Townhome 101


Lamp on sideboard against tiled wall in New Zealand homeYou just closed on your townhome.  The keys are in your hands, and you can’t wait to start zazzing up the place and making it your own.  Suddenly, you find yourself stumped on where to start, right? The townhome is bigger than your last apartment though not as spread out as the house you grew up in.  And all those stairs? Your glutes will thank you, but how to decorate around them?

Every home comes with its own set of design and décor challenges, and townhomes are no different.  The main challenge with a townhome is how to achieve flow when the rooms are stacked on top of each other. The good news is that while most townhomes follow a similar floor plan (up, not out) and have similar issues (lots of stairs, plus windows at either end, but not in the middle), the fixes are simple, universal, and stylistically non-denominational. What we mean by that is that they’ll work in a Brooklyn brownstone, a Chicago rowhouse, or a beachside townhouse in SoCal. And you can apply them whether your style is serene and Zen-like, bold and eclectic, or shiny and opulent.

 Colour and continuity

The layout of many townhomes encourages one-room-at-a-time thought.  When the office is on the first floor, the kitchen and living room on the second, and the bedrooms on the third, it’s easy to think of it as an isolated space.  But even with this layout, to achieve the best flow, you’ll want to carry some concepts from room to room and floor to floor.

You can do this with paint, by choosing different shades of the same hue or colors that complement each other.  You can also use the same accent colors in the fabrics and accessories found in different rooms. Or mix it up, for example, by using blues on the wall in the bedroom and on the pillows and throws in the living room. Even just having the same flooring throughout goes a long way toward the sense of continuity in the home.

 Transitional spaces

When decorating, don’t give all your love to the main rooms of the home: kitchen, living room, bedroom, bathroom. In a townhome, if you don’t lavish the entryway and stairways, and landings with your attention as well, your place will feel like a set of disconnected rooms.

This doesn’t mean hanging tons of family photos on every hallway wall if that’s not what you’re into. Whatever your sense of design, the following items will help furnish and adorn transitional spaces so they feel like part of the home:

Runners – Bring hallways and stairs into the fold with carpet runners.  They add elements of coziness and polish.

*We love this overdyed wool runner in deep carmine from ABC Carpet & Home.


Console Tables  – The perfect piece of furniture for your entry, hallway, or on a wide landing at the top of your stairs.

*This croc-embossed Preston Console Table by Jonathan Adler will chic-ify and sleek-ify your transitional space instantly.


Mirrors and/or art – Anything goes. Accessorize to your heart’s content.  Or keep it low key and functional.  This layer provides personality.

*This hallway of mirrors from House and Garden is a fun idea that will also maximize the available light.



Et cetera – A slipper chair if there’s room.  A plant or two, if there’s light. What you do and how you do it is up to you. Our point is that in a townhome, bringing your transitional spaces to life will help to unify your whole home.

*For more ideas on decorating hallways, entryways, and landings, we recommend Houzz, Pinterest, and “Hallway Ideas to Steal” at House and Garden UK.

Images for transitional spaces:

Soho Townhouse at


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