Conservative with Room for Fun

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Transitional design is a great option for a homeowner who wants to build a room around comfort and a few well-loved, carefully chosen items. By not limiting yourself to contemporary or traditional design, you have a chance to infuse the room with your personality, without ending up with a hodge-podge look.

Jamie Gibbs, a designer with offices in New York and Indianapolis and a member of the American Society of Interior Designers, has worked with many clients who want a transitional style, even if they don’t quite know what it is.

“Transitional is conservative and safe with an edge,” Jamie says. “You can have a little bit of an imagination with it.”

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By thinking about how you plan to use the space and what you would truly love to see in the space, you can create a beautiful, inspired transitional room.

Here are Jamie’s tips on achieving a transitional look:

Plot out a room. Ask yourself: Where do I prefer to read? Where do I like to prop my feet up? Consider all these elements, so your room will be livable as well as beautiful.

Choose a neutral wall color. “Create a calm background,” Jamie says. “Neutrals bring out what you really want to showcase.”

Go comfortable with upholstered pieces. You can use a fun, functional fabric or leather to re-upholster a high-quality couch picked up at a thrift store or consignment sale.

Go contemporary with tables: Look for metal, mirrors, glass, and other contemporary details.

Every element should have a function and be nice. If it doesn’t have a function, give it up. And if it’s tired, worn, or outdated, let it go.

Go for pop: Make sure you have something eye-catching, such as a unique wall hanging or unusual piece of furniture. But you don’t need several wow pieces competing for attention.

Layer a colorful area rug on a neutral floor. An oriental rug is an unexpected choice, giving you a color palate as well as a wow factor.

Invest in good lighting. Most rooms need three different lighting sources to give you the flexibility you need for the room’s many roles.

Go for a done, not unfinished, look. A transitional room should look put-together and finished, with attention to detail, function, and beauty.

Don’t fill in your décor with cheap, random things: No cheap frames, cheap matting, cheap lamps or cheap accessories. Bare walls are better than walls cluttered with bad art or poorly framed photos.

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