The other day I followed a conversation on Twitter: a reader had done a victory dance after this post was published because it validated the argument she'd been having with her husband to do something similar in their home. He wasn't convinced. Apartment Therapy as marriage mediator? Here are some tips for finding decorating accord.
- Find common ground: In any situation where you're sharing living quarters with someone else, start with the places where you both agree and then work from there. Maybe you both want a big comfy sectional for the living room and white walls or perhaps there's a beautiful ottoman you lugged home from your honeymoon. Start with the things you both agree on — whether it's color, the feeling you want in a room, how you'll use the room or one piece you both love and then add in the other items.
- Divide responsibilities: Sometimes dividing up the work is the best way. For example, let one person pick the wall color while the other person picks the couch. Don't discard anything either person loves. You may hate his favorite armchair but, once it's recovered, it may very well work with the other elements in a room. Remember, you're both living in this space and it should reflect both of your likes and needs.
- See contrast as a virtue: Hard and soft, feminine and masculine, florals and leather are actually contrasts that work well to strengthen each other and are more interesting because they're unexpected. The floral pillows may soften the hard lines of the strong leather couch and make it look more inviting.
- Begin by virtually decorating: Avoid arguments by starting with a wishlist or inspiration board and a mission statement for each room. Cull pictures from magazines, websites and catalogs of pieces you each like. Find adjectives that describe the look you're going for.
- Divide and conquer: If you have enough space, designate areas that you can each decorate alone; his office or her crafting room.
- When all else fails, hire a third party: If things start to escalate into argument, it might be time to hire a decorator who can listen to the needs of both individuals and come up with a solution that looks at the big picture and incorporate elements that will please both parties.
Do you live with someone? How did you solve your decorating differences?