Tasteful Tips for a Transitional Living Room

Anne Reagan, Editor-in-Chief for, offers up easy ways to enhance your transitional-style living room with perfectly paired colors and versatile textures, shapes, and patterns, plus layers for depth and dimension. Take a look at Anne’s Styleboard and find inspired ideas for going tastefully transitional.

Our living rooms are where we entertain guests as well as host traditional family gatherings. It’s the best room for displaying favorite objects that show off our personal style and taste. We always want our living rooms to be places of sophisticated comfort — style yours with classic colors and modern décor with these tips.

Stick with Classics

Some color pairings never go out of style, like the classic hues of blue and white. There is something about mixing navy blue and white or baby blue and cream that seems to always be in en vogue. You can play with this color combination by varying the hue: try blues from teal-marine to dark ink to robin’s egg. Pair them with neutrals like beige, cream, or white. The key is to have enough touches of the same color to create a purposeful design.

Pro tip: Afraid of the room looking too nautical? Use off-white instead of bright white and play up another neutral like the color brown.

Focus on Textures

When it comes to the living room, you definitely want to choose comfortable textures and textiles for your furniture and flooring. Make sure that the furniture you choose is comfortable and the right scale for the room, and that you have enough seating for extra guests. Pillows and blankets are a quick and inexpensive way to add more color and softness to the space and can easily be changed from season to season.

Pro tip: Be sure that your living room furniture is multi-functional for entertaining. Upholstered storage ottomans can serve as a coffee table or extra seating and be the perfect place to keep extra blankets for when the temperature drops.


Use Shapes and Patterns

Rooms with a variety of shapes and patterns are the most visually interesting. Most living rooms are filled with dominant square objects like a rug, fireplace, sofa, occasional tables, and windows. It’s a great idea to incorporate some other symmetrical shapes, like circles, as well as asymmetrical shapes, like seashells or other natural objects, which will help create depth.

Pro tip: The key to the living room is keeping everything in scale and size. Make sure that you pre-measure furniture and decor to ensure good traffic flow and safety within the room.

Layering is Key

To make a room look sophisticated and professionally designed, be sure you incorporate layers into the room. This doesn’t mean you need to have a cluttered space, it means having enough objects to make the room feel comfortable and lived in. An area rug placed on top of hardwood flooring, a tray on top of an ottoman, a vase or book on top of the tray … all of these layers create a lot of dimension and depth to the room, drawing the eye in and making the room feel larger than it is.

Pro tip: Be sure that mixes of soft and hard objects are used as well. Combinations of cold, polished décor (like glass vases and mirrors) help reflect and bounce light, while fluffy, soft materials (like a blanket) will absorb light.

Anne Reagan, Editor-in-Chief,

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