Updated: Feb 10, 2019
Have you ever tried to decorate with your spouse? How did that go? Usually the answer is "not so well". Couples are notorious for not seeing eye to eye when it comes to decorating their homes. To the average homeowner, it is difficult to merge two completely different styles and tastes, and still end up with a beautiful home.
It can often be a major tug-of-war where one spouse just eventually gives in, or it becomes a major point of contention between them for a long time. The result is always that nothing gets done because both spouses can't agree. I recently wrote an article about how hiring an interior designer can save your marriage. You can check it out HERE, and that is my first recommendation. Call in an interior designer even for just a consultation, to help you make some decisions upfront. Of course, the tiny details will matter too, so really consider how you and your spouse usually are when it comes to making major decisions, and decide if you need to engage a designer for the entire process, or just for some consultancy help in the beginning, or even ongoing guidance. We have several flexible design services to address every need.
Can we all agree on one thing? You bought your home to live a great life, build a family, and create great memories, right? That should be at the core of any decision you make. It doesn't serve your goals to spend time arguing, and it certainly doesn't help to leave your home undecorated because you can't make a decision.
I am on a mission to educate homeowners about how decorating their homes can be great for their well-being, and help them live their best lives. Time is too short to live in a less than ideal home, and certainly too short for marital discord.
Here are some tips to help you make some decisions and get your home decorated to where you can live your best life and create wonderful memories.
I suggest that you sit down with your spouse and really talk about how you use each room of the home. It is easy to agree on that, and obviously most rooms' functions are already determined by default. The problem areas are usually the office space, the media room, and any other bonus rooms. Think about your hobbies and the things that you both enjoy doing. Is it watching the game on the weekends? Is it hanging out with the kids? Would you love to homeschool the kids? Would you prefer to have more family time together? These are important questions to ask to help determine how rooms should function.
Now that you know how you want each room to function, determine which areas are the priority areas. Really ask yourselves what would enhance your family life? Do you want to make sure your in-laws are comfortable when they come over to watch the kids? Well, that could mean starting with the in-law suite. Do you like to have friends and family over for big get togethers often? Well, that could mean starting with the dining and living rooms. Do you like to hang out and watch movies as a family? Then that could be the media room first. Unless you have all the money it will take to furnish your home in one go, you will have to figure out the priority areas.
It is important to figure out if their will be any repair work to be done before you begin decorating, or any renovations needed. You definitely want to start with those projects, and be sure to call in an interior designer to help with this. The stress and overwhelm of working with contractors can be too much if you don't have a plan in place. Very rarely will a contractor be able to help you with the big picture from renovating to decorating, so avoid that battle.
The next, and very necessary discussion is the budget. Plan what you can reasonably spend on your project. Do a bit of research and don't just pull a number out of the air. Money can be one of those areas where spouses refuse to compromise, simply because they have not done any research and don't understand what things cost. It also helps to list all the items that each room will need and research pricing for each item. Include shipping costs, installers costs etc. Also include time. That is something that most homeowners don't think about, but shopping takes time. Being present for deliveries requires time. Some furniture pieces arrive unassembled and it takes time to put it all together. Also time to return pieces or file claims if they arrive damaged. Don't overlook this important aspect of your project.
Now we have all the big decisions made, like which rooms to begin with, how you would like to use the rooms, how much money and time you are able to spend, and all your renovations complete, this is where style and personality come in. This is where your home gets the final layer it needs to help you live comfortably and beautifully. Again, this is a great time to call in a designer, but if you are determined to go it alone, here are some things to keep in mind.
Find your style
It is actually not a very difficult thing to find your style. However, it can be very overwhelming with all the information out there. You can start by using Pinterest boards, visit Houzz and even instagram. It can take a lot of time and you get lost down the rabbit hole half the time, but having a plan before you get online can be helpful. Just focus on rooms that feel good to you and don't worry about the details of the room as much at first. I recommend doing it separately and then you can compare notes later. Give yourselves a reasonable deadline so it doesn't become your full time job.
Model Homes and Show Houses
Another way to find your style is to go straight to the source. Well, you know what I mean; go to where there are rooms already decorated for your viewing pleasure. Model homes and show houses are great resources for that. Again, don't make it an every weekend thing, but go with a mission to identify some styles that appeal to you. Take lots of pictures and compare notes later. Talk to each other while you're there about what you like about what rooms or pieces. Talk about how the rooms make you feel. Keep in mind though that model home designers use design tricks to create a mood and feeling that often homeowners can't recreate on their own. These design tricks are meant to sell the home. For example no window treatments which may block natural light. You will likely need to have window coverings for privacy in your home, so keep that in mind.
Find Your Style Design Quizzes
I have seen online design quizzes, shelter magazines that include quizzes, and even some design firm's websites. That might be helpful for finding your style. Each of you take the quiz separately and see what you have in common. Work with that commonality.
Local Furniture Stores
You may even consult with a local furnish store. Some furniture stores will have design consultants to help with some design decisions. Keep in mind that their goal is to sell you a room full of matching furniture from their offerings, and they are not like a designer that you hire to bring the big picture together for you. But you can at least do a walk through to see how pieces look, and if they are good quality, and get an idea of proper placement and flow; providing the showroom is well put together. I would say to visit a few really high end showrooms, even if you don't plan to purchase there.
Learn To Compromise
Once you have figured out what style you like and both of you can live with, you may have to make compromises in certain areas. Like where does the TV go. In this day and age, TV's are not such a big issue. TV's are sexier than ever, and you can even display artwork on your TV screens with some models. TV placement no longer has to be an issue, so find a way to compromise on that. Create dual or multiple functions in some rooms where you can't decide on one function. Or, decide on window coverings that can be rolled up and out of view if you can't agree on window coverings or not. Technology has made it possible to have anything we want these days, so compromising does not have to feel like you are losing out. It is just a matter of researching products that will work for both of you.
Now that you are moving along in a good style direction, be sure to think about the future as well. Do you really want to do this again in two years? Your pieces should have a timelessness and be of great quality so they can last a long time. Avoid going too trendy, except maybe in smaller pieces that can be switched out easily in a few years. Use clean lines as much as possible, and a fairly neutral background. If both of you agree on bringing in color, discuss where you are ok with having color in the home for each room. Maybe just in artwork, accessories or accent pieces. You may have to spend a bit more upfront now to get the quality and performance you want, but it will be worth it in the end.
Start With An Inspiration
Even as designers we do that. We find a starting point, or inspiration piece for the room, and from that we pull the color scheme, the mood of the room and the style. The inspiration could be a photo you love, it could be a rug, a piece of fabric or artwork. Really take in the piece and understand how to translate it into your space.
Finally, my advice is to have fun with decorating. This in itself is a memory you are creating, so make the most of it. It should not be a burden trying to beautify your home. Keep your goals in mind and imagine what the end result will be.
If you are in need of design advice for your project, book a consultation and we will get you on the right track. Click HERE to schedule
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Wishing You Beauty And Inspiration!