Traditional vs. Transitional Kitchen Design for Your St. Louis Home


mcdermott remodeling traditional vs transitional kitchen designHow would you define your design aesthetic? They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder and never is that truer than in home design and renovation. 

When it comes to remodeling your kitchen, there are many options to choose from, and sometimes it can be hard to make up your mind. Perhaps you’ve already taken some time to explore the web, and maybe you have some Pinterest boards started already. 

Inspirational? Overwhelming? Remodeling is all that! 

Whatever style you choose, you can have functionality to match. But with home design, the practical and the beautiful go hand in hand. 

To narrow down the choices, it may help to split design choices into two larger categories. In the design world, these are called ‘traditional’ and ‘transitional.’ But what defines each? And how do you know which one is right for you? Let’s break it down. 

Traditional Kitchen Design

mcdermott remodeling traditional vs transitional kitchen design

Traditional decor is inspired by elegance and luxury. It is most often populated with items reminiscent of times long past – the type of sophistication and grandeur we’re used to seeing in period films.

And while the past inspires these designs, traditional styles don’t have to look dated. They often draw influence from 17th, 18th, and 19th-century aesthetics, and are beloved for their refinement and polish. 

Traditional kitchens are recognizable for their decorative and dramatic look. They tend towards symmetry and complementary features, allowing one aspect to stand out as the focal point, while the others enhance that look. These designs often lend a warm, weighty feeling, evoking substance and history. 

In traditionally-styled kitchens, you’ll find ornate embellishments, classical shapes, and luxurious finishes. The ideal look is one of craftsmanship, although that’s not to say that transitional designs aren’t well-crafted; traditional styles are just more obvious about showing it off. 

Some find this style to be a bit over the top, while others love it for its distinctive, elegant flair. 

The traditionally-styled kitchen may include features like these: 

  • Carved and inlaid details
  • Rich, textured hues
  • Gentle, rounded silhouettes
  • Embellished ornamentation
  • Corbels
  • Natural materials like wood and stone
  • Glass-front cabinetry
  • A gas cooktop with a range hood
  • Chandeliers, sconces, and elegant pendant lighting 

Traditional is ornamental, showy, and sometimes a bit ostentatious. If you like antiques and prefer time-honored design with a little history, then traditional is the way to go. 

Transitional Kitchen Design 

mcdermott remodeling traditional vs transitional kitchen design

Transitional design combines traditional elegance and contemporary chic. It’s more modern, creative, and practical, while still incorporating the classical elements so common in traditional styles. Where traditional designs can be rich and even gaudy by some standards, transitional is more subtle and quietly elegant. 

Transitional kitchens are typically a bit more relaxed and comfortable than the so-called ‘fancier’ traditional kitchen. Bold patterns and fussy design elements are generally kept to a minimum. The transitional model features neutral hues and clean lines combined with classical curves, modern comfort and function, and a minimal approach overall. 

But even though transitional kitchens trend towards a simpler aesthetic, there’s also a subtle, underlying love for the unconventional. This style emphasizes mixing fabrics and textiles and has a fondness for subtle geometrical patterns. Plus, having a neutral palette doesn’t mean you can’t get colorful with the décor; you’ll often see a bold color repeated throughout the space, providing the perfect pop. 

Transitional deftly balances hard and soft, elegant and edgy, modern, and timeless. You might say, a traditional kitchen screams luxury, while a transitional kitchen whispers it. 

In a transitional kitchen, you can expect to see things like: 

  • Edgy and industrial style influences
  • Neutral tones accented with occasional bright or pastel hues
  • Human-made materials and mixed textiles
  • Clean lines
  • Modern, high-tech appliances
  • Lack of ornamentation
  • Blended elements that complement each other without matching
  • Funky and unique components paired with classic simplicity
  • Minimal and airy layouts without being empty or sparse 

In closing, everyone has their own style preference. And getting your kitchen’s look just right should never mean having to compromise function or breaking the bank. Whatever your style, needs, or budget may be, there’s always a way to get the look and feel you’re after. 

To bring your kitchen design dreams to life, you need a good team behind you. At J.T. McDermott, our number one goal is to give you the result you see in your mind’s eye. Whether your style is traditional or transitional, we guarantee you a kitchen you’ll love. Reach out today to learn more about what we can do for you. 

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