Differences can make things interesting, sometimes in a good way and other times, not so much. When these differences are causing friction not only in your relationship but also in the harmony of your home’s design it can be unsettling to say the least. Each of you brings unique things into a relationship and it is probably the same with your belongings. Finding a way to blend two very different styles in a home can be challenging. It takes the right formula to create chemistry where everyone feels happy. We have come up with some helpful tips to take some of the stress out of merging “his and hers styles” and satisfy the desires of both of you.
1. Find Your Design Styles
Start by looking in magazines or online on sites such as Houzz or Pinterest at things that you like. Share these pictures with each other and discuss what you like and why with your partner. You may find just by doing this that you have more in common than you thought or that things you once liked aren’t what you want in your new shared space. You never know you may even find a new style that suites both of you!
2. Compromise This may sound obvious but it is essential for both of you to be happy in your space. You can’t expect your partner to sell, donate or trash most of their things while you keep the majority of yours. Ask yourself why you want to keep or purchase certain things. You don’t want to force your partner to be stuck with something because you are a creature of habit. The act of compromise can be good not just for your relationship but also for your design. It creates interest, conversation and a truly unique style that you can only create together. For example, if you both have an art collection that you don’t want to part with or you don’t have space to display them both, consider rotating them into the design. This changes things up and makes things interesting.
3. Start with a Blank Slate Start with the pieces that you both love and want to incorporate into the space. The next step is to start bringing in the items where you will have to do some compromising. Start refilling the space with function in mind. Once you have the main pieces in the room you may notice there are some holes to fill or that one of your existing pieces may need some updating. Buying new pieces together is a great way to define you both. Combining feminine and masculine details are a great place to start, for example, a new sofa with more delicate curves upholstered in a more masculine material. Another good thing to do is purchase pieces that can blend with varying design styles. By mixing small details of each of your tastes into one piece the base of your design plan can form and evolve into the space you both have been dreaming of. Now that some of the basic steps are out of the way, these next few get down to details where you can get creative and really have fun mixing your styles!
4. Highlight Architectural Details Every home has a designed architectural style. The bones of your home will also be a factor is your new blended space. Consider highlighting some of these elements for a more dramatic and unique space. Below are two great examples of using these types of details to enhance and successfully blend a family living space.
With a handsome coffered ceiling and strong angled walls this living room already had a masculine feel to it. To compliment and make it comfortable for both people in this home we added furniture pieces that had more curved feminine lines but brought in wood framing on the chairs to tie in with the beautiful detail in the ceiling. Next we kept the window treatments elegant but simple to highlight the view outside. Adding soft neutral colors gave the room a cohesive feel while adding softness in the florals and splashes of color with the accessories and artwork. Also, by adding a masculine stripe on one of the chairs and a more streamlined cocktail table, some of the structure you see in the ceiling is mirrored in the furnishings.
This home also had a strong masculine element in its architectural detail, the fireplace. Adding the scrolled carved detail at the top added a more feminine touch and tied in the softness of the rounded doors and windows. We did more feminine lines in the furnishings but upholstered them in solid colors and geometric patterns. Adding soft floral treatments as well as both of the client’s accessories gave the room a good blend of each of their personalities.
5. Color Palette and Pattern
Colors and patterns can define and determine the tone of your entire design, it is important to make sure you incorporate a little bit of both of you. A common color scheme or repeated design element can bring together various types of furniture, wood tones and styles. Masculine and feminine colors are stereotypically known as deeper and bolder colors being preferred by men, such as navy blue and crimson, while softer more pastel shades are preferred by women. Of course every person is different and there isn’t a set rule about what you can and can’t like. Patterns on fabrics are often seen the same way, where bold geometric patterns and certain textures such as leather or tweed can be considered masculine, while floral or scrolled patterns or textures like silk or velvet have more feminine connotations. Mixing these elements together will bring a blended but cohesive feel to your space. For example, adding a geometric patterned rug to a room with a more feminine color palette will make his and her style look intentional, and it will anchor your space nicely. Or possibly choosing more masculine colors for your furniture pieces, while adding soft textures and colors into the pillows and draperies, will incorporate elegance and charm.
6. Combine Your Accessories
Accessories can make or break a space, they are the finishing touches that make it unique and it is the perfect opportunity to personalize. Accessories are more than just knick-knacks; tables, lighting, pillows and rugs are all considered accessories. Do both of you each have items you like to collect? Consider using a few of your favorite pieces to display and mix them together on bookshelves or tabletops. Do you want to add softness with florals or greenery; succulents do a great job but keep it looking more clean and streamlined. Also it is important to consider, some of your pieces can be combined and unified by a common finish. Finishes can make something look glamorous and romantic or industrial and sleek. Mixing in combinations of all of the elements in our list is essential in making both parties feel at home in the new space.
Tips and advice on matters like these can be helpful but there are some occasions where seeking the help of a professional designer may be the best decision. Finding a neutral partner to help determine both of your styles and how to mix the two in the best way for your lifestyle can be invaluable. They will be able to look at the situation without bias and have the professional experience to make what may be a long and stressful endeavor on your own, a shorter more enjoyable one.