Months spent indoors during the pandemic have led many of us to ponder whether our home’s design really holds together. While it’s relatively simple to decorate an individual room, it’s somewhat more challenging to come up with a scheme that flows comfortably from one space to the next. “If a home lacks flow, then it’s simply a random collection of design ideas that don’t work together,” says Brett Johnson, owner and chief creative director of Portland- and Bath-based Maine Street Design Co. “While some people like to have rooms that have unique personalities, we always coach our clients to think about threads that will unify the entire design concept.” Here, Johnson explains how to weave together a whole-house look you’ll be happy to live with.
What are the keys to a cohesive design?
It’s all about common elements. For example, in the Falmouth Foreside home featured here, we created a neutral color palette and used complementary fabrics and natural materials, like wood and stone — along with some metals — in each room to create design flow. We also considered the world outside the windows and brought in seasonal tones, including the shifting hues of nearby blueberry barrens and the orange leaves of fall.
Short of a wholesale redesign, how can you address a home that doesn’t feel consistent?
We encourage clients to walk from room to room and make notes on colors, patterns, art, and furniture styles they have, then think about the common denominators. Once the commonalities are understood, it’s easy to make simple changes, like painting a wall an accent color, changing lampshades, rearranging furniture, or moving art to create a more cohesive look and feel.
How do you keep a unified design from feeling one-note?
There’s a three-word answer to that question: avoid matchy-matchy.