My husband and I bought our first house a few years ago and redecorated it from top to bottom. It’s certainly tough enough to decorate a whole house with only one design style in mind, but to merge two different styles together into one unified look, whether it’s because you’re moving in together or one person’s moving in with the other? Well, that’s quite the challenge.
The good news is that—with a little (okay, a lot!) of patience and compromise—you can create a home that is stylish and unified but that still reflects both of the individuals who live there.
Stay Neutral on the Biggies
Choose simple, neutral colors for large furniture items like your couch, chairs, dining room, and bedroom furniture. It’s much easier to agree on classic shapes in neutral colors than to fight over a trendy object in a loud color. (And you have a better chance of getting a girly pillow on a black couch than a black pillow on a hot pink couch.) Hint: Leather upholstery usually gets a thumbs-up on the “guy meter,” so if he isn’t quite sold on a piece you like, see if it comes in leather.
Make Your Wall Art Personal
What you put on the walls can be a tricky decision if you both have really different tastes in art. You want to put up black and white paintings of Paris, and he wants a poster of dogs playing poker… Suggest using personal photos for wall decor instead. Make a gallery wall of family photos or scenes from trips you’ve been on together, or print one giant photo of the two of you for less than $10. Both ideas will solve the wall decor dilemma—and make your space feel more personal.
Give Masculine Items a Feminine Touch
Look for ways to take more handsome-looking objects and add a little girlish flair to meet in the middle. Spray a skull decoration gold or buy a cowhide rug that’s been dyed a fun color.
When You Just Can’t Agree, Do a DIY Project
When we moved into our new house, we couldn’t settle on a table that we both liked, so eventually we just decided to build our own! If either of you are into building things (or would like to be), creating your own item that will meet both your specifications is a great way to solve a design impasse. Not the DIY type? You can totally contract the job out to a local artisan company.
Offer to Help Him Display His Hobby
My husband is a musician and has a studio room in our house. While I love that he can play music at home, I wasn’t so into the state of the room and the amount of instruments that were quickly taking over the space. I offered to help him come up with a way to store and display all the gear in an organized (and much more aesthetically pleasing) manner. Now I love the space, and he was glad to have someone else do most of the work.
Know When to Let It Go
This is a big one. Sometimes, you may have a design request that you really want, but you just can’t seem to get him to go for it. That needs to be okay, too. Todd is really great about letting me use more “girly” colors in our decor scheme, but when I said I wanted to paint the sliding door in our bedroom pink, he gave me a pretty solid “NO” response. Instead of arguing, I said a silent prayer of thanks for all the ideas he doesn’t fight me on and chose a grey and white striped pattern instead. Pick your battles, ladies.
Be Smart About Compromises
If there’s one item of his that you absolutely hate (like an ugly band poster or couch), try compromising by getting a better version of the item. Find a cooler, more artistic poster of the same band, suggest a print that includes lyrics from one of his favorite songs, or offer to have an ugly piece of furniture recovered in a better fabric. If he won’t budge at all, then you’ll have to decide if the relationship is worth an ugly poster or two (hopefully it is!).
Once you get to know what types of items are in your “couple safe zone,” you’ll start naturally gravitating towards those ideas when you shop for new things. I love what our house says about us, and I hope you can find a way to make your space reflect your personalities, too!
Check out our home tours to see more of the space we designed together!
Laura Gummerman is the crazy cat lady who pens The Band Wife Blog and is a staff writer for A Beautiful Mess. She resides in Springfield, Missouri, with her musician husband, Todd, and plays mamma to two kitties in between Netflix binges. She is currently waiting for her next pizza fix (which she hopes will be soon).