(This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. While clicking these links won't cost you any extra money, they will help us keep this site up and running and keep it free!)
Decorating homes to connect rooms together is tricky. Not all homes are the same and neither are our styles. Some rooms connect with regular doors and some have large openings. Some homes are open plan spaces and some have mezzanines. And then it’s a matter of personal style and preferences. You might have themed rooms. Or like bright colors. Or have eclectic style homes – that’s mixing all kinds of interior styles in one home. And then there is fear of making the house so cohesive that could become boring. So, which are the little secrets that will help you create the best possible visual flow from room to room?
Structural Elements are Vital to Cohesiveness
Pay attention to the structural elements. Floors, ceilings, and interior trims are the main architectural elements in each house. Get these ones done right and everything will start falling into place.
Even if you’ve got separate rooms at home, opening the doors to the same flooring is crucial to cohesiveness. Imagine standing at one end of the house looking through the open doors. If the flooring is the same, one room will connect with the other without disruptions. Your eyes will get jarred if one room has wood flooring and the next room has tile flooring. And even if you dress all rooms with the same flooring, try to stick to the same tones too. If each room has a different flooring and your budget doesn’t allow you to install hardwood all around the house, there is another solution. Choose vintage tiles to cover the section of the floor under each door – the section aligned with the doorjamb. By using the same tiles for each opening, you create a repetition which is key to cohesiveness.
Interior trims are substantial architectural elements. Use identical or similar door trims, baseboards, and crown molding, especially if the rooms are separated by big openings. The wider the trims are, the bolder their statement. If you prefer ornamental moldings, keep them similar. Don’t forget that they are ornate to stand out. If they are completely different from room to room, they will break harmony. That goes for their size too. Don’t use slim trims in the den and wide trims in the sitting room. Naturally, the room’s height dictates the size of your trims. But since most rooms have similar heights in most homes, use similar trim sizes too. Follow the same rationale for wainscoting panels too. Try to apply the same height rule (1/3 or 2/3) to all rooms. You can still trim a wall entirely from floor to ceiling. But when you use a classic wainscoting size, adhere to the same one for the best visual effects.
Ceilings are not the same either. You might have a flat ceiling in the study and a coffered ceiling in the living room. That’s okay as long as they have a similar style – modern or traditional. Things get more perplexed if you have complex and ornate coffered ceilings. In this case, don’t overdo it. Install a complex texture in one room and let it be the focal point. If you repeat it in the next room, you will create repetition and thus cohesiveness but might be too much. All the same, don’t coffer the next room’s ceiling. Let the living room ornamental ceiling do the talking and leave the rest flat.
Arched openings are not just beautiful but can also help you create a repetitive pattern. Archways work well in long corridors, which are often boring. They are also a great alternative to doors. So, if you have a corridor with a few doors and don’t mind removing them, the archways will take their place creating a visual flow.
Indoors and outdoors
If you have a kitchen or living room patio or terrace, connect the indoors to the outdoor environment. That’s significant if the indoors and outdoors are separated by big glass openings. Use the same material for the flooring outdoors too. If you have hardwood indoors, install deck outdoors. If you have tiles indoors, install tiles outdoors too. Apart from using similar flooring ideas, make sure the grout or wood boards are aligned too.
By aligning flooring, installing similar trims, and using more or less the same materials throughout the house, you are halfway there. They are not called foundational elements for nothing. They provide the base for you to build up the decorative element and thus further improve the flow from room to room.
Decorate Rooms to Improve Visual Flow
Color is key to visual flow
Maximize the feeling of unity by using the right colors. The hues you choose to paint walls will either help or break your efforts. That’s because walls occupy too much space and will either improve the flow from room to room or make the home look disjointed. One would say that opting for monochromatic options will do the trick. It surely will. But remember, we don’t want to make our homes boring and use a repeating motif or hue that will strip rooms from their unique character. And so it’s best to approach the ‘color’ matter from different angles.
One color, many variations
There is no doubt that monochromatic solutions untie our hands. With the same color flowing from one room to the next and from there to the next and so forth, you get cohesiveness. But yawning too. The secret is to use different tones of the same color. Never forget that there is not only one white. Or one gray. Or one blue. And then it’s a question of whether you opt for pale or intense hues. One simple solution for elegant homes and great visual flow is to use white and all sorts of variations. You can paint the hallway light gray, the living room white, the dining room gray-blue, and the kitchen off-white. This way, you let each room have its own character without interrupting the visual flow in space.
Do you like blues, reds, and greens?
If you are in favor of intense colors or want to distinguish each room by its own color or have themed rooms and want them painted different colors, there is still a solution. Let’s say you have an open plan home but want to paint the kitchen orange, the dining room ruby-red and the living room dark gray. Just for the heck of it. Or because you like it. Or because you want to visually draw the lines between spaces. It will be very interesting. But you need an element that will unite the spaces so that the eye won’t be jarred. Moldings can play this role. No matter how many colors you use in the house, install the same baseboard colored white or gray. That’s actually important even if you opt for monochromatic choices. Trims are unifying elements, anyway. When the trim style is similar if not identical and colored the same hue, they allow rooms to connect. If you use intense colors, either choose bright or dark hues. It helps to unite the house and create a style.
And before we talk about style, which is also too important for the connection of rooms, let us just point out one last thing about colors.
Yes, you can use accent colors
You cannot decorate your house as if you were setting it for photo-shooting. And even if you do, how long do you think it will stay this way! Since homes are created to be lived in, you will surely have several items (decorative or functional) in each room. One way of improving the flow is to use one or two accent colors. So, take your pick. Do you like orange? Midnight blue? Yellow? Fuchsia? Use your favorite color(s) for the sofa, vases, cushions, and bookstands. This will provide the variety you want to make the house interesting and each room personalized without creating chaos.
Still speaking about colors, how about wood?
If you like wood and have wooden furniture in the home, try to stick to the same tone. You might have some antiques here and there and still a modern coffee table in the living room but since the idea is to create cohesiveness, stick to similar wood tones. That’s for furniture. You can use accessories and items in various wood tones. But when it comes to furnishings, a similar tone will create the desired feeling of cohesiveness.
Connect rooms by focusing on furniture and fabrics…
We all know that each room is furnished a different way. That makes sense. After all, each room has a different utility. And you might have some vintage pieces when it comes to furniture. That’s fine too. Actually, it’s more than fine. Such pieces will add a personal touch to the room. But as an overall, you should keep the same style for your furniture too. That being said, pay attention to fabrics too. You can have some focal points – that’s actually necessary – but don’t mix & match too much. When you walk from one room to the other, you want to feel the flow without getting bored either. So have one or two focal points in each room to make it interesting but make sure the style, colors, and patterns of fabrics and furniture agree with each other and create an interesting motif. For example, you can have neutral fabrics but accentuate with a texture here or an accent color there. As you see, this brings us back to our coloring schemes.
Another thing that will help you connect rooms is furniture arrangement. Or rather alignment. You can actually use objects and furnishings to create flow. That’s easily done by placing the living room coffee table to face the opening leading to the dining room, where you can see the table in its length along with the pendant lights. You can also use area rugs that will run from one room to another. You can put the same plants next to each opening. The idea is to align and/or match objects and furnishings to create flow without making the home matchy-matchy.
Do you know what will play a big role? Your home style
When you are trying to decorate your house cohesively, you need to decide on your style first. Then, everything becomes so much easier. Whether you like the mid-century, eclectic, industrial, or Victorian home style, let it dominate throughout the house. This alone will create flow. Even if your style is a little bit of everything, just stand on the doorstep and look around. What seems to be out of place? There is always a vase, a mirror, an antique, a rug or even structural elements that stand in the way of eyes and don’t feel right. Remove them and feel the difference.
It’s not easy to make rooms flow. It’s hard to decorate cohesively. But take it one step at the time. Use the process of elimination. Close your eyes and bring your home to mind. How will you like it to be? Which elements will make rooms flow? This will get you started.