Transitional Eclectic Design for Your St. Louis Home


Transitional design can be described as an approach that bridges that gap between contemporary and traditional. You get a little bit of both, so you can do some more detailed pieces, such as on your island or a light fixture, and leave the backdrop more neutral, or vice versa.

Credits to Jack Rosen Custom Kitchens

For example, if you have a cabinet that has fancy details, you would pick simpler fixtures and hardware, so you’re not competing with it.

Not your parent’s kitchen

A lot of times, our clients start thinking about redoing the kitchen once the kids are out of the house. They can finally make their kitchen how they want it, and they don’t want it to look like it did 20 years ago.

It’s about getting away from what their parents’ kitchen looked like. They don’t want what they’ve always had. They want to upgrade, make it cleaner, simpler, and more like what they see on TV.

Often, you just can’t achieve a modern look in a more traditionally-styled home. It’s just going to look out of place. Some houses around here were built in the ‘90s, and many are at the point where they need some freshening up. The home wasn’t built in a modern way, so doing a modern kitchen will look weird. You’ll walk in and know immediately that the kitchen was redone in the 2010s over a ‘90s kitchen.

What you can do, however, is make it transitional. This will make it a little cleaner, a little more streamlined, but not over-the-top modern and sleek. It will feel more like home, but in a style that evolved with the times. It wouldn’t be like they kicked the last people out and the Jetsons moved in.

Sometimes, a modern kitchen needs an open floor plan, which is something a lot of these houses don’t have. The floor plans of the ‘90s and the 2000s were very broken up. The family room was separate from the kitchen, which was separate from the dining room, which was separate from the family room, which was separate from the foyer.

All of these areas were delineated and closed off from each other in some way. These days, people want floorplans to be more open. This allows them to spend more time with their family and still get dinner ready and do all the other things they need to do without disappearing into another room.

Image credit: SAOTA Architects

In this kitchen, the cabinets are quite simple. This island is gray, which isn’t particularly traditional. But, they have this mirrored glass and heavy crown molding. The light fixtures are a little bit more detailed, slightly more traditional; there is a pleated drape on their arched window, whereas this architecture of this arched window was probably already there. 

If they had have done a super modern design in here, that window probably would have stood out too much, because it’s arched. It’s got the mullions, making it more traditional-looking. It’s really the best of both worlds. You could see this being the kitchen of a 30-year-old or an empty nester, it works really well. 

Even if it were more closed off and didn’t have that big island, it would still be a really lovely space. In other words, if you had these same elements in a smaller kitchen, it would still make the same statement.

Incorporating eclectic elements

If your family acquired a lot of stuff over a lifetime of having kids, if they traveled a lot, they might want to incorporate some of those memories into their homes. This is where the eclectic side comes into play.

In this case, if you replaced some of the cabinetry with an antique hutch or accent pieces that didn’t match the cabinets exactly, this would give you the functionality of storage or display, while bringing in a contrasting style, like another wood tone or a different color.

In this kitchen, they have some open glass fronts, so that could be a place to display some collectibles.

Transitional eclectic: is it a mishmash or an actual style?

In design terms, transitional is a definitive style. Eclectic is a mix of different things, but mostly, it’s just another word for transitional.

For example, if you say somebody has an eclectic taste in music, that means they just like a lot of styles across the board. It’s much the same when we’re talking about design.

Credits to Keith Wing Custom Builders

This kitchen would be considered eclectic because it has a modern hood with traditional cabinets. It’s a mix of modern things with traditional things. You might pair a traditional faucet with that really modern hood and an induction cooktop.

Are you thinking about eclectic transitional style for your kitchen remodel? We’d love to help! Reach out today to find out what’s possible.

Ready to get started?