Interior Design Philosophy: Charles Darwin and Transitional Design

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Home study space desk window shelving

Suffering from aesthetic existentialism? Overwhelmed with the task of designing an entire new study space? Certain that your next meeting with an interior designer will end up in either an anxiety-induced seizure, or straight up hysterical blindness? Uncurl yourselves from your fetal positions, dry your eyes with one of your many upholstery swatches. Help is on the way.

Like taking on any dynamic multi-faceted project, looking at one thing from every conceivable angle can make anyone’s eyes cross. Thinking about everything often results in deciding on nothing. So how do we get around this downward thought spiral of design despair? Easy: let someone else do the thinking for you.

In an effort to enlighten your thinking, and alleviate the stress of starting from scratch, channel your inner natural philosopher and take notes from Charles Darwin when approaching a design direction. This is the first in a blog series that offers a breakthrough in design therapy, featuring clever design schemes and innovative BuildDirect products that pay homage to your favorite philosophers.

Do a “Charles Darwin” with transitional design

In desperate need of change, but restless at the thought of devoting yourself to just one design scheme? Afraid your trend will expire as soon as the paint dries on your trim? Shed your skin! Grow a pair (of wings, I mean) and soar on over to your metamorphic side. It’s time to let your tastes evolve into transitional design.

Deep accent colors

The key to color in a space like this is ageless neutrals and inoffensive, deep accent colors. No bright colors or bold patterns here, so refrain from slapping a Union Jack on your fourth wall to honor this brainy Brit –there are other ways to give your room an English accent.

accent lighting

Whether you’re using crisp white walls to modernize a subtle amber or rust color, or softer cream-colored walls to warm up a deep khaki, pairing the right neutral coats with your accent walls are a great way to add depth to any room without disrupting the delicate qualities of a transitional design.

Furniture and tactile fabrics for transitional design

In a transitional design, you have to think about how it can adapt to stay relevant (sound familiar?), and the furniture in a design direction like this  is no exception. The trick here is texture. In an effort to keep your study serene and your design from dulling, pick neutral colors with dynamically tactile fabrics like corduroy or upholstery with simple, straight ribbing.

love seat yellow accent wall cushions


For the more aesthetically adventurous transitional space maker, try subtle geometric patterned sofas in monochromatic colors, or sleek leather chairs with a touch of tradition in an understated wooden frame.

Choosing floors

Picking a floor for a redesign that’s easy on your eyes, wallet, and sanity can be tough. Ideal for the commitment-phobe, BuildDirect’s impossibly innovative Modular Carpet Tiles are a great choice for those with shifting tastes. Offered in warm contemporary tones –perfect for your transitional space— and ready to install in any space, these carpet tiles can be added or removed at the whim of the designer.

carpet tile

“Cafe Latte” iTile on BuildDirect’s Sonora label.

You can install these right over top of hardwood, laminate, linoleum, or vinyl floors without them incurring damage. They can be easily removed and reapplied in any desired pattern or shape, so their aesthetic can easily change and adapt to their environment (*wink*).

Striking a balance

Transitional décor is all about striking a balance between unshakable timeless traditions and undeniably innovative contemporary trends. The subtle hues and unobtrusive accessorizing common to this type of design allow for easy updates and an ever-relevant theme that won’t go stale.

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Jill Canty

hiker; runner; breakfast food, mcdonalds, and beer lover; HBO and AMC marathoner; insatiable modern fiction devourer; hopeful globe-trotter; concert-goer; proportionate Beyoncé obsession-haver; and - of course - content writer.