This piece originally appeared on Domainehome.com.
Congratulations! You’ve found someone who you not only want to wake up next to every morning, but also someone who’s allowed to lounge on your prized sofa or eat off your grandparents’ passed-down dining table. But what happens if they also have their own very specific tastes in décor and design? Not to fret, it’s possible to combine your styles and create a harmonious home representative of not only you as individuals, but your new, united stage in life. Read on for some tips for decorating as a pair ... in harmony.
1. Maintain Balance
Photo: Jeremy Bittermann for The New York Times
Whether it’s a balance between rustic and contemporary or masculine and feminine, make sure that your united spaces convey an equal blend of your individual tastes and styles. You both want to be comfortable in your new space but if the décor is starting to skew too far in one of the two directions, evaluate what you can add or remove to bring it back to center.
2. Mix Materials
Photo: Summer Thornton
Craft a dynamic, welcoming space by making sure you are incorporating a mix of hard and soft, wood and metal, and an assortment of textiles. A vibrant combination of various materials will actually help unite your individual contributions to your home’s design by creating an overall sense of variety and visual interest.
3. Unite Differing Color Schemes
If your previous home was dominated by blue and your partner’s was all green, look for decorative accents in patterns and colors that will complement both schemes. Doing so will help bring together your differing color stories, making them look harmonious rather than disjointed.
4. Respect Your Individual Styles
Photo: Tine K Home
If you and your partner identify with very different styles, you will need to accept that your new abode will have a more eclectic look than your previous home. It’s not worth trying to convince your partner to change their taste in design and décor just to maintain your interior look. Instead, think beyond classifications and pay attention to shapes, textures, and materials when arranging and decorating your new space. Who knows? Maybe those Eames chairs will grow on you when paired with your rustic dining table.
5. Bridge Any Gaps with Basics
Photo: Ilse Crawford
If you need to fill your design with any missing pieces and plan to purchase them together, stick with basic, classic items in timeless shapes and materials to prevent adding yet another competing element to your already eclectic mix.
Though you’ll likely have drastically different furniture and décor items, there may be some common themes in terms of materials and finishes. Though you’ll want to incorporate a mix of materials as suggested above, if you do have some repeated themes, consider grouping them together for a cohesive look. Brass picture frames will relate to a brass lamp or side table even if they’re different styles.
7. Don't Be Afraid to Double Up
Photo: via Dustjacket
If you were both living in your own places prior to moving in together, it’s likely you have multiple side tables, lounge chairs, dining chairs, and the like. Before going to battle to see whose table will reign supreme, see about utilizing both to create a different look. Mix dining chairs around your table or use two differing side tables in place of a coffee table.
8. Edit Extremes
Photo: Giambattista Valli via Sukio
Compromise is the key to any successful relationship and certainly applies when it comes to home décor. When combining households, be prepared to relinquish your hold on any items your partner just cannot stand. In the same vein, know that unless you really and truly cannot have an item in your home, be willing to compromise on pieces your significant other simply loves.
9. Combine Collections
Photo: Jenny Komenda
Unite your individual collections of books, accessories, and mementos in a bookcase or display cabinet. The mix of items representing your individual experiences will not only create a dynamic arrangement of differing styles and points of view, but will help visually represent your new, combined life.