How to Create a Better Flow in Your Great Room
“Open concept” interiors have become prominent in the realm of modern home design. At the heart of this design philosophy lies the great room, an expansive, multi-purpose space that often features a living area, kitchen, dining room, and den without the walls or doors between them -- all underneath a high ceiling. If this room design seems like a recipe for chaos, it certainly can be. Great rooms require careful planning to pull off properly. Ideally, you want each area within your great room to speak for itself while still maintaining a sense of openness overall. In other words, you must strike a balance between distinction and unity. Let’s discuss how you can create a better sense of flow in your great room without plunging it into disarray.
How to Create a Better Flow in a Living Room
Keep Your Walls the Same Color
In a typical home interior that lacks an open concept design, rooms are separated by walls, granting each space a unique identity. As such, it’s easier to think of each room as its own entity. When it’s time to select interior paint colors in this case, you can go room by room, creating a unique design for your kitchen, living room, dining area, and so on. For better or worse, great rooms don’t grant this inherent differentiation. Instead, you’re faced with a singular open space. In order to distinguish each area of your great room from one another, you might be tempted to go with different colors for each wall. However, taking this approach can break up the flow of your great room, making it feel less unified and more segmented. There’s nothing wrong with going this route, of course, but if you want to achieve better flow in your great room, it’s best to stick with a single wall color for the entire space. This way, you can move seamlessly from one area to another without feeling detached from the rest of the room.
Consider Doing the Same for Your Ceiling
Selecting one color for your great room’s walls will improve the space’s overall flow. That said, should you paint your walls and ceiling the same color as well? Once again, the answer to this question depends on what you wish to achieve with your great room. In our previous blog, “How to Play Off Your Ceiling's Potential in Your Great Room,” we go over the ways in which your great room’s ceiling can impact virtually every aspect of this space. For instance, choosing a ceiling color that’s lighter than your wall color can make your great room appear larger and taller; the opposite is true when you go with a darker ceiling color. Choosing the same color for your walls and ceiling, on the other hand, can further emphasize your great room’s sense of flow, eliminating another potential for visual separation. This interior painting choice might not be right for every great room, but it’s worth considering if your aim is to maintain a sense of openness and cohesion.
Allow Furniture to Naturally Separate Areas
You might pick a single color for your walls and ceiling, but this doesn’t mean every feature within your great room should follow suit. Contrast is the key to intriguing interior design and “flow,” and it can be achieved in many ways. If you’re not sure where to start, consider how your furniture interacts with the rest of your great room, both in terms of space and color. For instance, if your great room features white walls and a white ceiling, it’s best to go with a darker color for your furniture and decor. Moreover, you can strategically set up your furniture to create barriers that distinguish areas within your great room without disrupting flow. So, you might position the back of the couch in your living area to the back of your dining room chairs with some space in between. In doing so, there will still be no fixed barrier between these spaces, but the configuration and design of your furniture will create a visual degree of separation. Just make sure there’s plenty of room to maneuver in between.
Let Your Flooring Facilitate Better Flow
We’ve already touched on how walls and ceilings affect flow in a given great room, but floors have just as much of a role to play in this regard. Your floors, after all, facilitate movement from one area to the next. Keeping your great room’s flooring uniform is a simple way to maintain visual cohesion, but there’s more to consider as well. For instance, if your room is outfitted with hardwood floors, think about the direction the boards are facing; our eyes are trained to follow the length of these boards. If you want to seamlessly flow from one space to the next, then you’ll want to think about which direction the boards are facing. Are your hardwood floors “pointing” toward another portion of your great room or pushing against it? This is a non-issue for tile floors, of course, as tiles are typically square and symmetrical. You might also separate spaces in your great room by laying down rugs at different key points.
Keep Your Great Room Evenly Lit
The way you light a space has significant ramifications on the way your home interior painting projects end up looking -- the same paint color can look much different under dim, warm lighting vs. stark, cool lighting. When dealing with such an open space as your great room, lighting considerations become even more crucial, especially if you’re trying to create better flow. Failing to distribute light evenly across your great room will result in aesthetic inconsistencies. Some might welcome these differences (i.e., you might prefer a different type of lighting in your living area vs. your kitchen). Others, however, will prefer the uniform look. Taking advantage of natural lighting is one of the best ways to provide a sense of flow in your great room -- big windows and skylights can help in this regard. In the absence of sunlight, however, the lighting fixtures you install throughout your great room can provide each space with a similar amount of light when properly configured.
Streamlining Your Great Room
Great rooms are the envy of many homeowners. However, these open spaces can be challenging to set up just right. Everyone will have their own ideas about what makes a great room “great,” but most people can agree on the importance of proper flow. While there’s no one way to facilitate flow in your great room, thoughtful home painting and interior design choices hold the key. At Nash Painting, we’ve helped numerous clients across Nashville, Brentwood, and Franklin, TN unlock the potential of their great rooms. To learn more about us, our services, and our values, call us at 615-829-6858 today!