Authored by Ande Waggener
Stop arguing and start designing. Here are seven interior design techniques to solve the he-said-she-said decorating conflict. You can decorate your home as a couple and actually enjoy it too!
Why Decorate Your Home As A Couple?
You love him. He loves you. But do you love the same things? Probably not. If you and your honey are about to decorate your first home together, you might be discovering that the two of you have very different ideas about what looks good.
So, how do you put together a space that suits you both? You need to learn how to decorate your home as a couple and with a little effort, enjoy it too!
Decorating a home can be an emotional experience. You’re making choices that will have a lasting impact on your surroundings. These choices often involve finances, which can be one of the most charged subjects within a relationship.
Also, design tastes are personal. They reflect who you are. So, blending these tastes with a partner’s opinions can trigger arguments and hurt feelings.
You can, however, design as a couple and have it be a fun experience. It’s possible to bring together seemingly disparate styles to create a unified effect. The most beautiful interiors merge a variety of looks and styles into a coherent whole.
To accomplish this, you simply need to do two things. First, set a few ground rules about cooperating with each other. Second, use these interior design tips and get inspired by living room ideas.
I remember the first apartment we got together as a couple as if it were yesterday. The first thing I did was take charge and make most of the decorating decisions myself – that’s a huge no-no. Before you get started decorating as a couple, there are some ground rules to remember.
Before you actually start designing your space, keep these ground rules for successful compromise in mind.
- Have a Common Objective
You can’t work together if you’re working at cross-purposes. So, before you talk modern vs. traditional or gray vs. pink, find common ground on the scope and the cost of your decorating. Ask yourself: How much do you want to take on? What’s your budget?
- Agree on a Foundation
Now that you have a common goal, you need a common starting point. When it comes to decorating your first home, this means you need to know what you’re going to work with.
Which of your belongings will stay and be part of the new home? Which will go? One easy way to handle this is to get rid of everything except the most sentimental items. Clean slates can be the strongest foundations to work on.
- Set Limits
It’s unlikely you and your partner will be together for every aspect of the designing process. You might be out and about and see what you think is the perfect end table. Do you buy it or not? It’s best to decide what items must have joint approval. One way to do this is to set a dollar amount. If the item costs over a set amount, you both have to be included in the decision.
- Find Your Passive Places
Neither you nor your partner will have strong opinions about every part of the decorating process. Some things may not be your favorite thing but you “don’t give a hoot” whether they’re there or not. My husband, for example, doesn’t love throw pillows, but he couldn’t care less if they’re in our shared space.
I don’t love the look of electronics, but they don’t bug me. If you find the areas where both of you are willing to give a little, the whole decorating process will be easier.
- Never Get Off Point
Designing a home can get emotional. That doesn’t mean you have carte blanche to use design disagreements as a launching point for talking about relationship issues. A heated discussion over a coffee table should never morph into a discussion of whose friends are more obnoxious or who earns more money.
- Make it Fun
Any project has the potential to be either stressful or fun. It’s your choice. Decorating, especially, should be fun. You’re collaborating on creating something you both want to love. So endeavor to make it a playful process.
He-Said-She-Said Interior Design Tips
- Start with Neutral Walls
A mixture of ingredients can work great if it has a solid base to work with. In home décor, whether it’s masculine home décor or feminine home décor, that base is wall color.
Because the walls are the backdrop for every other component of the room, they have to play well with everything. Remember when you decorate your home as a couple to give yourself a leg up on bringing together opposing styles and design elements, start with neutral walls.
Neutral walls don’t mean boring walls. Decorating with white walls is a timeless interior design technique. And beige is a trending design color. Any neutral can be a beautiful canvas on which to paint your room design.
- Choose a Cohesive Color Palette
A basic color palette is a key aspect of all room design. However, it’s even more so when you’re putting together masculine and feminine decorating styles. Keeping it simple is important.
Designers who work with couples suggest picking just two main colors for a room and then using varying shades of those colors as the accent colors instead of bringing in a third or fourth main color. Doing this sets up a structure in the room that can hold the room together even if you later add a wildly eclectic mix of furniture and accessories.
- Follow the 80/20 Rule
The best eclectic décor doesn’t just toss together all manner of styles and objects. It has a core look around which the other looks can cluster. The 80/20 rule gives you that core.
In interior design, the 80/20 rule is a ratio applied to furniture style. To meet this rule, 80 percent of your furnishings must be of a unified style. The other 20 percent of the furnishings can be any other style you want. So, for example, if 80 percent of your furnishings have modern, linear lines, 20 percent can be more traditional or even country in look and feel.
- Overlay Masculine with Feminine or Vice Versa
You can decorate your home as a couple by following some simple guidelines. One seamless way to put together masculine and feminine elements is by overlaying them. This means being sure that a masculine object or feature in the room also has some feminine aspect and vice versa.
For example, if a décor item has feminine color, it should have a masculine shape. And on the flip side, if an object, like a lamp, for instance, has a masculine color or finish, it should have a feminine shape.
Remember, when you decorate your home as a couple your decor elements can be an eclectic mix of both masculine and feminine items. Compromise is key!
- Balance with Textiles
You probably don’t think of textiles as adhesives, but that’s how they can be used in your décor. Textiles like thick rugs or luscious throws can act like glue to adhere to an element to the room as a whole.
For instance, if your partner wants sharply tailored or geometric lines in the furniture and rugs in the room, you can connect those lines to a softer room by adding a soft, fluffy throw to the furniture.
- Design Around Purpose
If you and your partner have different ideas for a room, it’s probably because you have different ideas about how the space will be used. So if you get at loggerheads, back up a moment and discuss what you think the space is for.
If your partner thinks the living room is for watching TV, for example, you probably can find a compromise in design elements if you simply use the TV as the design anchor. Once the TV is there, maybe your spouse won’t care how many plants or accessories are in the room.
When it comes to decorating your home as a couple, it can come down to a simple design element too. When we decided to change the pulls and handles for our kitchen cabinets, the hubby and I had completely different ideas on the direction we wanted to go – we finally settled on something we both love! It’s all about compromise as well.
- Put Personality in the Accents Only
Remember those sentimental items mentioned in the ground rules? This is where you get to bring them into the décor. If you’ve followed the above seven tips, you’ve been able to design a room that both you and your partner love.
Now, you will be able to add all those little bits that maybe you hate and he loves – or he hates and you love to your new space and enjoy creating a space you will both love.
It’s easier to tuck these elements into a room that you both agree on than it’s to try to design a whole room around something either of you despises. You can decorate your home as a couple and actually enjoy it!
If you follow the above ground rules when and decorating tips, you and your partner can design a space that you’ll both love to be in. That space will not only please you both, but it will also reflect who you are as individuals and as a couple.
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