Kitchen trends explained: Transitional kitchen design

Kitchen trends explained: Transitional kitchen design

Kitchen trends come and go, so how do you choose a style without risking it being outdated by the time you sell your home? A transitional kitchen design solves this dilemma by combining traditional and modern elements in a cohesive way. With a little bit of planning, you can have the best of both worlds and create a space that’s both on trend and timeless.

What is a transitional kitchen?

The word ‘transitional’ refers to the transition between old and new, traditional and modern, ornate and minimalist. The main goal is to take the cosy aspects of traditional designs and bring them together with the clean lines of a modern kitchen. By doing so, transitional kitchen designs sit in the sweet spot between contemporary and traditional elements. As a result, you get a versatile aesthetic that suits many different of homes.

A benefit of using a traditional kitchen design is its flexibility. There is no rule that says the ratio between traditional and modern needs to be 50:50, so you can fully tailor it to your own design preferences. You like modern aspects and clean lines? Put more minimalist elements into your kitchen design. Prefer the cosy aspects of a traditional kitchen? Add some more decorative aspects to your kitchen.

A transitional kitchen with an open floor concept consisting of an island and a dining space.
Source: Harvey Jones via Homes & Gardens

Design elements of a transitional kitchen

When designing a transitional kitchen, it is important to consider how the various design elements interact with each other.


In terms of colour, this is usually done by sticking with a neutral colour scheme. Whites, greys, beiges, dark blues and even stained wood can be styled to be sophisticated or monochrome, depending on whether you’re going more towards traditional or modern. These neutral colours can also be flexibly combined with various other design elements, so they provide the perfect canvas for transitional kitchens.


Next it is important to find a balance between modern and traditional elements. This is usually done by not going to extremes in either direction. You want neither plain, hardware-free lacquer cabinets, nor intricate wooden ones. Shaker-style cabinets are often the go-to choice for transitional kitchens because they offer clean lines without being too plain. A similar principle applies to worktops; clean lines are chosen over decorative edge treatments.


In terms of materials, natural materials are the most timeless option. For cabinets this means painted wood and woodgrain are the most popular choice. For worktops, solid stones like quartz and marble are the go-to. Both are also a great way to add texture to your kitchen, using the natural patterns in the materials.

The easiest way to create a cohesive transitional kitchen is to put together a mood board of the various design choices you would like to incorporate. Thanks to the adaptable nature of the design elements, it’s easy to mix and match to get a look that is unique to you and also stands the test of time.

A transitional kitchen with open shelves, textured brick walls and stone work surfaces
Source: Future via Livingetc
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