“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 – as the mother of two young adults – the idea of open doors in my home fills me with horror. But from a styling perspective, I understand the importance of flow in a home.
I suspect that my personal preference for “flow” derives from my need for a sense of order (related to my mild OCD), but the style and colour palette I use in my own property and those of my clients must flow and be cohesive.
Whether your property’s style is dictated by its age or your personal choice, flow connects the different areas, making it a relaxing place to live.
I’m not suggesting you adhere to a strict colour code for each room, but 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 close the book.
Your property should tell a story
I am currently living in a rental property, and the downside to that is I never quite know what the wall colour will be, so the safe bet is to stick to neutral upholstery and introduce colour with timbers, rugs, artworks, and soft furnishings.
For a long time, I stuck to a standard coastal palette of neutrals with blue accents. However, I’ve noticed recently that warm colours are giving me more energy and the addition of some beautiful Turkish rugs with pink and raspberry tones has infused more comfort into my apartment.
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 texture this space needs to transform a bland rental into an inviting home.
Accent colours and those interesting pieces of deco you find at markets or in antique stores are the ingredients that make your property a home. However, cohesion and consistency are still key to creating harmony, and Feng Shui rules for inspiration are a great starting point for working out how your flow will work. This ancient art is about encouraging the flow in your home to increase positive 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 the doors in a property to a mishmash of contrasting styles and colours.
And creating flow is easy. Start with a unifying base for your flooring – this should ideally be the same material or colour tone in as many rooms as possible – and then pick wall colours from the colour palette that runs through the property to compliment your chosen style. This may be neutrals and blues for a Hamptons scheme or terracotta and olive for a Mediterranean style, for example. Then you can have a bit more freedom with your accessories.
Cohesion is the key to relaxed living
When styling their property, most vendors understand that neutral walls maximise space, and colour comes through their choice of fixtures and soft furnishings.
But “texture” is also important, particularly in neutral homes. Adding that extra layer to any scheme will also help cohesion and flow. The use of cane furniture, lamp bases, and headboards in a Boho scheme, for example, will help tie your rooms together.
Your buyer doesn’t want any surprises.
Vendors laugh when stylists colour code their books, but that attention to detail contributes to the overall “flow” of the property. For a similar reason, they remove family photos, so buyers are not distracted from the job at hand – to make an emotional connection with the property.
A lack of flow disconcerts and confuses your buyers, and you want them to connect at an emotional level
Imagine red walls in a spacious living area with a stunning view of the ocean or cream walls in an inner-city terrace with a wealth of stunning original features. A property without flow is distracting. It clutters your buyer’s brain and stops them from “feeling” the property with all their senses. A good flow takes them on a relaxing journey, with time to enjoy the views.