Interior Design Tips for Newlyweds

When you get married building your first home together as a couple is important. But furniture negotiation and conflicting styles can lead to meltdowns and drama. It’s not always as simple as deciding which sofa to buy. You’re blending two different styles, preferences, and previous lives (old furniture) under one roof. A common question that arises is — how do you pull it all together in a stress-free way while letting your voice be heard? Here are my tips for maintaining your sanity and love for each other while decorating your new home.

interior design for newlyweds
source: sheep and stone

Take Inventory. Let’s face it. We all hate parting with our treasured belongings. Whether it’s the grungy arm chair from your first apartment or your massive collection of snow globes, each person walking into a marriage owns something that is valuable to them. Unless you’re moving into a mansion, you may not have enough space to store everything you both own. Deciding what to keep and what to get rid of can be a daunting process. The best solution in this case is to meet in the middle — choose a number that you both agree on that represents the number of items of sentimental value that you each get to keep. Everything else gets trashed, donated, or sold on Craigslist. For example, if your number is three, then you each get to bring a total of three personal items with you to your new home. The number of items you keep can be determined by how much storage space you have. Additionally, some couples like to limit the “keep” list to one box per person. Either way, taking inventory and coming up with a purging plan right off the bat eliminates clutter and frees up space for new items that you can purchase as a couple.

The Big Compromise. Ladies, I hate to break it to you but he’s going to want to have a large television in the family room. Don’t fight it, let him have it. That means you get to have something you want like the floral wallpaper in the master bathroom. Give and take is the key to blending styles and preferences. Know when to put your foot down and when to bend a little.

Pick A Style. What do you do when your spouse’s style doesn’t match yours? You envisioned a contemporary space with clean lines and neutral colors while your mate prefers bold colors and a clunky leather sofa. The first step is to settle on a neutral color for the walls. Whites and grays are great neutrals to consider. Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray, Snow White, and Vintage Pewter are my favorites. Next, select an accent color for pop. Sprinkle the accent color in your artwork, throw pillows, or rug. If your mate only prefers neutrals only, add depth to the room with a mix of textures like a glass table, shiny metal accents, faux fur fabrics and varying wood tones. In terms of furniture, a Chesterfield sofa like this one from Restoration Hardware tastefully combines both masculine and feminine elements. The classic design is sturdy enough for lounging and watching sports while the tufted detail and curved lines add a touch of elegance to a room. You can also find similar versions available at any price point.

Divide The Workload. Most women want free reign for designing the house but don’t really care about the backyard. Most men to do so make him the King of the backyard. While the wife is busy selecting paint colors and fabrics, the husband can focus his attention on planting trees, routine yard work, and his beloved BBQ equipment.

Designate Personal Space. From time to time you may find yourself needing a breather from your love muffin. This isn’t because you dislike them, but a little “me” time or solitude is great for self-reflection, prayer, meditation, time-outs or relaxation. This can take place in a designated area of your home like the man cave in the basement. For the ladies, large walk-in closets and spa bathrooms have doubled as our lady caves. Spare bedrooms also make good neutral zones. Stake out your zone and claim it.

Hire A Designer. When in doubt, hire a pro! A good designer is skilled at creating gender neutral spaces and helping couples discover a design aesthetic that suits their lifestyle. Be sure to visit Gray Livin’ online to learn more about my services and to book a design consultation.

Moodboard Monday: Vibrant Cozy Living Room

Hey guys! It feels like ages since I last posted. I wanted to do a quick check-in to let you know what I’ve been up to lately. I’m in the process of wrapping up two interior design projects and I hope to have pictures available to share with you soon. Both projects should be complete by the end of this month. Fingers crossed. If you follow me on Instagram you can see a few progress shots. I can’t wait until install day.

In the meantime, here’s a little interior design inspiration for you. I created this vibrant moodboard for an imaginary young family that needs help with their living room. I would paint an accent wall in turquoise blue (maybe in the entryway right off the living room) and then incorporate that color throughout the space. I also thought it would be fun to layer the space in different patterns and textures. What do you think?



Do you need interior design help in the Washington, DC area? Gray Livin’ offers affordable design packages for any size budget. Contact us today to get started. Click here.

I Quit My Job, Now What?


In February 2013, I made a life changing decision to quit my job. At the time I working as a government contractor for a high-profile Federal agency. I had a lucrative salary with benefits, a healthy work-life balance, an easy commute to work, and an awesome boss. The only problem was, I was leading a double life. By day I analyzed statistical data and wrote technical reports; by night I created mood boards and blog posts for my interior design business. I spent two years juggling a full-time job while managing a business on the side. I literally worked around the clock–right after work I would stay up til 2 a.m. cranking out blog posts, responding to client emails, and scheduling social media content. My weekends were dedicated to site visits and shopping trips for furniture and accessories for my clients’ homes.

I quickly became engrossed in my business and began to lack focus at work. I knew if I wanted to take my company to the next level I needed to quit my job. As I started planning my exit strategy, tons of questions were running through my mind.

How will I make ends meet?

What will my friends and family think?

What if I fail?

After spending months weighing my options back and forth, I finally quit. And since then I have probably endured more lows than highs. Initially, clients weren’t trickling in fast enough and it wasn’t long before I exhausted my savings. Panic set in and eventually I found another job. I told myself this was a temporary setback. I planned to quit (again) just as soon as I able to generate enough business to stay afloat. I couldn’t believe that I was right back where I started — working full-time and moonlighting as an entrepreneur. I tap danced for my new employer for approximately nine months until they fired me. It was the first time that I had ever been fired from a job. Who was I kidding? I knew I didn’t belong there. My ego was bruised but I learned a very valuable lesson — sometimes when you’re afraid to jump, God will push you off the mountain. But don’t worry He will catch you on the way the down. 

Over the past four years, I went from being a full-time employee to full-time business owner to full-time employee to full-time hustler. The journey has not been easy. In fact, it’s been long and difficult. There were days when I had very little to eat and times when I struggled to pay my bills. My social life dwindled. Friends disappeared. I missed out on countless opportunities to do things that I enjoyed. And while my peers were getting married, having kids, buying new homes, new cars, and traveling all around the world, I was busy dealing with the trials and tribulations of running a business. Despite everything that I’ve been through — the setbacks, sacrifices, late nights and early mornings — I have no regrets.

“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t. So that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.” – Unknown

If you’re trying to decide whether or not you should quit your job to start a business, ask yourself this one simple question–is the dream worth the sacrifice?