(ARA) – After the “I dos” are exchanged and the reception is over, couples find out that the realities of cohabitation do not always make for smooth sailing, especially when it comes to blending different tastes and styles. While newlyweds find themselves saying “I do” at the altar, that phrase frequently turns into “I don’t” when the couple begins combining two unique decorating styles into a single household.
“It’s never easy to incorporate two divergent ideas of design and comfort into one home,” says designer Christopher Prebel. “The man likes modern. His new wife likes flea-market chic. If you pick only one style, it’s not going to feel like a ‘married’ home. The question, then, is, ‘How can you blend both and be satisfied?’”
This might take some time, but no one says you have to decorate an entire house overnight.
First, de-clutter. Both of you have baggage that you could stand to dump, donate or list on eBay. Sit down together and negotiate what stays and what goes, and then stick to your plan.
Next, spend time looking at decorating publications and websites and watching decorating shows on TV to decide what sort of style you both like. Talk about what you see, what you love and what you don’t. The husband might hate feminine, floral prints. And, the wife might cringe at preppy plaid. But maybe they both prefer slip-covered sofas and daring wall colours. And once you find that common ground, you can start formulating your decorating strategy.
Paint is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to start personalizing any living space, and it all comes down to colour. Colour possibilities are endless, so chances are you’ll be able to find something you both like.
Visit your local paint dealer and collect colour chips or actual inexpensive paint samples that you can put on the wall to compare options. Most paint companies have helped simplify the colour selection process. For example, you can find colour displays that feature pop-out colour chips that let you evaluate colour by overlaying chips against existing furniture and design elements. Additionally, various colour cards provide you with suggested colour combinations to give you further inspiration.
If you’re the kind of couple who likes to remain en vogue with your decor choices, consider researching the latest colour trends. A variety of design industry groups develop colour forecasts each year, and paint manufacturers prepare palettes to echo these predictions. Hot directions for 2010 include:
Nurture – Colours inspired by sustainability, balance and making an impact on the greater world. Try gray on your walls and accent with shades of palm green, nutmeg, browns and yellows.
Symbol – Colours in this palette seek inspiration from architectural and historical symbolism – rich, complex and even moody hues, such as tobacco, bay leaf green, maroon and warm reds.
Sense – Hues in this palette not only please the eye but also stimulate the other senses by echoing tactile wonders with colours like that of an artichoke.
Sojourn – Inspired by the sights of global travel, the colours in this palette combine an eclectic mix of cultural references, blending camels and honeyed lights with rich, artistic reds, slate blues and plums.
Colour is the biggest hurdle in any decorating decision – and once you cross that challenge off your list as something you’ve accomplished together, the rest should fall easily into place. Some other helpful tips to keep in mind while you’re creating the perfect first home include the following:
* Mix it up, don’t match it perfectly. It’s fine to be eclectic. A home that is perfectly “matchy-matchy” lacks character. Your home is about you, and it should carry a bit of both of your personalities vs. looking like you copied a picture in a magazine.
* Cleverly blend items from the past with new things in every room. You both had a life before you got married – let your history reflect into your present. Yes, it might involve compromise, but that’s what relationships are about, isn’t it?
* Buy big items, such as furniture, window treatments, flooring upgrades and appliances, together. Shopping as a team gives added cohesiveness to the overall look and allows you both to have a say in major purchases.
Marriage is “for better or for worse.” A little creativity and compromise will ensure that at least your decor is for “the better.”