Marrying design styles

Just as one gets
confident about finding and declaring a design style that suits you something
happens; you come up against someone that has a totally different idea about
design and unfortunately that person is the person you share a home with
whether partner or a roommate! We all know the scenario,a room needs decorating
and nothing happens as you are still arguing over paint colours and fabric
samples or whether furniture should be sleek leather or chintzy.

Believe me though,it
does not have to be that way,there are ways you can resolve your design
dilemmas and create a welcoming and functional space that works for you both.

When my husband I
moved into our new home, we had the opportunity to begin from scratch as there
was no furniture.  While I envisioned a
beautiful space that would be welcoming (and maybe a little impressive) to our
guests, he really wanted furniture that would allow him to ‘kick back’ and
watch TV.  Like most homes here in
Cayman, we only have one space that needs to suit three purposes: entertaining,
dining and TV viewing.  So, we’re not
only faced with a design dilemma that requires multiple purposes in one open
space but two somewhat different ideas about how it should all come together…
an interesting challenge!

The good news is that
it is possible for both parties to get what they want and for the finished
space to work for all your needs.  Often,
you’ll have an existing piece you can agree on that can act as a launch pad for
the rest of the design.  Whether it’s a
dining table that you both love or even a piece of art, finding common ground
can help you begin to navigate your way through the furniture selection and
buying process.    Here are a few tips to
help you get started.

Pick up some design
magazines or surf the internet for design inspiration.  Looking at spaces is very different from
imagining them and you might be surprised how much you have in common with your
partner.  It may take some time, but you
will inevitably find photos of rooms you both like that can help you make sense
of your differences.

Decide what really
matters to you and be willing to compromise on the things that don’t.  If your partner really wants a state of the
art home theatre system and you can’t stand looking at a TV, pick an
entertainment centre that will allow you to hide the entertainment equipment
behind closed doors when it’s not in use. 
This will keep you both happy and create a space that works for all your
purposes.

Where possible,
reserve a space in the home for each of you and decorate it to appeal to your
individual design aesthetics.  This can
be easier said than done, however, especially when you are limited on
space.  When faced with smaller spaces,
allow one partner to direct the design in the bedroom and the other the guest
room.  I suggest finding ways to bring in
elements that reflect the other partner in these individual spaces so that the
whole home is cohesive.  This can be as
simple as choosing a print or photo that your partner loves for the wall.

Don’t make any
decisions without consulting with your partner first.  This may seem like obvious advice, however,
it’s crucial to ensuring your home is a reflection of you both.  Shop together for furniture and fabrics and
be willing to take the time to find pieces you both like.  It may take a little work but you will be
able to find things that suit you both.

Let your home do the
talking.  Architectural features make
natural focal points and can be a great way to blend two design styles. Take a
good look at your home and let the architecture and design elements that are
already there guide your design decisions. This will allow you to find some
neutral ground where it may be missing and cause you to rethink some of your
individual preferences. For example, a home with arched doorways does not
naturally lend itself to contemporary design. The trick would be to add some
contemporary elements (like a modern print or cool contemporary accessories)
but go with a more traditional or transitional design style for the bulk of the
furnishings. 

Save the paint
selection until the end.  Wall colour
unifies your space and can bring everything together. It’s really tempting to
choose your wall colour first but it can be very challenging to make it work
once all your furniture and art is in the space.

Keep an open mind.
Remember that there are no real rules to interior design. Don’t worry about
matching wood tones exactly or maintaining one design style throughout your
home,some of the most interesting, and beautiful, homes combine multiple design
styles and finishes.

In my space, we’ve
selected furniture that works for us both. 
Comfortable chairs chosen by my husband but upholstered in a fabric that
I really like, a leather cocktail ottoman so we can put up our feet at the end
of a long day and an entertainment console that combines my need for something
aesthetically pleasing and my husband’s need to have everything at the touch of
a button.  We still have a long way to go
before our home will be complete, but we’re well on our way to a marriage made
in furniture heaven!

In my next article I
will talk about choosing wall colour, creating a mood and setting the stage.

Kristen Thomson is
Business Development Manager
at Woods Furniture & Design Ltd.

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