Living with Roommates: Lessons from 5 Communal Homes

Living with Roommates: Lessons from 5 Communal Homes

Sarah Coffey
Aug 5, 2009

Rommates bring a lot of benefits: you save money, share chores, and have someone to talk to when you're hanging out at home. But shared living is also challenging, especially if you have a strong sense of style that you want reflected in your home. (We're guessing that if you read this website, you probably do.) Apartment Therapy has featured some warm and welcoming communal homes that have taught us a few things about compromise...

Work with your roommates' style, not against it. Sarah, who shares her home with good friend Megan, admits, "I often feel the push-pull of my desire for a sleek mid-century modern living room," but their real-life living room, which blends several styles, has a sense of character and warmth that comes from unexpected pairings.

Edit what you can. Alina, who shares a home with 3 roommates, says, "Because there are so many of us living here, clutter can gather quickly." To keep it under control, have a seasonal "purge" when each roommate gets rid of what they can. You may have to compromise and live with a few things you don't like, but you'll hopefully clear out enough space to keep your home in good shape.

Embrace color. When you've got a wide range of furnishings, you're probably also going to have a diverse color palette. Create harmony between rooms by painting walls in colors that compliment the furnishings. Alina's home combines several styles in "an appreciation for comfort, nostalgia and color." The brightly painted walls are a defining feature of their house.

1 Alina, Vice, Joey, and Sean's Mystical Punk House: 4 roommates
2 Phillip's Shared Arrangement: 5 roommates
3 Sarah and Megan's Home: 2 roommates
4 Artists' Loft in Williamsburg: a large group of changing roommates
5 The Rolling House: prototype for a communal home by Andrés Jaque Arquitectos

Photos: Phillip Maisel, Phillip Maisel, Kyle Freeman, JS, Andrés Jaque Arquitectos

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