Close Give Feedback
Resene Paints - home page
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Pinterest Follow us on Instagram Follow us on YouTube

Why your home doesn’t look cohesive – and what to do about it

From the Resene decorating blog

If your home feels disjointed, chances are you might unknowingly be making one of these common colour mistakes.

If you have ever had a wander around a show home, you might have been impressed by how put together everything looked. Each room probably had a certain something that made it feel as though it fit in with the rest of the house.

A colourful lounge with a piece of statement artwork

Use a piece of statement artwork to define the palette and style for your home.

The Resene Nocturnal wall at the left provides a neutral backdrop for the range of colours and is joined by a side wall in Resene Ashanti and a plywood floor finished in Resene Colorwood Whitewash. A retro sideboard has been given an eye-catching overhaul in Resene Space Cadet and Resene Gorse while the second-hand coffee tables are in the softer Resene Sakura and Resene Ashanti.

A master moodboard allows for a cohesive plan

A master mood board will help you to make a cohesive plan. The background is in Resene Ashanti, the hooks are in Resene Gorse, and the A4 drawdown paint swatches, from left to right, are in Resene Nocturnal, Resene Sakura and Resene Space Cadet. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

But many real homes just don't feel like this: they come across as unfinished or might have a mishmash of items and rooms that don't really go together, and you could be left wondering what these show homes have that your own home lacks.

If your home feels disjointed, chances are you might unknowingly be making one of these common colour mistakes.

Mistake #1: Tackling one room at a time

Today, you might be decorating a bedroom. Next month, maybe you turn your attention to the living room. This stop-and-start approach seldom results in a cohesive look.

Does this mean that you have to decorate your whole home at once? Not unless you want to and have the budget for it – but if you want a cohesive look, you do need to come up with a plan for your whole home at once.

Show home designers start by creating a whole-home plan and a master mood board, which lays out the colours, fabrics and finishes to be used throughout the home and within each room. By selecting your Resene colours, furniture, fabrics and accessories, you will be limited to what you can include. This might not sound like a good idea, but in fact, it actually makes it easier to shop once you restrict the options. Rather than just buying whatever catches your eye, purchases have to fit in with your whole home plan.

Mistake #2: Choosing too many different colours

Blue for the bedroom, red for the dining room, green for the bathroom, yellow for the kitchen – we’ve all been in a home like this. Generally the approach of choosing a completely different hue from room to room stems from a fear of being boring.

A cohesive black and blue bedroom

The best part about paint is that you can use it on just about anything. If you find a piece of furniture or an accessory you love that’s not quite the right colour, paint it to match your scheme. In this cohesive-looking bedroom, the wall, shelf and brackets are painted Resene Nocturnal, the side table is in Resene Organic and the pots, vases and tealight are in Resene Paddock, Resene Seaweed, Resene Passport and Resene Ciderhouse. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Melanie Jenkins.

Now, this doesn't mean that you have to paint every wall the same colour in your home; it means that you use colour consistently throughout your home. Professional interior designers know that having a consistent Resene colour scheme throughout your house creates cohesion and unity. The colours don't have to be identical; but by using similar colours in different ways, each room will looks as though it belongs in the same home.

Think of it as choosing colour palettes for individual rooms whereas you’re looking for an overall colour personality for the home. A colour personality could should include colours that tell a similar story. For example, an artsy home could have a vibrant jewel toned colour personality, but while the kitchen could feature cobalt blue tiles, the dining room could sport a pair of fuchsia dining benches. A villa could have a soft washed colour personality and have a blush pink console with birch stools in the entry and celadon cabinets with white honed counters in the master bath.

Mistake #3: You haven’t thought about sight lines

To make sure that your rooms flow from one into the other, consider how much of each room you can see from adjoining rooms, and make sure that the flooring, colour scheme and fabrics flow well between them. This is especially true of entranceways. If you can see several rooms when you enter your home, you will need to make sure that each is cohesive with the décor of the entrance, as well as with each other.

Sightlines - lounge/hallway with variations of blue

Keep sightlines in mind for a cohesive design, especially when it comes to hallways and entryways. In this space, different variations of blue create a sense of continuity between two spaces. The walls of the lounge are painted Resene Zinzan while Resene Biscay has been used on the bottom of the wall and Resene Half Dusted Blue for the top of the wall in the hallway. The floor is painted Resene Chalk Dust, the hallways sideboard is in Resene Biscay, the wooden hooks and bowl are in Resene Frozen and the cabinet doors are in Resene Breathless. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Wendy Fenwick.

Mistake #4: The style mish-mash

If you want your home to look cohesive, avoid experimenting with different styles in different rooms. Going Scandi in the bedroom, Country in the kitchen and Glam in the lounge. That's the fastest route to having a home look like a jumbled mess with a mish-mash of items that just don't go together, even if you quite like the individual rooms.

The key is to figure out what you’re are drawn to the most with Resene colour, pattern, decorative objects and art and then find the thread the ties them together. Whether you like traditional, modern, eclectic, rustic, shabby-chic, contemporary, coastal or a combination of two – once you have named your style and know what it is you like about it, it will be easier to keep to a coherent look throughout the home.

In the same way that you need to unify colours across a home, make sure that you consider the fabrics and patterns that you use too. Collect swatches of all the fabrics you will use in your home and lay them side-by-side to see how they work together.

Don’t forget about your flooring either. If you have a mix of tiles, wood and carpet across your rooms, it will likely look disjointed. This doesn't mean that you have to have exactly the same flooring throughout your home – although that can be one solution – but you should consider the colour and tone of the flooring. If choose a pale timber, pick a pale carpet and pale tiles – or stick to all darks.

Mistake #5: You haven’t taken lighting into account

You may think that if you’ve used the exact same colour throughout every room in your home, you’d have employed a fool-proof solution to ensuring continuity in your home – but that might not be the case.

In the most well-designed homes, masterful colour consultants work their unique brand of magic by looking to the lighting to define each of their selections. They may even go so far as to pick a different colour for a single wall because of how much the lighting can change the way it appears within the space. While the swatches may look the same completely different when they’re laying side-by-side, they can look like the same colour used on different walls of the same room because of the way the light hits it.

Top tips for creating cohesive style:

June 17, 2019

Visit your local Resene ColorShop for more colour ideas and all the expert advice and products you need for a superb finish on all your decorating projects.

Book a colour consult | Ask a Colour Expert | Ask a Paint Expert

Resene's decorating blog

Paint your home beautiful! Discover the latest decorating trends, tips and colour news.

Previous article
Previous «

Classic colour combos for looks that last

Return to the blog home page
Blog home

View the latest trends, tips and news

Next article
» Next

Making a media room


Order online now:
Testpots | Paints | Primers and Sealers | Stains | Clears | Accessories

Get inspired Get inspired ! Subscribe      Get saving Get saving ! Apply for a DIY card

Resene Paints Ltd

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask us!

Resene Paints Ltd   –

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Pinterest Follow us on Instagram Follow us on YouTube
Videos on how to paint and stain your house

Welcome to our World of Colour!™
Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.

What's new | Specifiers | Painters | DIYers | Artists | Kids | Sitemap | Home | TOP ⇧