Colour 101- Creating Flow with Colour

When working with clients, one of their main concerns when decorating is ensuring flow between the rooms. What do I mean when I say flow between the room? Well the dictionary meaning of flow is to have smooth continuity. In decorating terms, you want a colour scheme that works smoothly from room to room in connecting spaces. Think of your  home as one big book and the rooms throughout the home as chapters.

Young House Love Blog
Young House Love Blog

Older style homes had separate rooms with doorways or archways delineating the various areas- living, dining, kitchen and perhaps a hallway that connected the main house to the bedrooms. More and more, today’s home are open concept floor plans. Which means by standing in one room, you have a visual of the other rooms. For some, creating flow in an open concept space can prove to be difficult to get just right. Have you ever walked in to a home and had a sense that something didn’t feel right but did not know why?

Well, the challenge comes in achieving some sort of harmony and balance between the rooms through the use of colour, light, texture and pattern. The key to decorating is to look at the big picture. Even if you are just decorating one room at a time due to time or budget constraints, you should think about how you will want the other rooms to relate to it. A lot of people paint and furnish but, they do not decorate and then the rooms fall flat. When creating flow, please consider not only paint colour but, textiles such as rugs, pillows, and throw blankets. Consider window treatments and lighting and last but not least, accessorize. Art is a wonderful way to bring your rooms to life and help you carry a colour scheme from one room to the next.

Some Tips in creating colour flow:

  • An easy way to create colour flow is to use lighter and darker shades of the same colour throughout your home.  Paint fan decks is a wonderful resource in showing you how the lighter and darker shades of one colour will look.
Sherwin Williams
Sherwin Williams
  • Create continuity by choosing colours with similar undertones. For example, if you choose a with a blue undertone, then you will want to choose other colours with a blue undertone to them as well.
Greys with blue-green undertones. Sherwin Williams
Greys with blue-green undertones. Sherwin Williams
  • Look at your furniture, your surroundings, both inside and out for colour inspiration. Pick up colours from nature- blues and greens. Inside your home, look at artwork, fabrics, perhaps a colourful rug, favourite accessory as a jumping off point and use them in different  rooms throughout the home. Pick colours from nature.
Pick colours from nature.
  • Choose between three and five favourite colours and then alternate the primary, secondary and accent colours for each room. For example, perhaps the main wall colour in one room becomes the ceiling colour in another and an accent colour in yet another. You can also use pillows, window treatments, rugs, lampshades to carry these colours from room to room. Then select two colours that all your room will share.


Benjamin Moore has an amazing online colour tool that will help you to choose a colour scheme that has flow. Remember, when looking at colours, think beyond paint, consider the other options that I discussed in this post such as window treatments, pillows, and other soft furnishings. This room has a monochromatic colour scheme but it is anything but flat. There is lots of texture, pattern and light through the use of glass, chrome and mirrors used throughout the two rooms.



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