Whether you are in the planning phase of a complete remodel or simply designing a room, it is critical to consider design flow.
Feng shui is the Asian art of designing space to allow for the optimal flow of energy through a home or a specific room. Some people find it effective, others do not.
However, what we are referring to when we say, “design flow” is the flow of traffic, as opposed to the flow of energy.
When you walk into a house and you have to step around a bookcase that juts out too far or you bump into a chair that’s too close, it makes you feel unwelcome.
Design flow is the idea that there should be a clear path through your living space and that everything should be highlighting this path and guiding people toward it rather than blocking their access.
A flowing house will have bedrooms in one area of the house -- away from the noisy entertainment room or kitchen -- with a bathroom just around the corner; a dining area will be close to the kitchen, in order to provide quick and efficient access to the food table.
Each room will have its own purpose and personality, yet you will not have the sense that you are in a different house when you go from one room to another.
You want your home to feel as though you can easily come in and out of each area and that every space is welcoming. That is design flow.
A great starting place to give your home design flow is right in the entryway. The entryway often gets taken for granted and becomes a place to toss keys and let mail pile up. (That’s what the mudroom is for.)
The entryway is the perfect place to introduce the overall style of your house and, more importantly, yourself.
What you use to adorn your foyer doesn’t have to be a metaphor for your life, but do put something meaningful there. It could be a family photo, or a painting of sunflowers. Anything, as long as you love it.
If you do not have a foyer and your front door opens right into your living room, you probably will not be able to create a telling little design “sampler,” but at the very least make sure that your entry is welcoming. Single out the first thing someone sees as she walks through the door and make it attractive.
If it is a wall behind the couch, hang a striking piece of art. If the front door opens right in front of the stairs, put a great runner on the steps or install an interesting banister.
Most important of all, be certain that your guests do not have to circumnavigate the back of a couch or chair to get into the room. Any obstacle to entering the house is unwelcoming.
As tempting as it is to cram as many pieces of furniture into your home as possible, use restraint.
Instead, keep the area inviting by keeping it open.