Over the last six years, apartments have been my family’s dwelling of choice. Is it glamorous? No. But when you’re SoCal surfers and you want to live a block or two from the beach, you sometimes have to choose your battles.
Creating a cohesive home is always important…but especially in smaller spaces. The less cluttered and the less disjointed, the better! And since I know a thing or two about pulling together a small home, here are my top 10 tips on how to create overall cohesion:
1. Purge – Before you do anything else…seriously…decide which pieces have outstayed their welcome. One of the keys to good design is to edit, edit, edit. Run through your house two or three times before moving on to the next step. Don’t forget to sell or consign as many pieces as you can so that you can roll those funds into your new decor!
2. Define Your Design Style – Take a look around your home, and make note of the pieces that you love. Review your Pinterest or Houzz boards and jot down repeating themes. Do modern farmhouse details show up often? Is mid-century modern taking center stage? Is coastal chic making a repeated appearance? Define your style and commit to it as the theme for your entire home.
3. Ensure a Cohesive Canvas – Pull the same flooring throughout, whether it be hard wood, engineered flooring, carpet, whatever. The same goes for moulding and trim: crown, baseboard, doors and windows. Coordinate both style and color.
4. Consider Room Functions and Traffic – Whenever I sit down with a client, one of the first questions I ask about a space is “What activities will be taking place in this room?” Try out various furniture arrangements to ensure that you’re making the most of your space and optimizing the ease of traffic flow from one room to the next.
5. Select a Color Palette – I typically recommend choosing more expensive and/or large pieces of furniture in neutral colors – whites, creams, grays, beiges. They are excellent backdrops that can really withstand the test of time. Additionally, I would choose up to three colors to build off of your neutrals and scatter throughout. Be sure they are colors that represent everyone in the home. Avoid using a color that a family member dislikes – trust me.
6. Repeat Your Color Palette Creatively – Avoid putting green area rugs in every room or painting all of the walls green in every room. Instead, paint a feature wall green in one room, select green artwork in a second, and add a green area rug in a third.
7. Be Consistent With Wood Tones – I probably wouldn’t stray too far away from two wood tones. You may be able to get away with three if you have a larger home. But proceed with caution.
8. Repeat Featured Fabrics – Oversized botanical prints are certainly popular these days, so you could pull that pattern in with throw pillows in one room, an accent chair in another, and curtain panels in a third. I’m personally a fan of cotton and linen. To me, they are just easy…and also timeless.
9. Keep a Balance of Old and New – I once had a client whose father in law was an incredible painter. Throughout their home, they had these beautiful gallery style paintings set within ornate gold frames. We all have heirlooms, precious pieces that have been passed down. The best way to balance old and new is to be sure that every room has one or two vintage pieces mixed in with your current style. I personally wouldn’t reach beyond two items per room.
10. Bring in the Outdoors – Be sure to include one to two plants in every room – and yes, this includes fresh flowers! Greenery is very much on trend right now. But really, will it ever go out of style?
So now that you’re equipped to make your home more cohesive, have a go at it! And share some success stories with me down below – I love to hear from you all!