A statement that designers hear all the time when meeting with clients is, "but I just want it all to flow!" And truthfully, that sentence is like music to our ears because... we do too!
Creating a home that "flows" is a learned skill that's executed with just a few simple tricks.
Bring the outside in - What materials are used on the outside of your home? For example, if you have a stone exterior, it would make sense to have a stone fireplace surround. Alternatively, if you don't have brick anywhere on your home's exterior, it really isn't going to make a lot of sense for you to have an exposed brick wall inside (as beautiful as they are, this would not be the definition of cohesion).
Focus on cohesion of your hard materials - Hard materials include things like flooring, countertops, door and cabinet hardware, and windows. Although you're obviously going to have the same style of windows throughout your home (I hope that's obvious), really limiting the variety of the other hard materials is where cohesion really happens. Although it might be tempting to do a different bathroom floor tile and use different countertop materials in each bathroom, doing so isn't going to help your home flow. This doesn't mean you have to use the same ones in the same exact way over-and-over throughout, in fact I strongly discourage it! But you can be strategic in your selections. For example, if your kitchen has a marble countertop, can you use the same slab for one of your bathroom countertops? Can you use the same tile flooring from your laundry room in one of your bathrooms, just in a different size or layout? The consistency of materials used in fresh ways throughout your space is what's going to keep things cohesive without being boring.
Remember that your styling speaks volumes - Although this tip is pretty straight forward, it's probably the one that packs the biggest punch. With so many wonderful design styles, tile patterns, material selections, etc, it can be incredibly hard to reign ourselves in when selecting the hard finishes. There is a tendency to want to "do it all" when it comes to home design. I would argue, however, that keeping the hard finishes (aka the BONES of your home) consistent and selective, will then allow your furniture and decor to take center stage. Spaces will speak to each other, because they're all cohesive at an underlying level, which then gives you a blank canvas to create beautiful variety throughout the home with your finishing touches.
Now that we have that out of the way... let's look at an example. Although budget-wise I'll be tackling the bathrooms in my home at different times throughout this year, I knew how important it would be to design them both ahead of making any changes. I can't promise that slight details won't change by the time I get around to doing bathroom #2, but I can confidently say that the time and attention that went into selecting the hard finishes for both bathrooms ahead of time will be 100% worth the effort.
Bathroom 1: The Guest Bath
Some notes about this conception board:
The exterior of my home, as well as my fireplace surround, are both white brick. I am keeping things super simple here and using white brick in this space on both the floors and shower walls. The hard finishes are limited to two here: marble (or quartz/quartzite, depending on our final budget) and brick. That's it! Both are nods to materials used in other parts of the home.
I haven't even included that many decor items in this design board, but the styling pieces are already telling an incredible story. That's how impactful those items when you keep your canvas nice and simple!
Bathroom 2: The Primary Bath
Here is where you can really see the cohesion start materializing:
Not by accident, notice that there is white brick in this board as well.
The slate I'll be using on the floors and in the shower pan is a nod to my entryway, which is also slate. The larger slate tiles will be the exact same materials in both the bathroom and the entry, they'll just be laid in different patterns (one herringbone, one TBD). The small slate tile in the shower pan keeps things interesting (read: not boring!) but consistent.
This bathroom decor will be slightly more modern with less traditional finishes. But because we kept the base materials consistent... it totally works, and it still flows!
Hopefully this information encourages you to simplify things in your own home. I think this post is also a helpful reminder of the power of good design. When working with both full-service and virtual clients, I oftentimes stress the importance of speaking about the home as a whole as opposed to looking at each individual space. There are so many wonderful benefits of working with a designer, but having a plan to help your home flow is at the tippy top of that list. If you'd like, you can check out my services page for more information about working with me.
If you have any questions about flow, bathroom design, or anything else, I'm all ears! Leave me notes in the comments, or email me firstname.lastname@example.org
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