Satabdi Bhattacharjee




Interior Architecture and Design

Traditional, Modern, and Transitional Interior Architecture Design


Satabdi Bhattacharjee




Interior Architecture and Design

Design is an ever-evolving vast discipline with innumerable prospects in the field of Interior Architecture and Design. In order to keep pace with the rapid change in the interior designing trends, the design industry has been coming up with numerous innovative design ideas. Some prefer modern while some go back to the traditional taste. People often misinterpret the term ‘Modern’ and ‘Traditional’ as synonyms for ‘New’ and ‘Old’ but the demarcation between modern, traditional and transitional design is much more than what meets the eye. Traditional to Modern and Transitional, the style of Interior Architecture Design has defined and redefined the way of living and lifestyle.

Let’s have a look at the difference between Traditional, Modern and Transitional Interior Architecture and Design.

Here we are talking about Traditional Interior Architecture Design that is European in origin. Traditional interior architecture design is rooted in the 18th century England and French countryside. There are some common features that most of the traditional residential design follows such as large windows, spacious interiors, open porches with overhanging rafters or beams, dormers and roofs decorated with gables and the materials such as brick, plaster, wood, stucco, and stone are used.

Floor Planning: To begin with, floor-planning is the foremost criteria one considers while designing the interiors of a house, building etc. In Traditional style, space is usually divided into a number of small, single-purpose rooms. This is so because traditional residential designs were mainly designed for households which were quite large.

Traditional style courtyard. Image Source: Pinterest

Windows and Lighting: The placement, size, and use of windows are fundamentally different in modern and traditional designs. Traditional designs tend to incorporate windows that are geometrically placed on the frontage of the house and usually are of similar size.Traditional design usually have symmetrically-shaped windows of equal shape and size.

Traditional style interiors. Image Source: Pinterest

Materials: Traditional design consists of traditional materials such as wood, brick, stone, plaster, and stucco. Materials like clay, straw and rammed earth had been pushed out.

Floor planning in Traditional style - interior architecture design
Traditional style flooring. Image Source: Pinterest

Embellishment: Dating back to the Victorian era of the late nineteenth century, the traditional design takes into account both interior and exterior decoration. Traditional design display ornate decorations such as complex rooflines, carved moldings which are often wrapped in slate and wallpaper with unconventional designs.

Traditional style decorations. Image Source: Pinterest

Modern Interior Architecture Design prefers simple, neat design instead of classical, flamboyant flourishes. Modern interior architecture design is mostly rooted between the mid 20th century i.e., the 1940s and 1980s by embodying the ideals of the machine age. The machine age basically denotes the absence of ornaments, concrete structures, large expanses of glass, use of stucco over brick (also known as whitewash). Also, they often feature a flat roof or low-sloped roof with a clean exterior and plain texture. Modern interior architecture design mostly uses industrial materials like concrete, reinforced steel, and plastic.

Floor Planning: Modern floor plan commences with ‘keeping the minimal’ approach with an aim to make the most of the space with multi-purpose rooms and seamless, open-concept spaces. Modern exteriors are characterized by flat-roofs with narrow, heavy-eves, vertical windows and de-emphasized entries.

Modern style interiors. Image Source: Pinterest

Windows and Lighting: Modern interiors resort to wide windows that are typically made of glass featuring large windows and skylight for an abundance of natural light. This makes the interiors of modern residential design open and airy and the design is both spacious and light.

Lighting in Modern style - interior architecture design
Modern style windows and lighting. Image Source: Pinterest

Materials: Modern design prefers wooden accents which are often used as a contrast to concrete walls. Modern design always has the advantage of resorting to new and technologically advanced materials.

Materials used in Modern style - interior architecture design
Modern style flooring. Image Source: Pinterest

Embellishment: The modern design attempts to create a structure that reveals the underlying truth. The primary purpose of embellishment here is to expose the structure with unconventional materials.

Modern style decorations. Image Source: Pinterest

Transitional Interior Architecture Design refers to the sophisticated amalgamation of traditional and modern fabrics, furniture, finishes and materials, the end result of which is an enduring design which is both elegant and classy. Often referred to as the ‘classic with a modern take’, the transitional interior architecture design is rooted in the 1950s as a response to the mid-century’s stark modern style. Transitional style refers to subtle and clean colour palettes, relaxing and uncomplicated rooms with an intriguing blend between masculine and feminine statement of light fixture, roofs, windows etc.

Floor Planning: In Transitional design, floor planning is usually neutral and soft-coloured. Organic elements, a signature light fixture accented with warm woods, chocolate wood and warm brown tones are typically used in transitional interior architecture design. The textures are taken care of in rugs or carpets.

Interiors in Transitional style - interior architecture design
Transitional style interiors. Image Source: Pinterest

Windows and Lighting: Transitional design uses modern-contemporary style showcasing large, expansive windows and an interior filled with natural light. These types of spaces allow enormous natural light through oversized double-hung windows instead of large casement or picture windows.

Transitional style windows and lighting. Image Source: Pinterest

Materials: Transitional design prefers a mix of textured materials such as lacquer, wood, fabric, metal and sometimes steel to help balance the overall aesthetic.

Transitional style courtyard. Image Source: Pinterest

Embellishment: These days, people often resort to the transitional style of interior architecture design. In contrast to the opposing elements in traditional and modern interior architecture design, transitional design strikes a perfect balance between the two. In transitional interior architecture design, rich brown wall colours are usually used to create a buffer that blurs the distinction between traditional and modern design. Like modern-contemporary interior architecture, most transitional design prefer clean lines and minimalism. This style embraces minimal artful details with use of accessories and ornaments and warm colour palettes plus crisp style making the interior appear less chaotic and more human.

Transitional style decorations. Image Source: Pinterest

There is no doubt in the fact that every design influences and abstracts elements from each other. The present era of design is more about ignoring the strict and formal design rules while embracing the open and minimalistic approach. Although, personal taste matters quite a lot in residential design, the most important element of contrast between classic, modern and transitional design are the key elements mentioned above.While, a traditional design has energy and dynamism, modern ones are built with frugal honesty as one of the main factors, Transitional, on the other is the seamless blend of the two.


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