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.
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.