A Homeowner’s Guide to Transitional Kitchens

For homeowners who like to stray from the beaten path of typical kitchen designs, a transitional kitchen presents an ideal opportunity. Warm and inviting, stylish and interesting, many houses now feature a kitchen that seamlessly blends the past and the present without losing any modern functionality. Learn about transitional kitchen ideas with experts who handle professional kitchen remodeling in Southeast MI.

What is a Transitional Kitchen?

Unlike kitchens with purely contemporary designs, transitional kitchens use traditional elements as a statement while incorporating the best features of new kitchen styles. By combining multiple eras into one design, homeowners can choose their favorite details and mix and match them to create a kitchen that melds new and old. A transitional kitchen should feel timeless while offering the bells and whistles of an upgraded cooking space.

How to Create a Transitional Kitchen

Transitional kitchens don’t come with style rules, making them the best possible choice for homeowners who like to forge their own design path. However, you can use these five tips to guide you as you work towards creating your ideal transitional kitchen.

1. Use Neutral Colors for Your Base

Using neutral colors as your base makes it easy to redecorate your kitchen over the years. A neutral color palette also allows you to easily transition your kitchen to a more modern style should you ever decide to sell your home. While you can use colors like sage, light blue, or peach, the most neutral colors you can choose include black, white, beige, and gray.


Dark and moody, black works well as the base color for larger kitchens. This color makes any style pop and serves as the perfect backdrop for a kitchen featuring heavier tones like coppery metallics and deep woods.


A stark white kitchen appears large and airy, even when filled with your favorite kitchen design elements from eras past. Go with white if you have a smaller kitchen, and utilize light brown or blonde wood to enhance the brightness.

Light Neutrals

If you don’t like the idea of harsh blacks and whites, you can compromise with beiges, eggshell whites, or grays. Well-known for their ability to match any type of style, these colors will look beautiful behind dated details in bright hues. You can also use a variety of metals for your cabinet hardware, range hoods, or sink faucets, all of which will match these light, neutral colors.

2. Utilize Unexpected Textures or Colors

Interrupt expected textures and colors like polished granite countertops and stainless steel appliances by changing up the materials and tones that you use to outfit your kitchen. While many homes use concrete for their kitchen islands, a transitional kitchen might use it as a backsplash. Refrigerators can blend in with your cabinetry or stand out with chalkboard paint or brightly colored vinyl coatings.

Pops of color excite the eyes while a matte granite countertop teases the senses, especially when you use a hard neutral base color like black or white. Play with tactile textures and intriguing color palettes to create an enticing kitchen space.

3. Design Contemporarily, Decorate Traditionally

Homeowners who like the idea of a transitional kitchen but worry about the potential of selling their home later can use contemporary styles as the base. Use neutral paint tones, modern countertop materials, and basic shaker-style doors on your cabinets to establish a transitional space, then decorate to your heart’s content. Some great ways to decorate a transitional kitchen while maintaining a modern base include:

  • Installing cabinet handles and hardware from past decades
  • Purchasing small appliances in bright colors or retro styles
  • Covering your modernized flooring with a dated rug
  • Placing removable wallpaper in your ideal style
  • Using retro or vintage-styled dish towels

Transitional kitchens allow you to mix and match fashions from different eras and create a time warp right in your home, so don’t feel constrained to a particular decade’s look.

4. Find Ways to Integrate Recycled or Used Items Into Your Design

Since you can pull on different eras for inspiration, you can visit unconventional places to find new additions for your transitional kitchen, including:

  • Local auctions
  • Antique stores
  • Vintage shops
  • Estate sales
  • Thrift stores
  • Junkyards
  • Yard sales

Not only will you find items from nearly every decade in one place, but you can give new life to a previously-loved item. If you find an object that you want to use in your kitchen but it doesn’t match your palette, take it home and paint it with your personal touch. You may surprise yourself by finding items from the past that were never taken out of the box or plastic, allowing you to use a brand-new product straight from a previous era.

Some useful elements you may find to add to your kitchen include:

  • Cabinet door handles
  • Lighting elements
  • Drawer handles
  • Kitchen faucets
  • Kitchen sinks

5. Be Bold, But Stay Within the Boundaries of Your Home’s Style

A major consideration when planning your transitional kitchen consists of keeping within your home’s overall style. If you tend toward minimalism, you can create a transitional kitchen that pulls together designs from different eras without stuffing the space with clutter. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you enjoy a wild and fun design scheme throughout your home, feel free to experiment with a maximalist look.

To keep your transitional kitchen in line with your home’s overall design, use similar colors, textures, and themes throughout your home. You’ll tie your whole house together while still enjoying the look and feel of a transitional kitchen.

Create an Intriguing and Fascinating Kitchen With Cabinet Creations

A transitional kitchen combines your favorite styles and designs with modern technology and trends, allowing you to build a space unique to you and your family. This new kitchen fashion indulges your creativity while still presenting a functional space for cooking. To learn more about the differences between a traditional vs. transitional kitchen, contact the always-on-time team at Cabinet Creations in Southeast MI at (248) 618-3332.

Kirk Richardson
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