Get the Look: Transitional Bathroom Style
The transitional bathroom style is currently the most popular bathroom style according to a report by the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Blending the traditional with the contemporary, this style is perfect if you gravitate towards designs that are balanced – neither too minimalistic nor too ornate.
In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the key elements of this popular style and show you how you can get the transitional look in your own bathroom.
What is a Transitional Bathroom?
The transitional style is a mix of two styles, combining the more classic and timeless traditional look with the sleek lines of the contemporary style. The warm, comfortable feeling from the traditional style provides a nice balance to the orderly, uncluttered contemporary style. Transitional bathrooms are known for their clean and classic lines, under-mount sinks, and mild color palettes. Get the look by focusing on these six elements:
- Vanity – often shaker style with an under-mount sink and sleek faucet hardware
- Shower and Bath – a clear glass shower and clean-lined freestanding tub
- Color Palette – light and relaxed shades of white, gray, beige, blue, and aqua
- Floors – large format tile in porcelain, stone, or ceramic
- Walls – paint, tile, and occasionally wallpaper
- Lighting and Accessories – classic, while sleek, lighting and accessories
Read on to learn more about transitional design details.
A transitional vanity will often have shaker-style drawer and door fronts. Shaker is one of the most popular styles of cabinetry for both kitchen and bathroom cabinets because it offers a classic, clean, simple design. A shaker cabinet is made up of a recessed central panel with an outside frame.
While some shaker style cabinets have decorative edge detailing, in a transitional style bathroom, the shaker style will be more on the simple side. If you like the look of shaker style, but don’t want to go overboard on it, you can combine shaker cabinet doors with flat front drawers, as shown in the example above.
In a transitional style bathroom, the vanity is less likely to be floating, and more likely to be either built-in or in a furniture style with legs for support. The cabinet hardware (knobs and pulls) will be classic and sleek.
Go for a countertop that is light-colored, without too much pattern or veining. Quartz, granite, and marble are the most common materials. Keep countertop edges clean and simple.
Sinks are typically under-mount in a white or cream color. Undermount sinks have the benefit of providing more counter space and can be easier to clean. Faucets are a classic style, and while they may have some curves, they will not be as detailed as a traditional faucet. Typical faucet materials are polished or brushed nickel, chrome, and occasionally matte black, gold, or brass.
Glass Shower Enclosure
The shower enclosure is typically clear glass, either with no door or a simple door with minimal hardware, allowing the shower tile to show through.
Pedestal-style tubs are one of the top choices for transitional bathrooms. Pedestal tubs are an evolution of traditional claw-foot bathtubs – however, instead of feet, a pedestal raises the tub from the floor. Pedestal-style tubs give your transitional bathroom a modern look with a nod to history.
Claw-foot tubs that are not too ornate can also work in a transitional style bathroom, and so can standard modern-style tubs that are not too angular. The key is the balance of clean lines and simple curves.
Transitional bathrooms generally have a light and relaxed, spa-like feel. Color palettes include whites, creams, and beiges, light grays, blues, or aqua greens. Silver is a popular color for hardware as it is subtle and blends in. Gold and rose-gold details add a modern vibe while still fitting into a transitional style and you’ll occasionally see black hardware providing a contrast.
Large-format tiles in porcelain, stone, or ceramic are one of the top floor choices for a transitional bathroom style. The larger tiles and matching thin grout make for a clean, simple pattern and bring a serene vibe to the floor. Typical tile layout patterns for transitional style include staggered, grid (stacked), or herringbone pattern.
Hexagon is a trending tile shape that works well in transitional bathrooms. Just pick a light color with matching grout to keep a sense of calmness.
Mix up the Wall Coverings
Paint is the most popular choice for walls in a transitional style bathroom, often in a light color, such as cream, white, taupe, and light grey. Subtle wallpaper is an increasing trend.
One place where the walls get some detail is in the shower area: since the shower enclosure is typically clear glass, the tile beyond it has a chance to stand out. Popular options include marble or porcelain large format tiles. They’ll usually have subtle veining and patterns and thin grout lines to match the tile.
Subway tile is a classic option. For a nod to the past, place the tile in a standard staggered pattern with a thin grout line.
For a more modern option there are two possibilities, a stacked (grid) subway tile layout, or herringbone – these add a little extra detail while still keeping with a transitional style.
Sleek and Classic Lighting
Top characteristics of transitional style lighting include clean lines, simple curves, and minimal ornamentation or details. You want classic pieces that are neither too minimal (or modern) and too ornate (or traditional).
One of our favorite design ideas for a transitional style bathroom is to choose a unique chandelier as the design focus. With the rest of the room subtle and clean, the details of the chandelier can really stand out. For the rest of the lighting in the room, choose more simple recessed and vanity lighting.
For vanity lighting, wall sconces on either side of the mirror are popular in transitional style bathrooms. Many will have a fabric shade, which is casual and comfortable and gives a nod to the traditional. When combined with the clean lines of the rest of the fixture, the overall piece moves into a transitional style.
If a fabric shade is too much on the traditional side for you, there are plenty of metal and glass options to mount either each side of the mirror or above the mirror if that is your preferred option.
In areas where the lighting will not be the top focus in your transitional style bathroom, consider simple recessed lighting which lets other design elements shine. Vanity mirrors with integrated lighting are another good choice if you want the design focus elsewhere.
Details and Accessories
Mirrors should be sleek and streamlined to balance out the more traditional style of vanity. Collect your soap and hand cream on an elegant tray, and keep your countertop as clutter-free as possible. Then, complete the look by adding a vase of fresh flowers and some fluffy towels in neutral tones.
How to Visualize Your Transitional Style Bathroom
These days, it’s easy to visualize all your design ideas on your computer or tablet. It’s a great way to try out materials, colors, and styles without committing to anything until you are sure of your design. Take a look at this overview of how you could use the software app, RoomSketcher, to visualize your bathroom online.
All of the photos in this article were created in the RoomSketcher App. With RoomSketcher, every user can access the RoomSketcher App and take snapshots for free, so you can start planning your transitional style bathroom straight away.