I often have couples come to me and ask for help designing their first home as a pair. Whether you are married or just roommates, designing a cohesive space can be sticky. Lucky for you, it doesn’t have to be! Here are some of my favorite tips for making the transition into a shared space an easy one.
Asking the right questions. I firmly believe in open communication from the start. This eliminates any confrontation during the renovation or design stage. To avoid conflicts along the way, consider sitting down with your partner and be sure to ask all of the right questions. What’s important to you in this space? What colors make you happy? How would you like this space to feel? This approach ensures that you design a space that incorporates both of your styles and everyone feels heard. The living room below was quite the unique project. The wife wanted a prefect entertaining space. Something soft, feminine, elegant and welcoming to their guests. The husband agreed, but also wanted the space to showcase to his many prestigious NFL awards, including his Heisman trophy!
Establish ground rules. Before the design work even begins, go ahead and establish some ground rules. Communicate with your partner about what elements in design that are “make or breaks.” This will make choosing the hardware, finishes and accessories much less stressful. I recently created a “hot pink” dining room for a very special client. The wife works in an emergency room and wanted something to come home to that made her happy. Pink happens to be her favorite color, she even wore it on her wedding day. I was instructed by her husband to “take everything my wife says and cut it in half and we will both be happy.” And so I did!
Unify the space. When it comes to designing a space, I typically suggest starting with a blank slate. However, there is nothing wrong with utilizing pieces that you already own. If the styles of your furniture clash, try finding decorative pieces to help blend everything together. One way to blend your styles and keep the peace in a relationship is to focus on commonalities. Keep the common areas of your home more neutral with colors and styles you both agree on, and allow your partner some creativity by incorporating their design preference in their private spaces. I had a female client who wanted a master bedroom dripping in gold, a chic retreat that was both contemporary and warm all at the same time. To please the mister, we compromised by mixing up some of the lines, angles and textures in the space. We balanced the bling of the light fixtures and fabrics with the hard angles and masculine stateliness of the large gold boxed bed, the rich and sleek bedside tables and the luxe chocolate velvet headboard!
Repetition creates style. The use of color is a great way to reduce design conflicts between couples! Research shows that many people enjoy living in a space with colors found in nature. Using neutral tones like taupe or green will satisfy one’s need for color in a space, without leaving the other feeling uncomfortable. If you have an overwhelming desire to use a color such as pink or red, incorporate it through an accent wall or with decorative pillows. This large family room is just that, a room for this large family. This room had to meet many requirements including, serving as a comfortable place for a family of 7 plus friends and two pups to relax, lounge and watch TV together. So a lot of comfortable and durable seating was in order! All of that comfortable seating had to look great, as this room is seen and used by many guests for entertaining throughout the year.