Ebony and ivory, in perfect harmony

DECOR

Her stuff, his stuff...The battle of colours and styles... To ensure that a couple’s dream investment in a new home doesn’t become “a post wedding house divided”, the couple needs to keep certain facts in mind.

The first and foremost thing you need to do is relax. A new home, like a new relationship, is about the couple. Don’t worry about what goes with what. Mix, don’t match. This is anyway the new trend of 2011. All you need to do is follow decorative instincts with pieces that reflect both his and her interests and activities. Respect each other’s emotions. Both need to make certain adjustments. She’ll trample his feelings if she trashes his well-worn recliner, a hand-me-down from dad. Give it a corner in the bedroom, it’s a no in the living room. Budget is another issue which has to addressed. Be realistic in setting spending limits and work within them. Consider if the stuff you are buying is for ever or just a temporary solution.

Prioritise your requirements. List what’s needed most. Blending pieces from the past is one thing while shopping for new furniture is another and larger, undertaking.

As a couple, get together and scan newspapers, magazines and TV shows. Discuss your friends’ homes, find design inspiration and common ground. There are many cases where one partner may be driving most decisions, but for the long-term good of the relationship, involve the other.

Happiness is contagious. There should be a fun design process with a playful spirit in the house. You can make the space look chic even when it is bursting with multiple colours. To visualise the schemes think vibrant. It is also very much about self-indulgence.

In terms of colour, red is a colour that is regarded highly in interior decoration. Red is the symbol of romance, energy and life. Also it can provide your household a bold appearance. Red is an appropriate colour for bed sheets, door mats, rugs and curtains. Crimson rugs are so beautiful that you can even get them framed and use them as wall decor.

The bedroom is a place of comfort and relaxation. There are many ways to accentuate bedrooms with decorating styles that make for a relaxing ambience. Achieve harmony by merging two tastes and styles in a harmonious way. Begin by choosing a colour palette that both of you can live with. Before you decide what colour your bedroom will be painted with, be sensitive enough to ask for your partner’s opinion. You could use neutral colours like ivory and beige instead.

Matching styles

The second issue to be addressed after the colour, is the furniture. If your partner is more of a minimalist, and you can live without overstuffing your bedroom, then make a compromise. Likewise if he has a ratty chair that he insists on keeping, then let it be; just place a slip cover to make it blend with your overall design theme.

Decorate your bedroom with pictures of the two of you during the wedding. Great bedroom lighting does not stop at bedside lamps.

Add some romantic lighting options such as a dimmer switch or some wall sconces.
It is hard to go from having your own individual space to suddenly sharing a space with another person. To help each of you feel more comfortable, both of you should add something that is truly yours. You don’t have to sacrifice all of your individual style in order to share a space.

The bathroom is another place that needs attention. There are some affordable ways to make your bathroom spa-like. You can place candles around the tub. Get a pretty wicker basket or metallic basket, depending on the style of your bathroom and fill it with bath oils, fancy soaps, lotions and creams. Some pretty hand towels can be added too. Display the basket on the vanity, a shelf or on the floor. Adding plush monogrammed bath towels, a robe and slippers for each of you is a great way to make a room give a spa-look. Comfort does help keep peace in a relationship. If you can afford it and have space, install a jacuzzi or whirlpool tub. You can invest in a foot massager too. Choose stylish throw rugs, towel bars, waste baskets, to create a cohesive look.

Bring in some fun

One of the best ways to design spaces in your home that both of you can enjoy is by adding in fun accents. You can keep your home looking young and fresh by incorporating elements like bean bags, fun lamps, rugs, unique wall art etc. Incorporate theses simple items into your space and you will soon have a house that feels like a home.

Couples can benefit from compromise in the design department, so allow each other to integrate pieces into the room that you both love. Tie in your favourite colours and textures with fun lamps, eclectic rugs, unique wall art and even some bean bags.

Look for similarities in your decorating styles and how they can be blended together in a shared space. Try shopping together, you might be surprised at how much your styles complement each other. While designing a living room, you both need to understand that a good living room design has to be one that on a practical level happily accommodates the various activities both of you wish to undertake in the space while also using living room decor that is aesthetic. You can determine exactly what both of you want from your living room as this will dictate how you will arrange the space.

Thinking out the following might help:

*Things like a leisure room for quiet reading, listening to music, watching TV.
*A dining room for cozy meals, small parties or TV suppers.
*An entertainment room for both of you or to host smart parties.
*A work room for study, etc
*A mix of all or any of the above.

These various activities all require specialised lighting, ample storage facilities and suitable furniture. Listing them on your living room design plan will help. Choose the right colour palette for your living room.

If both of you are avid collectors, arrange the collection together. Hang art work of your choice at the eye level. Use lighting wisely.

Use standing and table lamps to enhance the coziness of the room. Mix textures and fabrics to give the room depth. Position the sofas away from the wall to create an intimate seating area.

Combining two personal styles into one beautiful home, can push the couple into a panic mode. Both may have their own backgrounds, tastes and traditions. You may be coming from two separate homes, each filled with possessions. Combining households isn’t simply about “stuff”.

Start making a list of everything you own, evaluate each piece and be brutal to yourself. Ask if you really need this? Both of you should finish this phase by deciding exactly what to keep and what can go.

When the time comes to blend houses, you should not be looking at two moving trucks filled with enough stuff to fill two or more houses. But if your possessions are nicely condensed, you might find your life a whole lot easier.

(The author is an interior designer with Modccon Interiors)

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