How to decorate when your styles clash

Can’t decide on paint color, flooring, or lighting when your significant other is involved? Well, you aren’t alone. A recent Houzz post discusses the difficulties of renovating when your styles clash…

How to Design and Decorate as a Couple

Want to keep the peace? Work with both of your styles when remodeling, decorating or building new, for a home that feels right to all

No matter how long two people have been together or how much they’ve endured in their relationship, few things compare to the challenges they face when it comes to redesigning the house. You may think you know your partner inside and out, but strange behavior may occur when you’re making seemingly innocuous design decisions. Know this. It is totally normal but can be mildly alarming. To put it bluntly, if you aren’t the only inhabitant of your house, yours isn’t the only design style that counts.
eclectic living room by Lea Frank Design

Add to ideabook
I’d say that 99 percent of the time, redesign happens because one half of a couple decides they’re sick and tired of the way things look or feel. Usually it’s the nester in the pair who grabs the reins. A take-charge attitude can be a great thing, but keep in mind that whether you’re redoing one room or several, every member of your household should feel represented.It can be nearly impossible to put aside personal prejudices when faced with your mate’s 1980s dorm room sofa. To you it’s an uncomfortable, ugly piece of garbage. To your partner it’s a reminder of being young and single and not caring what anyone else thought about the sofa.Blending styles, tastes and needs can be tricky. This room shows how beautiful a mixed-style space can be. Adding a little bit of feminine with a dash of masculine creates an elegant and inviting room everyone can feel comfortable in.
When Likes and Dislikes Don’t MatchMy husband has amazing style. He’s an art director and a graphic designer, and everything from the way he dresses to the music he listens to is cool. When we got married, I knew I’d need to combine my eclectic, vignette-building style with his clean and modern aesthetic. Moving into our first apartment, we didn’t have anything to sit on, so I bought two large chairs and called it a living room. My husband didn’t love the chairs, but that was OK, because neither did I. I knew they were temporary, so I wasn’t insulted.As time went on I put up art, bought furnishings and moved things around — a lot. I loved the way our space looked, and I thought he did too — until the time we had an argument about the vintage coffee table. I loved that it was black and chippy and looked a little Gothic. He thought it looked like garbage. Ouch.He pointed out that there was relatively little in the space that actually represented him. I was crushed, but I returned the table. I also took down several large pieces of art and replaced them with stunning works he had squirreled away in his design studio. I started asking opinions before buying, and when he questioned our “need” for something, I knew that meant he really didn’t want to see it in the house.The room shown here is an excellent example of combined styles. It’s industrial, modern, playful, clean and eclectic. It’s also welcoming enough for the owners to host an intimate dinner party or a raucous Super Bowl Sunday. It feels like a combination of likes working together to create a whole home.
modern living room by Jordan Iverson Signature Homes

Add to ideabook
Designing can be a very emotional process. You’re changing your day-to-day environment, making countless decisions, solving problems and spending money. There are few things more volatile than expenses in a relationship, and because decor is not always perceived as a necessity (it is for me!), setting expectations ahead of time is critical. Come to an agreement about the basic things such as color, texture and types of furnishings, and go from there.This room has a fantastic mix of cool tones with a blue foundation. Maybe the pops of red represent one partner’s favorite color, while the paneled wall was a joint decision. It’s a true mix-and-match style that actually works really well.Figuring Out What Works

Decide ahead of time what your objective is. Be it a quick refresh or a complete remodel, make sure that you and your partner are on the same page about the project’s scope and cost. Unexpected meltdowns may happen during the design process, but you can minimize those by opening the lines of communication:

  • Decide what stays and what goes. If you’re asking your partner to get rid of things, be prepared to do the same. There has to be a clear give-and-take so no one feels that they’re being pushed out of the home or overrun with the other person’s design decisions.
  • Make a list of things that require both partners’ approval, like a new television or dining room table. Larger purchases are usually a good rule of thumb. If it costs over X amount, both people need to agree.
  • Decide which items you’re both willing to concede on. If you truly don’t care about electronics but are obsessed with what they sit on, divide and conquer. Not everyone has the same love of throw pillows and picture frames, so figure out which things you can each contribute.
  • Learn to compromise. In a relationship you both bring unique things to the party. You might not love your partner’s Van Halen record collection, and he or she might hate Shabby Chic. Find a middle ground that you both can live with such as putting the records on display in the family room while working in a few Shabby Chic pieces in the guest bath.
  • Don’t confuse relationship issues with design dilemmas. A lot of pent-up aggression gets released during times of great change. Painting the living room walls shouldn’t degenerate into an argument over whose mother is worse. Don’t fall prey to stress and exhaustion. Get the rest you need and agree to table deeper discussions until after the redo.

Make decisions with love and respect. As much as you want to love your space when you walk through the door, your partner should love it just as much. Create an environment that reflects who you are as a couple and the life that you want to live. By keeping the lines of communication open, setting expectations and being willing to compromise, you can design a space that truly represents everyone who lives there.

More: The Art of Compromise

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/8452586/list/When-Your-Tastes-Clash–How-to-Design-and-Decorate-as-a-Couple

Michelle Thomas

Award winning Austin interior designer, Michelle S. Thomas, graduated from the University of Alabama in 2005 with a bachelor’s of Interior Design. Now based in Austin, Texas, Michelle launched her own interior design firm, Michelle Thomas Design, in 2009. Since then, she has completed projects in Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Pensacola, Florida, and Kansas City, Missouri.

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Austin, Interior Design, Texas
  • nivo slider image nivo slider image nivo slider image nivo slider image nivo slider image nivo slider image nivo slider image nivo slider image nivo slider image nivo slider image nivo slider image nivo slider image nivo slider image nivo slider image nivo slider image nivo slider image nivo slider image nivo slider image nivo slider image nivo slider image nivo slider image nivo slider image
Testimonials

Michelle is a professional at all levels in the design field. I work with design professionals on a daily basis and I consider Michelle to be a “pros-pro”.

One of the projects I was involved in with Michelle is the Ronald McDonald house in Austin. She gave her time and talents to create a wonderful apartment for families needing to be close to their child in Dell Children’s Hospital.

I have seen other projects that Michelle took on and all were first-class all the way!
— Vollette