Currently, our home is a huge mess with all the renovations that are going on. The dining room is in disarray with broken slate covering the subfloors and there are holes in walls from wire being fished for the recessed lights. I’m anxious to move in but, the best thing I can do to move the house process along is to stay out of the contractors’ way as much as possible. So, I’ve been doing that and just checking in every once in a while to see the progress.
One thing that I can and have been doing though is thinking about ways to make each room feel cohesive with the overall style of the house. With this renovation, I’ve been making design decisions from choosing wall colors and flooring to making lighting decisions. I want all these little decisions to be a part of the larger aesthetic of the house so that each room’s style flows into the next room. To do that, I’ve been thinking about ways to create the best overall aesthetic cohesion in the house and I’ve come up with a few tips that I’ve used over the 7 houses I’ve renovated.
HOW TO CREATE A COHESIVE HOUSE STYLE
CONSISTENT COLOR PALETTE
Creating a color palette that you use throughout your house is essential in making your house feel put together. If you’ve got blue in one room right next to red in another room, your house will feel piecemeal. So, consistency in wall color is key. If you want to go with a neutral palette, then choose all neutrals in the same tone.
If you want a boho chic color palette then make sure you use boho chic tones throughout the house.
But what if you LOVE color and want it use different colors on your walls? Of course you can do that! In fact, I’m going to with my house, but I’m choosing one main neutral color to paint the open areas of the house. Then, with that base, I’m choosing colors that are the same tone as each other. So a muted green in one room and a muted blue in another room are fine. A bright green in one room and a muted blue in a another are not fine. I also use different colors in areas that don’t flow into other rooms. So save the non-neutral wall colors for an office with a door or for bedrooms. But keep the main areas that flow into each other a neutral color.
MARIE KONDO YOUR STUFF
Don’t keep items you don’t like! It’s bad for the soul and it creates a cluttered house. If you keep every little knick knack and tchochki that comes your way, you’ll have to find a place for it whether it fits your aesthetic or not. Be brutal about getting rid of things you don’t use, don’t want, and doesn’t bring you happiness. Also, if an item doesn’t fit the overall aesthetic of your house (and you don’t have sentimental feelings about it), give it away. The last thing you want is for your contemporary house to have livestock prints hanging in the kitchen that you feel like you have to keep because they were gifted to you by Aunt Susan. Let go of the chicken prints with reclaimed wood frames! For more information about how to minimize with purpose, check out Marie Kondo’s book.
One of the best ways to make your house look put together is to call back to elements in other spaces. So, if your color palette is neutral and you choose an accent color of blue, use a little blue in each room. Or, use a little bit of geometric design in each room. Or, use a little of the same metal in each room. The key is to pick something (or a couple things) and sprinkle that something throughout your house. Using repeats of elements looks intentional and that makes your house look cohesive.
MIX OLD AND NEW
Mix old things with new things. If you use only antique items, that makes your house look old and dated. If you use only new items, that doesn’t lend to a home with character. The trick is to use both old and new elements in each room so that your house can grow over time to accommodate new pieces that you buy or old pieces that get handed down from grandma.
USE THE SAME FLOORING
One of the easiest ways to create flow and cohesion is to use the same flooring throughout the house or at least on the same level. There’s nothing more jarring than to see carpet next to wood next to tile on the same floor. Trust me, I know… I’m redoing all the floors in our new house because I have 3 different types of flooring on the same level. There are exceptions to this rule: kitchens and baths can have different flooring and it doesn’t look disjointed. But, personally, I try to use the same flooring even for the kitchens and baths.
CHOOSE A STYLE AND STICK TO IT
Choose a style: eclectic, modern farmhouse, traditional. There are so many! But choose an overall style and stick with it. Then choose the key elements of what you like about that style and repeat those elements in your rooms. If you chose a traditional style and really like how that style caters to beautiful wood molding, then use molding throughout your house. If you love modern farmhouse, then you’re probably going to want to use reclaimed wood in some form in each room. So choose a style, pick key elements of that style, and sprinkle, sprinkle throughout your house.
SAME CORE ELEMENTS THROUGHOUT
This tip is similar to choosing a style, but at a more foundational level since it relates to the parts of your home that are more permanent. So, if you have painted interior doors, paint them all. If you have black windows, then make sure they’re all black. Stick with the same outlet covers. Choose to paint your baseboards white or paint them a color. Stick with the same trim style. Choose the same doorknobs thought your home. You get where I’m going… Make the foundational parts of your room the same for every room.
LISTEN TO YOUR HOUSE
If you bought a contemporary home, don’t try to fight the style of the house by using a bunch of marble, dark wood, and antique gold finishes. Your house is telling you, with it’s clean lines and open floor plan, that it’s not a colonial! Not listening to the vibe of your house creates a disjointed look that you’ll be fighting in every room you decorate. That definitely does not lend itself to cohesiveness.
MY BEST TIP
And now for my best tip! I use Pinterest to gather inspiration almost daily. If you want to see what I’m checking out, here are my Pinterest boards.
I do have a secret board though that I don’t share with people that serves as my “test” board to see if elements I like will fit into my house style. This board is the best way that I can see if my house is creating a cohesive picture with each new element I introduce.
This is how I do it– I make a board labeled “Whole House” and I pull elements from my own home that I’ve uploaded into Pinterest and I pin those images to the board. If I don’t have house images of my own home (I don’t yet since we *just* closed on our house 2 weeks ago) then I’ll pull images that most closely match my house as representative images. These are photos of elements that I love and don’t want to change.
Then I pull inspiration images from Pinterest that I love and want to integrate into my house to see if those styles flow with the rest of my home. For example, I’ve pulled images of different rooms on Pinterest that use the same wall paint colors that I’m thinking of using. If they go together side by side, then they’ll most likely flow in my house. I’ve done the same with stairs styles, flooring choices, office wainscoting… Having a whole house board on Pinterest is a way to have create a giant mood board for your home to test if what you want in your home will flow with the rest of your style.
Those are my best tips. If you have any others, leave them in the comments!