Moving into a new home with your significant other can be an incredibly exciting and rewarding time, but it can also be a stressful process at times. It’s exciting to be moving in together to start sharing your lives, and the space that you love in can act as a blank canvas which you can use to express the mixture of your personalities. However, it can be stressful when you are trying to merge your different tastes and styles into something that makes sense and will complement your home. If this is an issue that you are struggling to deal with, here are a few tips.
The ability to compromise is a skill that will be valuable to you again and again throughout your life, but especially in your relationship. Look for ways that you could use accent pieces that reflect both of your styles and personalities without clashing with each other. By doing this, you can select items that best tell your story as a couple rather than as individuals.
Make Individual Spaces
A compromise is often a workable solution to a problem, but it won’t work in all instances. In some cases, it could make more sense to preserve your individual preferences for some pieces and create individual spaces. Perhaps you spend a lot of of your time in one area of your home, while your partner spends their time in a different one. For example, if you have an office space to work from home, the person who works in there should get to make design choices. If one of you has a hobby that takes up a lot of room and clashes badly with the overall design of your house, such as model trains or other models, it makes sense to have an individual space to house this. This allows you to have a space where each of you can express your individual tastes and preferences without too much conflict.
Set Expectations at the Beginning
Whether you choose to merge your style or keep your individuality, it’s important to set rules early and know what can be changed and what can’t. Try to keep your vetoes to the things that are the most important to you, as your partner might want the same opportunity.
Purchase New Things Together
As you merge style where you can and compromise where you can’t, you will need to buy something new. This is a chance to showcase your ability to be flexible as you and your partner discuss what the items should be. It will allow you to discuss the purchase beforehand and come to an agreement and start to build a style that best reflects your composition as a couple.
Get Priorities Straight
Moving in together, renovating, or redecorating can all be emotional times, with a lot of stress over making decisions, money, and different preferences. One way to make sure that everyone ends up happy is to start the process with a discussion of how you want to use the spaces and what is important for each of you. Find points that you both agree on, items you both like and mutual must-haves, and build from there.
Set A Budget
One of the biggest points of contention, when couples start to decorate together, isn’t usually a question of style, but one of finance. Resentments can easily start to build up if one person feels that the other’s spending is out of control, or that their partner is being cheap or restrictive. Before you go anywhere near a furniture store or an interior designer’s office, decide on a budget that both of you feel comfortable with.
Share Your Styles
Often, there is one person in a relationship who has a stronger design preference or is more invested in the look of the home. If you’re that person, resist the urge to just take over and make all the decisions. Instead, get an idea of what your partner’s style is by shopping together and pointing out things that you both love or by browsing magazines and Pinterest together. Should you find yourselves at the opposite end of the spectrum, it’s time to get creative. Sometimes the best spaces are created by combining opposing styles, layering eclectic textures, blending different colour schemes and mixing unique accessories and art.
Learn To Compromise
Evaluate the things that you love and make them work. You will likely find that each of you has a few treasured pieces that you can’t live without. You might not love everything that your partner sees as a must-have, but before you veto something, try to come up with a way to reinvent it first. A new coat of paint, different upholstery, or even using a piece in a different context or room can give it a whole new life. Once each person knows that their needs will be met, it can open up the floor for compromise in areas where you might have a difference in opinion.
Hire A Professional
If despite your best efforts at solving design disagreements, you are still facing some conflict when it comes to decorating your space together, you could consider hiring an interior designer to help you to guide the process and bring together your styles. A qualified designer will have a lot of experience in decorating for couples and will provide a fresh perspective, creative solutions and unique style options that can take a process that seems like a challenge and turn it into something fun. It’s hard to blend two lives together, at least in a way that is free of conflict, and a professional can help you to hone into the goals, anticipate problems and offer guidance.
Simplify and Relate
If you like a more eclectic style, contemporary art and traditional elements can go well together. Modern art and old-world antiques can sit together beautifully with a bit of editing and some design savvy.
To get this right, you need to look at the silhouettes of your pieces. If you have a curvy piece, like a settee, simplify it by covering it in solid colour material. Draw the colour from another piece, like a painting. The shape of the settee can play with the shapes in the artwork and sets the tone for other traditional shapes in the room. Look out for common elements in your pieces, like curved lines or similar colours, to create harmony.
Architectural details, like molding and a fireplace, can reflect the period when your home was built. If you want to update period architecture, keep your furnishings really simple, with clean structured shapes. This will give your rooms a more modern vibe and create harmony. You can unify simplified shapes with colour. Furniture with sculptural forms will please those who want strong, clean lines in their decor, while someone who is more of a traditionalist will enjoy how the overall structure is anchored in tradition.
Edit To Compromise
Traditional might be a yes, but fussy is usually a no. Sometimes the best approach to please both partners is to keep fewer pieces and celebrate these items in a simpler setting. In a space that is purely traditional, the pattern is layered and embellished. Strict editing can make a more pleasing result. Select the pieces that you can’t live without and edit out the rest. Pick two of three items and leave it at that. The result will celebrate favourite possessions while pleasing someone with minimalist taste.
Push The Extremes
You can make a more eclectic mix work too, such as all modern furniture in a traditional setting, if you apply a few simple design principles.
First, identify the fixed pieces in the space you are working on. For example, this might be the light fitting or a mirror over the fireplace. Visualise this as being part of the structure, and keep these elements very traditional. When you choose items like that, look for elements that are very different, or the result will end up being a mishmash of ideas. It is only by pushing the design tension that the result will be really interesting.
For example, choose a gold-framed traditional mirror with baroque detail and a dramatic chandelier. Pair these with very modern chairs. You can make this kind of mix work when you keep in mind that the key is to juxtapose very modern furniture against a traditional structure. This is a great reason to visit local flea markets and see what treasures you can find.
Enjoy The Tension
Divert the tension into your project and decor instead of having it in your relationship. For example, pair a very modern structure with traditional furniture. You can get this effective result if you remember to keep your fabric choices simple, allowing one or two prints to stand out. Choose a strong colour to set off the prints, and the mix will feel just right. It will be bold and simplified but still have a nod to tradition.1