Here are some final tips to help you along the way....
1. Pay attention to the style and construction of your home. You may scoff under your breath when someone says their home "told" them to do something. But this idea isn't totally whack. Some things are much better suited for a particular style of home. It would feel odd to walk through the door of a grand Victorian home and enter Margaritaville with signs directing you to the beach.
You may love dark walls, but the amount of light and other features of the house may not work well with darker hues. Each house is unique and what worked in one may not work in another. You don't have to copy the style of the home, but paying attention to the home's details will help you create a space that doesn't feel like it's competing.
2. Wall color should not be your first decision. Want to avoid a struggle? Don't pick your paint color first. Wait until you have a vision for the room as a whole or an inspiration piece to drive the design. You don't want to be stuck trying to make everything else work with that wall color. Paint can be a way to tie all the other elements together. It can set the tone and be the perfect backdrop, but it's much easier to make that decision after you have a plan for the room. Otherwise, be ready to struggle with the design or ready to repaint.
3. Stick with one main style, with a contrasting accent style. When you're trying to combine two different styles, it can quickly go from eclectic to crazytown. Choosing one style as your primary decorating take on the house will help things feel cohesive. Then you can weave that alternate style through the rooms for contrast and interest.
I like to think of it like the color rule of three - using a color at least three different places in a room to create cohesion. But here we use the contrasting design style in at least three different ways. Using three different items like a lamp, rug, and accent fabric all in the same contrasting style from the rest of the room will create a unique space and prevent the contrasting style elements from feeling out of place.
4. Predetermind styles can help...but don't get stuck there. I would never say my personal style is modern, particularly minimalist modern. To me it can feel stark and cold....BUT I do love the clean lines of modern furniture. Since our base style tends to be more traditional, bringing in some clean-lined or geometric modern pieces is a great way to break up the busy details of the traditional vibe.
5. Find a store or a designer you both like. When Nate Berkus partnered up with Target, I heard the heavens break out in a hallelujah chorus on our behalf. His designs are full of modern, geometric details which my heart loves, but a lot of his pieces have a very masculine feel with a deep, saturated color palette, which makes the mister happy. You probably don't want to fill up your home with a bunch of the same looking pieces, but having a store or designer that you both enjoy can definitely help bridge the gap in bringing your styles together!
6. Don't Assume. When we took on our kitchen update, I really wanted to do a two-toned look for the cabinets. I didn't think James would dig that, so I was looking at subtle color differences for the cabinets (white uppers with light grey lowers). I pinned a bunch of different styles and after weeks of agonizing over the color I finally showed him some pictures of my ideas. And you know what? He said "If you're doing to do it, then don't go halfway. Go dark. Even if it's a color." Whaaaatt???
So much for knowing your partner. Paint was purchased the next day and both loved the result.
7. Carve out individual spaces. If you feel like all you're are doing is compromising on what you really want, it can be a lifesaver to have an area in the house that's all you. In our last house the boys shared a room and the extra bedroom was used as our guest room/office. In our new house, the boys are sharing again but we also have a guest room in the basement that double as James' office space. Which means that the extra bedroom upstairs is purely my office/craft space. It has permission to be as girly and feminine as it likes. James has the finished basement and I'm keeping my mouth shut on whatever he decides to do in there.
If you don't have a whole room to dedicate to each person, you can still carve out a small area in the home just for you. Maybe it's a reading corner, or even a crafting/work space hidden behind closet doors.
The mancave in our last house was also our family room. We had concealed storage for all the toys, so by day we could live it up as a family, but by night it could serve as the game room or host football meetings with the coaches.
8. "Us" is more important. It would be great to have a house that felt totally "me", but in the end, that's not what I really want. I want my husband and kids to feel just as much at home in our house as I do. I want our home to feel like "us". Any relationship has give and take, and so the design of our home will involve those things as well. The compromises are worth having a house that becomes the place we all want to come home to.
This is the last post in the Designing For Opposite Tastes series. Catch the rest by clicking the links below:
Thanks so much for reading! We would love to keep in touch!