Working With Conflicting Styles
Some of the most interesting spaces, integrate a variety of influences
Whether you’re taking on a roommate or moving into a new place with your significant other, combining different styles can be challenging, especially when the people involved have strong opinions. Here are some suggestions for creating an environment that’s cohesive, not clashing, and preserving your relationship along the way.
1. Start Fresh
By taking everything out of a room, and then deciding together what goes back in, can give a couple a fresh start without starting from scratch. Then you can go shopping together to bridge any gaps. To get a better sense of each other’s style, create a mood board to share images of rooms and furniture you like.
2. Mix it Up
I think a big mistake couples make when designing is that they feel everything needs to match or be in the same aesthetic. Using furniture pieces from different design periods, layer in fabrics and textiles that are varied in pattern and color, hang artwork and pepper in accessories that are interesting and meaningful to you both. The ultimate goal in designing is to have a space that feels curated and personal.
To achieve that effect, you can juxtapose unexpected textures and colors, pairing a green leather armchair with a vintage pink velvet footstool and covering two antique wingback chairs in patterned upholstery.
Photographs of family members, mementos from your travels and colorful artwork hang together in the living room to create personal interest. This design works because every element in the space has touches of both personalities.
3. Find Common Ground
Find something you both love, like the color blue or the outdoors. Incorporate that into the room in small details like a piece of art or a hand-painted dresser. The inspiration for your shared home could turn out to be an imaginary holiday home. The balance can be from a place that you both love & so you could integrate that style into your home.
Once you start to conceptualise one area, you can carry that over into other areas, then your personal characteristics can be represented through accessories & artwork.
4. Consult a Third Party
If you find yourselves struggling to blend affinity for clean lines and minimalism with a love of bright colors, loud patterns and eclectic art you could have a hard time balancing some of your preferences, and the years of hand-me-downs and other accessories can just prove to be too complicated to balance.
Having an independent pair of eyes could be the way to go helping you to create harmony.
5. Pick Your Battles
Letting him keep his framed sports shirt now will give you the ammunition you need later for the fight over the pink velvet sofa! It’s probably not worth taking a stand over that beat-up old armchair you picked up at a garage sale, but maybe you don’t want to let go of your grandmother’s favorite teapot just yet. Think about what matters to you most and let go of the rest.
6. Preserve Some Personal Space
It is healthy in any relationship to preserve alone time and space, setting up a cozy reading nook for yourself, or understanding that someone’s desk is completely their own domain, can be a small yet relationship-saving strategy to retaining your sense of individuality while still living with someone else.
As always, your home is a space that you should “both” enjoy, try to have fun with it, think about how you both like to live & work from there.
For advice, inspiration or a full Interior Design service, get in touch or visit our studio at
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