Do you have a different style from the person you are living with? It would be almost too easy if we loved all the same furniture or artwork as our spouse or significant other. Unfortunately, you might not like anything your spouse likes.
Maybe your styles are not different, but you just can’t agree on anythings. If you saw two sofas would you choose the same one? The answer is often no.
So how do you find middle ground and still have a home that looks designed and pulled together? Here are five tips for combining or negotiating different decorating styles in your home.
1. Claim Certain Spaces
This tip allows each person to have certain spaces to fit to their liking. This may not be the best rule for public spaces, but it works great for bedrooms, offices and caves (both male and female).
If you each claim one space where you can express your style without concern for the other person’s taste then each person feel like they have a say.
For example, my husband LOVES Elvis. Do you have any idea how much tacky art work an Elvis fan likes? We have something Elvis in almost every room, even the velvet Elvis. Above is Elvis’ thumb print. Fortunately, he keeps all of the more tacky (my word) pieces in his office.
2. Have a Reject Rule
This tip gives each person the ability to issue a hard pass on something they absolutely hate unless it’s in their claimed space. This can apply to a color, a piece of art or a piece of furniture.
This cuts both ways. For example, I would love to put pink in our bedroom, but my husband used his reject rule. It’s almost like a card game, but trust me this works.
This rule should apply to things that you inherit from family and friends. I have heard many people say that “I can’t get rid of this because it was a gift”. This rule gives you both permission to get rid of those “gifts” and embrace your own style. It can be tricky telling your in laws that you are not keeping their family heirloom (although remember they didn’t want it and that’s why you have it). Don’t let this deter you. It’s your home and it should be decorated in a style that makes you happy, no one else.
3. Choose A Joint Color Palette
You may have different styles, one is traditional and the other is modern. These can work together. If you have distinctly different styles, one way to make them look cohesive is to agree on a home color palette. Read about how to choose a palette.
Even if you have a different design style, your rooms can look like they go together if you are on the same color page. For example, maybe you can agree that you both like neutral furnishings (of different styles) and you both like blue. This type of agreement can get you to a place where both people can have furnishings they like.
4. Identify the most important thing
This applies to making large purchases more than anything else. Before you start shopping each person should write down their most important feature. I’ll use a sofa as an example. Let’s say for you, it’s important that the sofa has a mid-century style.
Maybe for your significant other, the most important thing is that it’s long enough to lay down and take a nap. This makes it easier to shop because you know you need to get a mid-century style that’s long and comfortable. If you find one that ticks both boxes you can both be happy.
If you’ve already agreed on the colors that you both like, you are one step closer.
5. Make changes while your spouse is away
I wanted to see if you were still reading. But since you are, this is cheating but I like to make big changes when my husband goes away on a business trip. This isn’t really “merging” our styles, but if he doesn’t have to deal with the process he tends to like the result better.
If I want to have the house painted, I wait and schedule it for the week he will be away. I get everything set up, get all the paint and meet with painters, etc. This requires advance planning.
The reason I’m including this one is that dealing with some home projects can be painful. One way to compromise is to do most of the work in exchange for getting to make most of the choices. I do this in my house and combine it with the reject rule.
In my earlier example, I let my husband see the colors I’m considering to see if he really hates any of them. If not, I’m free to choose as long as he doesn’t have to deal with painters. Win-Win!
Can you have different styles in different rooms?
If your style is completely different it’s fine to have different styles in different rooms. To make your home look cohesive, try to use a similar color palette. It’s also possible to combine different styles in the same room. You can have traditional furnishings and modern. That’s what makes your home look completely original.
compromise is king
In the long run, the goal is for both people to be happy and comfortable in their own homes. It’s something that gets easier with time, in my experience. But if your styles are drastically different, try using one of these five tips to help you compromise on your design differences.