How to Transition Between Interior Design Styles on a Budget

As with everything from music to food preferences, the interior design style you dream of in your home can change over time. Once attracted to a crisp black and white color palette (admittedly devoid of character), I moved on to a more Art Deco– leaning aesthetic – not only because I’m in the bad mood of the style and the warmth of the brass accents, but it seemed like the easiest move to make without buying new stuff. Naturally, this made me curious what other advice the experts might have on transitioning between styles. As expected, they provided information on other design styles that might be easy to adopt on a budget. and tips for doing so.

“The easiest way to visually transform a room from one style to another is to transition from a period style to the existing style– like traditional to transitional or transitional to contemporary,” says the Maryland-based designer Sydney Markus.

No matter which styles you move between, easy updates include changing the wall paint, replacing draperies, updating hardware, and changing decor. “It’s also important to remember that views of adjoining rooms leading into the new space may need updating to visually connect with the new aesthetic, such as selecting new paint colors or removing, restoring or simply moving existing furniture from one space to the next,” adds Markus.

In advance, take note of designer-approved ideas for reinventing your home on a budget.


Traditional to Transitional

Envisioned by Tracy Morris Design, this transitional living room features sofas with tufted details and sleek profiles.

Jennifer Hughes

There’s nothing more on the nose than switching to a style that’s actually called of transition. Easing in this style can be flowing from a traditional style and vice versa. “They’re close in concept, but the clean lines of the transitional style will breathe new life into your traditional pieces,” says the Virginia-based designer. Tracy Morris. She explains: “If you have a traditional Oushak rug with deep colors as well as heavier furniture, place pieces with cleaner lines on the rug – think items with straight arms, solid fabrics and painted finishes – and the whole space will take on an updated appearance.

Starting with the basics can quickly refresh your space. Replace existing chairs in a traditional dining set with sleek profile chairs. “If you want to keep your traditional set of original dining chairs, reupholster them in a new tone-on-tone fabric,” says Morris. You can even do both and use the upholstered dining chairs throughout your home as desk chairs or game table chairs.


Transitional to organic modern

If you no longer connect with your transitional style home, consider organic modern. “Transitional design has a lot of gray and white,” says a New York-based designer Emilie Del Bello. “To get that modern organic feel, you want to take those old tones and bring in the beiges, creams, and browns with lots of textures.” Bello recommends adding textured pillows to a gray sofa or adding paint or wallpaper in warm colors to your walls for a more organic modern feel.


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From Mid-Century Modern to Organic Modern

Mid-Century Modern Design features clean lines and organic shapes in earth tones, making the style pieces easy to carry into an organic modern look, which is a little more comfortable. If you already have large neutral pieces, substitute smaller items like side tables and accessories. “If you want to move towards a more organic modern vibe, you can swap out more structured side tables for rough wood stumps and add raw clay pottery and heavily textured wool pillows,” says the US-based designer. Arizona. Claire Ownby. “Conversely, if you want to modernize your look, try an architecturally-inspired glass and steel table with glass and leather vases and omit the use of accent pillows altogether.”


Modern to Coastal

this palm tree beach bungalow designed by lindsey lane features coastal accents, like a rattan pendant lamp and side tables, for a warm and clean look

This Palm Beach bungalow designed by Lindsey Lane features coastal accents, like a rattan pendant lamp and side tables, for a warm and streamlined look.

Peter Murdock

Transitioning from a modern, refined interior to a comfortable coastal retreat may be easier than you think. Both styles can take on a minimalist vibe – look no further than the coastal granny trend which resumed this summer. California-based designer Hillary Stamm recommends reusing items you love and adding new accessories. “I love taking a dresser and painting it, or calling the electrician to move a favorite lighting piece for a different feel.”

It works for any design style transition, and the same goes for bedding. “Add new throw pillows and a duvet for a fresh look,” adds Stamm. “You don’t have to redo an entire room to make it light, fresh and new!”


Maintain a mix of styles

Mixing together a few of your favorite styles is not only a smart choice for those who like a variety of looks, but it can also make it easier to refresh your home in the future. “Maintaining a consistent color palette throughout your home will blur the lines between styles,” says the Washington DC-based designer. Annie Elliot. “White walls with pops of color through art and on furniture, for example, or dark, somber colors from room to room will set a unifying tone in the home.”

Another way to make potentially competing styles work together? Replace your lamps. Elliott explains, “Simple, modern lamps work well anywhere and bring freshness to a space. Crystal lamps, colorful ceramic gourd lamps, or metal (or metal painted ceramic) column lamps modernize classic and mid-century styles and add warmth to contemporary spaces. Modern lamps are a great guideline in a home, adding pleasant continuity as you move through rooms.

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Betty K. Park