How To Redecorate without Offending Roommate?

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Q: I have just moved into a great apartment in Santa Monica that's big, is close to the beach, and is actually affordable. I've taken over a dear friend's bedroom (she moved to Miami) and am now living with her old roommate:

She is very sweet but very very busy. The décor and the paint in the common areas drive me mad, and every day I stare at the agonizing dark purple wall in the living room and just shake my head.

It could be a wonderful apartment, but I don’t want to feel intrusive by bringing up my design ideas. The new roommate has been there for four years, so I feel like I'm overstepping by wanting to turn the place around. How should I approach this? I don’t want to offend her, but I know I could do better and we'd both reap the benefits.

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and children in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.

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