purposefully choose to create this style. Other designers, like Emily Henderson, go as far as calling it the modern traditional style. In a nutshell, it’s the transitional style taken one step further towards an elaborate traditional look (but still with modern accents).

Creating the Transitional Kitchen

If we dissect and sum up most transitional kitchen designs (such as we will see further), these are the main elements used to create this style:

  • Shaker cabinets give a traditional look like the ideal base for further decor
  • Stainless steel appliances provide an excellent modern accent
  • Natural wood softens all modern lines
  • Lighting can be both traditional and modern
  • Subway tile backsplash
  • Marble, and then more marble (Amber Lewis loves it to design her transitional kitchens)
  • Traditional fabrics as the window treatment
  • Mix and match furniture

Choose from this list to combine the different elements of both styles, and you have the perfect Pinterest/Instagram-worthy transitional kitchen.

Need inspiration? Check out the following interior design ideas for transitional kitchens.

Stainless Steel and Traditional Valances

Stainless Steel and Traditional Valances

Modern elements from the sleek stainless stove and hood to the uncomplicated ringed ceiling lights are offset by the charming appeal of the multi-paned windows with sills and soft plaid valances.

Natural Wood and Modern Furniture

Natural Wood and Modern Furniture

The upper cabinets, with their integration of traditional glass fronts and the minimalistic straight lines of rich wood doors sans hardware, create an eclectic focal point in this kitchen.

Modern Lighting and Shaker Cabinets

Modern Lighting and Shaker Cabinets

The stainless appliances, clean lines, and monochromatic appeal of this transitional kitchen are tempered by the softness of the spindled chairs and old-time grace of Edison bulbs in detailed geometric light fixtures.

Wooden Countertops and Black Cupboards

Wooden Countertops and Black Cupboards

The mellow tones of wood counters and a fashionably distressed chair and table breathe warmth into a kitchen with striking lines of pure black cupboards boasting fashionable, yet no-nonsense, stainless dowel handles.

Natural Stone and Modern Countertops

Natural Stone and Modern Countertops

Natural stone features behind the stove and along the side of the island are thwarted from creating a rustic flair by the cabinet’s straight lines, sleek hardware, and a polished waterfall countertop.

Rustic Accents and Modern Furniture

Rustic Accents and Modern Furniture

Features like the industrial clock, the unique geometric range hood, and pure white lines are balanced with the soft flowing grace of candelabras, antique furniture, and the soft curves of vintage sterling serving pieces.

Industrial Mix and Match

Industrial Mix and Match

Traditional meets modern with a concrete floor, a massive stainless fridge and industrial wheels on a floating island meeting softwoods, an intricately designed tile backsplash, and elegant crown molding topping the cupboards.

Subway Tile and Marble

Subway Tile and Marble

Timeless subway tiles blend with the softer, more traditional natural woods, elegant marble countertops, and greenery. It works well with the modern styling of minimalist pendant lights and a simple, unadorned picture window.

Craftsman and Stainless Steel

Craftsman and Stainless Steel

The shaker cabinets in this kitchen offsets stainless appliances for a blend of old and new, but the vintage industrial light fixture and the old farmhouse sink in stainless take the mix to a new level.

Transitional Natural Wood

Transitional Natural Wood

Uncomplicated recessed lighting reveals simple lines in cupboards with barely-there handles. An elegantly fuss-free backsplash and the subtle grain of wood and marble provide classic charm.

Hardwood Floor

hardwood floor

Everything in this kitchen, from the acrylic and stainless range hood to the sleek stainless pendant lights, screams modern, but the natural wood tone floor tempers the look with more traditional beauty.

Transitional Rustic Style with Modern Countertops

Transitional Rustic Style with Modern Countertops

Rustic wood and a delicate chandelier over the table provide traditional elements that are countered with industrial lighting in the food preparation area and sharp modern lines in the appliances and hardware.

Modern Lighting and Traditional Furniture

Modern Lighting and Traditional Furniture

An old-time pantry door and glass front cabinets indicate a traditional tone. But a closer look reveals modern elements like recessed and pendant lighting as well as a natural stone countertop.

Ceiling Beams with Transitional Furniture

Ceiling Beams with Transitional Furniture

The earthiness of ceiling beams and a multitude of natural wood tones are juxtaposed against straightforward hardware, skylights, and recessed ceiling. Under-cabinet lighting breathes new life into a classic room.

Traditional Backsplash

Traditional Backsplash

Pristine white and stainless features with geometrically simple hardware are paired with classic marble, wood tones, and soft upholstery while a tiled backsplash bridges the styles with a creative shift of a traditional tile layout.

Crown Molding

Crown Molding

Elaborate crown molding raised panel cabinet doors, and a decorative range hood provides some traditional elements. The recessed lighting, a large geometrically tiled floor, and stainless appliances keep it fresh and modern.

Wooden Island

Wooden Island

Shaker woodwork, pure white with splashes of color, and the gleam of stainless keep this kitchen edgy while the island’s warm wood tones, the glass front cupboards, and pretty pendant lights keep it homey.

Old-time and modern geometric hardware set the tone for an eclectic blend. The mix continues through the simple, yet multi-paned windows, can and pendant lighting and more for more eye-catching results.

Oversize Tiles and Natural Wood

Oversize Tiles and Natural Wood

Oversized tiles, the simplicity of unadorned cupboards, and the clean lines of the hood cover pop against the natural wood floor, table, and the touches of bright sunshine from the pots and greenery in the windows.

Accent Colors

Accent Colors

Royal blue leans towards more traditional features, as do varied cupboard handles and subway tile. The oversized geometric tiles, sleek stainless features, and simple cabinet fronts, however, give the kitchen enough modern flair to keep it trendy.

Scandinavian Influence

Scandinavian Influence

The stylized lighting and furniture, clean cabinet lines, and industrial hood contribute to the modern style of this room. The softwood grain accents and the glass front cabinets lend a softer classic touch that comes from the Scandinavian style influence.

Geometric Shapes

Geometric Shapes

The wood grain, marble, and backsplash pattern are examples of graceful traditional style. The kitchen takes on a classic modern flair when coupled with the edgy geometric light fixtures and simple cupboard fronts.

A modern waterfall countertop of traditional marble takes center stage in a kitchen with an old-time geometric patterned backsplash and cabinets with basic straight lines softened by touches of rich, warm wood tones.

White and Gold

White and Gold

This stunning mix of styles uses of crystal and industrial pendant lights, appliances behind ship lath doors with geometric handles, and edgy bar stools facing a rustic wood range hood cover.

Mosaic Backsplash

Mosaic Backsplash

Pristine white and Stainless lines abound in this transitional kitchen but are tempered by traditional touches like a whimsical floral mosaic backsplash, subtle marbling of the counters, and brightly lit glass door cabinets.