What it is: If Goldilocks were decorating a house, transitional style would check all of her "just right" boxes: not too cold, not too formal, not too fussy. It blends the comfort and warmth of traditional design with the clean profiles and understated colors of the contemporary look. The result? Gracious, streamlined spaces that radiate harmony. It's about meeting in the middle, but it's not at all middle of the road.

Why it works: Browse home design photos, and we'd bet that at least half of the rooms you see fall into the transitional camp. Its appeal lies in having the best of both worlds: You aren't straying too far from the familiar, but you have the freedom to freshen it as you see fit. And because you can update it indefinitely to reflect current trends, it ages well.

Although transitional usually denotes a balance between contemporary and traditional, that's not always the case. You can mix in a few pieces from other styles as long as they don't detract from the casual, tailored setting.

You'll love it if ... You're a natural diplomat. You prefer a few statement accessories to layers of necklaces and a wrist full of bracelets. You serve mac and cheese on your wedding china. Your dream vacation involves chilling out at an elegant spa. You can't understand why people think beige is boring.