Hard to define and a challenge to decorate, they languish vacant and forgotten. I’ve used transitional spaces in my home to store moving boxes, surplus shoes and unused exercise equipment. There is a better way! So, what exactly is a transitional space? Quite literally, it’s an area of connection—that joins one room to the next.
In this case, it was a space directly off an entryway that links to the dining room, kitchen and outdoor patio. Transitional spaces could also include stairway landing areas, bonus-type rooms and nooks. They lead you from one area to the next, but are much more than a mere hallway.
Love Seat (Nearly identical from same brand, mine is out of stock) | Love Seat (Lower Cost) | Sofa Table (Similar) | Jute Rug | Jute Rug (Lower Cost) | Louis XV Chair | Louis XV Chair (Lower Cost) | Bamboo Sofa Table (Similar) | Mercury Glass Lamps (Similar) | Faux Potted Tree (Similar)
Think carefully about how you currently live and how you might use the space to better fit your needs. Is there way to make it more functional? To craft a transitional space you will actually use?
In our case, we wanted an inviting and cozy sitting area. Our family loves to read and gather for conversation over coffee or a glass of wine. So, this space was designed with comfort in mind. It’s a great alternative to the living room where the TV is located. Other ideas for transitional space use include:
Once you have a function in mind, it’s time to get your measurements and figure out how much space you have to play with. This is critical for transitional rooms because they are usually quite limited in size.
Next, walk the room and begin to visualize your potential layout. Don’t be afraid to sketch it out on paper. If you have pieces of furniture in mind, draft a variety of floor plans using those items and make note of the pieces you still need.
Make sure you have a maximum and minimum measurement for each piece before you go shopping.
We knew we needed two small scale love seats, no more than 65″ wide. In addition, we were hunting for a chair with an ottoman that could double as a coffee table. Movable, dual purpose furniture is very helpful in transitional spaces. We also needed petite drink tables and some decorative plants.
Now, it’s time to bring in your major furniture pieces and adjust your layout as needed. Use your plan as a guide, but don’t be glued to it if something feels “off.” When working with small spaces, you need to be wary of furniture that overwhelms the room or colors that weigh it down.
Here’s a look at the space before. Can you see how the dark colors and wood give it a more cramped, heavy feel?
By swapping out the ornate furniture for brighter pieces with simple lines, we made the space feel much larger.
In addition, we utilized glass tables with delicate metal legs, rather than heavy wood and stone pieces.
The detailed carpet was abandoned for a coastal-inspired jute rug and the window treatment was simplified too. Instead of something custom, we purchased inexpensive sheer panels from JC Penney and hung them right below the crown molding. This gives the illusion of more height.
Finally, we finished off the room with a set of neutral prints. I gravitate toward anything involving classic art or architecture for my walls. If you have trouble finding prints you love at a store, try browsing the art history section of a used bookstore. Sometimes you can find hidden treasures to mat and frame in an old text or coffee table book. Another great place to look is an antique store. As the proprietor if he or she has any architectural prints. They look incredible framed!
I’ve included options in a variety of sizes (including super tiny for apartments), price points and styles!