Mixing different decorating styles is not as daunting as it may seem. Here are 7 decorating tips when moving in your partner
You just moved in with your partner. While this is a very exciting time in your relationship, it can also be stressful. Especially, if you both have visions for your new home that aren’t quite the same. Trust me, mixing different decorating styles can be tricky.
I want to first start off by saying that the most important thing is that you and your partner have decided to take this huge step and live together. That is a huge relationship milestone!
Some of the first decisions after moving in will be how to decorate your home. You want to make it a place that reflects both of you.
The first thing you have to do is figure out how to combine your different decorating styles with the items you already have. Especially since most of us don’t have the budget to buy everything new and start from scratch. Also, there are going to be items you both want to bring to your home.
For example, my fiancee (then boyfriend) had so many autographed framed pictures of hockey players which didn’t quite go with my framed portraits of France. He wanted to hang flags and display all his sports stuff in our one-bedroom apartment.
I kept saying he wanted our apartment to be a frat house… I wanted it to look sophisticated, aesthetically pleasing, what you saw in magazines and on Pinterest. We basically had to find a middle ground between these visions.
It is nice that he cared enough to have an opinion but sometimes it is challenging. Definitely, since we’re very different. Now, we bought a house which is a whole other monster but more on that later.
If all else fails, there are a few ways to make your home look timeless. If you follow these tips, you can decorate once and be done with it.
We’ve lived together for two years so I wouldn’t say I’m an expert on mixing decorating styles but I have now decorated an apartment and a house with my partner and learned some things along the way.
So here are the 7 tips I would give a newly cohabiting couple when decorating your home.
1. Compromise on the style for the main areas
Like I said before. if he had it his way, our apartment would have been decked out in hockey pictures. While I would have gone a more feminine route. Neither one of us would have been happy with the other’s decorating choices.
This is where mixing different decorating styles come into play because you have to compromise. This is easiest if you and your significant other know what decorating style you each gravitate to. Otherwise, you won’t know where to start!
If you aren’t sure, there are many quizzes out there (here is one I like) or simply get on Pinterest. This is just the brainstorming stage so both you and your partner should do this exercise separately. You don’t want to sway each other’s opinions quite yet. Pin anything that catches your eye.
Once you’re done, then you can compare boards and you might find some similarities.
If you look at the boards and the styles are completely different then one of you might have to give a little but there are ways.
For example, for me and my fiance, we decided that he could hang up some hockey pictures in a section in our apartment while I hung my French paintings in the dining area. That way we both got to display our artwork (if you can call pictures of hockey players artwork).
I would suggest agreeing on big items like the dining table and the couches. If you’re spending a lot of time in the room or using that furniture, you should both be happy with it.
I think it is important to purchase one big item together. Sure, you probably both have items from past apartments but buying something together helps make it feel like yours.
Another helpful way to compromise is to decide how you want the room to function. If you’re looking for a cozy atmosphere, an ottoman may be a good coffee table replacement. Do you want to be able to lie and cuddle on the couch? Maybe you want your space to look like IKEA.
This obviously will come naturally as you live in your new space but it’s something to think about before making any big purchases.
2. If you have the extra rooms, give each other a room to decorate
This is a little easier if you have a house than an apartment but if you have extra rooms, split them up. We didn’t have that luxury in the apartment but our house has two extra bedrooms. Because of this, my fiance can have a whole room dedicated to his sports memorabilia.
For this tactic to be successful, you have to give them full reign unless they ask for your help. It’s probably why man caves and she sheds exist so you have complete freedom to express yourself.
If you’re wondering, I have a room dedicated to my office and it is definitely going to be the most feminine room in the whole house. It did help me with compromising on the rest of the house since I can put the super girly items somewhere in the house.
If you’re in a one-bedroom apartment, you could split it up like your partner gets the bedroom and you get the living room. The only problem there is you want the rooms to somewhat flow together so your home looks cohesive.
3. Decide how you want to Veto
It’s not realistic that you will agree on every decorating decision or be able to come to a clear compromise. I’m sure this isn’t the first time in your relationship where you don’t see eye to eye.
So out comes the mighty veto. It is helpful to have the option to completely veto one of your significant other’s ideas.
But use it wisely.
You shouldn’t veto everything they come up with. That’s not compromising and you’re just going to make them upset. It’s up to you and your partner to decide how you want to handle this.
Do you want to have the ability to veto something in each room? Certain artwork? What if it came from a family member or it’s a gift?
If you set clear expectations from the beginning then it’ll help when you’re really against something. Tread lightly around things from your partner’s family or friends. It may hold special meaning to them.
4. Use the 80/20 rule when combing two styles
With all of that said, it is very possible and common to combine two different decor styles. Maybe like you and your partner, opposites attract. Many times, different decor styles can even complement each other.
Farmhouse modern, organic modern, midcentury modern, and bohemian chic are just a few examples. I obviously like the modern looks since these are the first ones that came to mind.
Usually, there are overlapping elements in some of the styles. However, I would stick to the 80/20 rule. One style should stand out more than the complementary style. Like anything, it’s never 50/50. So pick a dominant decor style but don’t be afraid to throw in a few oddball items. At the very least, it’ll add some contrast.
5. Color palettes can be your friend
Especially if you’re blending two styles together, having a cohesive color palette can be helpful. For aesthetics, it’s good to have a color palette for the house to help create a natural flow.
For example, I have two pillows of the same color in two different rooms downstairs. The rooms are decorated differently but they complement each other.
Another way to do this is to match the wood types. If two different pieces reflect two different styles, it can help the room look cohesive if the wood matches. Then they fit together and it looks intentional.
You could almost pick a theme. Fair warning, don’t go overboard. One example from my past life with my roommates is that we had a Paris-themed living room. Let’s just say there were
one, ten too many Eiffel towers in that room.
The theme was cute but it would have helped to tone it down just a tad.
6. If you have an oddball item, make it the focal point
There may come a time that you have a family heirloom or you were at a flea market and found a piece that you absolutely fell in love with… the only problem is that it doesn’t match the decor style of your home.
No problem, instead of hiding it, display it front and center. Having it as the focal point of the room gives it the opportunity to work with the surrounding pieces. It’ll look like it’s meant to be there since you aren’t hiding it.
If you try to throw it in the corner, it’s going to be obvious that you don’t think there’s a good space for it.
7. Don’t be afraid to break the rules
And last but certainly not least, it’s your home. Do what you want with it. If you like the modern look but find this plush couch you want, go for it.
Just like fashion, the rules are meant to be broken. The most important thing is that you and your partner love being in your home. You’re going to spend a lot of time there so you might as well enjoy it.
The last piece of advice I will give you is to not rush it. Your home doesn’t have to look perfect on day one. It’s going to take time and effort to get it looking how you want it to look.
The most important thing is to make it an inviting space for both of you.
Until next time,