I first realized what a minefield couple decorating could be shortly after I got married. I had spent my life around furniture and since we were moving as a couple into my house it didn’t even occur to me that my new husband might want a say on how we decorated our home.
All that changed over a simple thing like changing the wall paper in the bathroom a couple of months after the wedding. I asked my husband if he wanted to accompany me to the wall paper store almost as an afterthought. You can imagine my surprise when he actually wanted to give input and worse yet didn’t agree with my choices. It was difficult but finally my husband who didn’t like stripes agreed to a wall paper pattern that had muted variegated stripes as a background with a flocked pattern in the foreground. We both loved the paper and years later when I remodeled the bathroom the hardest thing I did was to tear off the wall paper I still loved.
That experience gave me an insight on how to help couples successfully create an interior that blended their tastes and is one of my favorite challenges as an Interior Designer. Hopefully every couple who can’t agree on a design has someone to referee, but even if they don’t, designing a room they both love can actually be a fun project.
Years after my personal encounter with couple decorating I had probably my most difficult project. A couple that I will call the Smiths had just purchased a home in a resort area about a thousand miles from where they lived and worked.
Since the Smiths couldn’t stay to furnish their vacation home they decided to get ideas at local furniture stores so they would be ready to furnish their home during their next vacation. It was with this idea that they strolled into the furniture store I was working in. As they wandered through the store it was quite evident that they had two totally different ideas on the style and colors they wanted in their home. The only thing they did agree on was that they both loved the model home they had seen and had purchased the same floor plan. It took a while but in the end I helped the Smiths design a home that they both loved and one that expressed both of their tastes.
Here are the steps the Smiths took to furnishing their dream home:
The Smiths loved the feeling of the model home they originally seen. They brought a picture showing rooms with white walls and bright colors mostly in reds and blues. Even so they both agreed that they did not want to furnish their home with the same look since they would eventually live there full time. After having them look through the store picking out things each of them liked without the pressure of giving in to the other’s taste, I sent them home with the assignment of each going through decorating magazines separately and then going through magazines together pulling out pictures of rooms they liked. When doing this project it is important not to analyze your choices just go with your first response.
With their assignment finished they returned with a portfolio of pictures. As we went through the pictures we analyzed what appealed to them about each room. In some cases it was not the style of the furnishings but the colors. In rooms they had both liked, one liked the style of the furnishings; the other liked the wood paneling. They both liked rooms with yellow, blue, and red but agreed that they didn’t want to live in a kaleidoscope. Since the location of their vacation home had a strong nautical history they also enjoyed things like light houses, shells and boats. The wife liked softer more traditional furnishings, while the husband liked a crisper more contemporary look. As we picked the various pictures apart and then again explored the furniture and accessories in the store, the Smiths were able to start to envision how different pieces could create a look that would complement both of their tastes.
The Smiths finished home incorporated yellow, and blue with touches of red using a background of white. In the master bedroom we made use of traditional furnishings with soft yellow and rich blues to give a romantic feel, while in the living area a painting they both loved of the ocean set the theme for more contemporary furnishings featuring blues and reds with a touch of yellow.
The Smiths now had a game plan and could finally have fun decorating their dream home as they had envisioned themselves doing.