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What Is a Transitional Sofa?

Jill Arens

Unlike dainty sofas with fussy accents and spindly legs, transitional sofas look sturdy and comfortable with few embellishments. Transitional sofas ensure that rooms look neither cold and austere, nor old fashioned and conventional.

Union of Two Styles

A girl watches TV on a sofa

Furniture designers combine traditional and contemporary elements to create transitional pieces. Transitional sofas exude an informal elegance thanks to the combination of textured upholstery and clean, contemporary lines. Designers typically add a gentle curve along the arms or frame to soften the straight shape. The upholstery options range from leather to corduroy, and the fabric features either a neutral pattern or one solid color for simple sophistication. With straight backs and traditional wooden arms, Mission-style sofas fit in the transitional category.

Placing Transitional Couches

Whether you’re filling a formal or casual space, transitional sofas fit the bill. The furniture blends seamlessly into contemporary, up-to-the-minute homes as well as spaces that are more traditional. The couch’s gentle curves or wooden accents ground the space while the straight lines make the furniture appear slightly futuristic. Use transitional sofas in eclectic-style spaces and great rooms to marry a hodgepodge of styles.

Comparing and Contrasting Sofa Styles

Traditional sofas feature carved wood and upholstery with intricate patterns, and the severe design works well in only the most formal spaces. Select transitional sofas instead of traditional pieces to prevent a stuffy, uncomfortable atmosphere in your formal living room. With rattan accents and cottony upholstery, cottage-style sofas lend a comforting touch to any space; use transitional sofas if you need a more sophisticated look. If you’re turned off by the ultramodern, space-age vibe of contemporary furniture, you’ll find transitional pieces much more bearable.

Unifying a Transitional Space

Besides selecting transitional furniture, make your entire space a blend of contemporary and traditional by using neutral colors. Transitional spaces call for off-white or beige walls, wood floors and color in limited doses. To add visual interest to a monochromatic space, use a variety of textured fabrics, such as fuzzy throws, silky drapes and organic rugs. Choose accent pieces that reflect the scale of other pieces in the room, and combine touches of wood and metal to blur design styles.