This blog post is a BIG one for me personally! Its a great topic for anyone living with another person, including a spouse, partner, friend, and even kids, who is trying to design and decorate their home.
Making design and decorating decisions to your home can be challenging; factor in another persons opinions and the process can be not only drawn out due to lack of agreeability, but emotionally draining. Blending your style and taste with another persons can be tricky but there are ways to make it easier and accomplish your goals.
You need to act as a team in order to get the best results. Here are some ideas:
Each of you making a list of:
1 1. Goals/your priorities for the room
2. Specific ideas you already have for the room (tip: gather pictures of rooms you like; create idea books thru online sites such as Pinterest and Houzz)
Sit down together and review your lists. You may be more specific with your list than the other person. Be as visual and specific as possible (I say that a lot because its important).
YES you will disagree, so read these tips below to minimalize arguments and resentment as you take on your project:
Don’t let this meeting become a bar fight. Feelings can be hurt if you degrade someone’s choice of personal style; be respectful and you will be happily surprised with the progress you make! You may be coming together with no ‘baggage’ (furniture/décor); or you each have ‘baggage’ from previous residences. Deciding what to keep and what to get rid of can be very emotional. Yes, it is possible to blend styles. If a modern table represents you, but traditional chairs represents the other person, go for it!
Go back to your original list of priorities you wrote down. Express the most important one, and have your partner do the same. Make a decision to give each of you something; For example, if electronics are your thing, ask to take that on and let the other person choose another element. If there are multiple spaces included in your project, let one of you have more say in one of the rooms, and take on the other so you both feel in control.
There are a lot of options to choose from with most aspects of designing and decorating. If one of you gets overwhelmed at the thought of all that is out there, narrow down the options for the other by doing pre shopping, then present your ideas. The key is not to tell them THIS is what you are doing; instead give them choices. You are giving them a voice although controlling the volume.
Quick story for you: I redesigned a family room for a couple and they did not include their thirteen year old son. You might not think anything of this, but after the room was complete, the son expressed his dislike of it over and over. This is his room too and he was shell shocked by the changes. Keep kids in the process of changes to their environment so they adapt to them better to it. You don’t need their permission to make changes, just keep them involved.
Your aim at the end of the project is to have the room or rooms feel like all of you are represented.
I can’t tell you how many times I have run back and forth to stores with throw pillows because I saw them and loved them but my husband did not. Custom furniture can be very expensive and many times you cannot return it, so make sure you do not buy it on a whim without the other persons approval. I have seen too many times, people buy furniture because they give up and feel overwhelmed, then regret it.
If you feel strongly about a piece of furniture, paint color, or other design element you want, and your partner says NO, do not take it negatively. Turn it around on them by asking them why they don’t like it. Ask for a more specific reason. Maybe it’s the fabric on the chair you chose, but not the chair itself. Or maybe he/she can’t see your vision fully so you need to help him/her understand it better. Or maybe it’s an emotional attachment to what you are looking to replace? You may end up getting the other person on board with what you want to do!
Good luck with your project!