So the knot’s been tied, the wedding bells have stopped ringing and you’ve taken the plunge into a married existence – congratulations! Now that you’ve got a house full of gifts that need homes and a blank canvas to turn into your nest, how do you go about marrying your styles and taste in décor?
Just like so many things in a marriage, decorating your first home together takes teamwork and compromise. Some couples just happen to have very similar tastes and some have wildly different styles. Most of us fall somewhere in between. Here are a few pointers on how to make sure each of you is happy with the direction your décor goes in.
Start with practical considerations
While it’s tempting to start ripping pages out of interior design magazines straight away, remember that your home first and foremost needs to be functional. Does one partner need a quiet, well lit space where they can work from home undisturbed? Do you like to read in bed at night or need a spot to lay down your yoga mat? Do you need a space inside to hang laundry when it’s raining? They might be dull, but make sure that these considerations are dealt with first. They are the most likely to cause arguments and frustration. You might have to test out a few areas for the function they suit best before you start decorating them accordingly.
Find a centrepiece you both love for shared spaces and build the décor from there
Many interior designers start their plan for a room with one large eye catching piece. This is a good place to start if you’re not sure what direction to take a room in. It might be a large, colourful rug or carpet, a beloved artwork or a giant bookcase packed with your literary treasures. Once you have your centrepiece, pick colours and furnishings for the room accordingly.
Some couples find it helpful to clip out things you like from décor magazines and make a pile each. You then choose from the two piles things that you both like. You now have a visual representation of what combination of styles will please you both. Pinterest can also be a good tool to make use of if you’re more digitally inclined.
Give shared spaces a personal touch
If you invested in wedding photography for your big day, you probably have a treasure trove of gorgeous photos that can make an excellent focal point for your living room, hallway or bedroom. If you have digital shots of the event, picking your favorites and having them blown up to an impressive size by a canvas printing company is an affordable and long lasting way to make an entertainment area your own. These are great focal points for places you might want to entertain and impress guests!
To each their own
If your styles are completely different and you’re battling to agree on anything, it might be an option to allocate rooms that each partner can decorate as they choose. For example, if one of you is a big chef, they might get first choice on decorating the kitchen. The other takes charge of the living room. If you’re dead set on a pink and flowery bedroom, then be willing to let him create a man cave in the TV room!
Stuck for ideas? Find inspiration in design shows or consult with a decorator.
Watching interior design programs on TV together can be another good way to find out which looks you both like. If you’re really having difficulty, it might be worth hiring an interior designer for an hour or two to consult with you. Remember that many designers have experience getting seemingly clashing styles to work together. They are often good at coming up with suggestions that might never have occurred to you.
Don’t get bogged down in finding the right paint colour straight away
While it’s an intrinsic factor in the final look of a room, painting first can actually make the final process of finding matching curtains and other soft furnishings a lot harder. Starting with objects you already have and finding a color or palette that complements them later can actually be easier. Especially with the seemingly endless variety of shades now on the market!
The safest bet is to go for neutral colours. They can easily be accented with items that you can change easily. For example, brightly coloured cushions, throws, curtains or table cloths. This also makes redecorating in future a lot easier.
Most importantly – have fun!
Remember that your styles are going to change as you get older. Whatever look you end up choosing down doesn’t have to be forever. It really doesn’t need to be perfect! Feathering your first nest is a great way to get to know each other better and create some of your first memories as a married couple. Enjoy the process!
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