“A useful tip when thinking about flow is imagining all the doors on your plan being left open,” says the architect Julian McIntosh.
On the face of it, and as the mother of two young adults, that visual of open doors fills me with horror. But from a styling perspective, I understand the importance of flow in a home.
My personal preference for “flow” may derive from my need of a sense of order (or my mild OCD), but I believe that the style and colour palette used in a property should flow and be cohesive. Whether your property’s style is dictated by the property’s age or the owner’s personal choice, flow connects the different areas, making it a relaxing place to live.
That’s not to suggest you must adhere to a strict colour code for each room. However, variations of the same colour palette and textures work best.
Your property should tell a story, especially when you are styling to sell. By all means, offer up some surprises along the way, but don’t introduce any elements that makes your buyer shut the book.
Your property should tell a story
We live in a rental property, and the downside to renting is you never quite know what the wall colour will be in your next home, so a safe bet is to stick to neutral sofas and introduce colour through rugs, artworks, and soft furnishings.
For a long time, I stuck to a standard coastal palette of neutrals with blue accents. However, the influence of middle age, the purchase of some beautiful Turkish rugs, and the uncertainty caused by COVID have recently changed my vision. I’ve noticed I’m drawn to the comfort of warmer tones, such as pink and raspberry.
Small injections of colour add warmth and depth to what would otherwise be another bland rental
Those small injections of colour make my scheme look less contrived, and they add the layers and depth required to transform my rental into an inviting home.
In my opinion, accent colours and those interesting pieces of deco you find at markets or in antique stores are make your property a home. However, cohesion and consistency are still key to creating harmony, and it might be worth looking at Feng Shui rules for inspiration. The ancient art is all about encouraging the flow in your home to increase positive flow and energy.
Personally, I don’t believe you must style your property in keeping with its age or heritage necessarily, but nothing is more confronting than opening doors in a property to a mishmash of contrasting styles and colours.
And creating flow is relatively easy. You start with a unifying base for your flooring – which should ideally be the same material or colour tone in as many rooms as possible. Your choice of wall colours should come from the colour palette palette that runs through the property and compliments your overall style – whether that’s Hamptons, Luxe, or even French Provincial. Then you can have a bit more fun with your accessories.
Cohesion is the key to relaxed living
For property styling, most vendors understand that neutral walls maximise space, and colour comes through the fixtures and soft furnishings.
Texture is also important, particularly in predominantly neutral homes. Adding that extra layer to any scheme helps create cohesion, e.g., the use of cane in a Boho scheme – whether it is in the furniture you select, your storage boxes, or lamp bases, will help tie your rooms together.
Your buyer doesn’t want any surprises.
People laugh at stylists when they colour code books in bookcases, but that attention to detail contributes to overall “feel” of the property and the flow. They do it for the same reason they remove family photos, so as not to distract the buyer from the job in hand – to make an emotional connection with the property.
A lack of flow disconcerts and confuses your buyers, and you want them to reach on an emotional level
For example, imagine red walls in a spacious living area with a stunning view of the ocean, or cream walls in an inner-city terrace with an abundance of beautiful historical features, but little natural light.
A property with no flow is distracting. It clutters your buyer’s brain and stops them from “feeling” your property with all their senses. A good flow takes them on a relaxing journey, with time to enjoy the views.