10 Tips for Harmonious Design
Check out these 10 tips for decorating in harmony with your significant other.
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Focus on key rooms
Rome wasn’t built in a day, says design consultant Davis Remignanti. And merging two households’ worth of furnishings into a compatible whole isn’t going to happen overnight either. So why not remove the pressure from yourselves and make decorating your new shared space a much more relaxed and enjoyable experience, he says. Then there will be fewer chances for stress-induced emotional blowups. "This is an opportunity to learn about each other and share what you love," he says. "It’s about the bigger picture—the start of your life together. Take your time."
To lower the stress level, couples should consider choosing one or two rooms to focus on, designers say. Pick the rooms where you spend the most time or that you care most about. For many couples, the bedroom will be the first private space they tackle and the living room the first more public space.
Whether choosing new furnishings or trying to figure out what the heck somebody sees in a certain item, be aware of underlying emotions, says Remignanti. "You may trample his feelings if you trash his well-worn recliner—a beloved hand-me-down from Dad," he says. Or you may seriously offend her if you question her taste. Even the look on your face can say loud and clear what you think of something, says interior designer Jayne Pelosi.
When, at the wife’s request, Pelosi brought some contemporary abstract artwork to a young couples’ home for approval, the husband gazed at the prints with an expression bordering on repulsion. "He muttered ‘Why do you like these?’ and the wife immediately became defensive and blurted out several intellectual reasons why modern art is important," says Pelosi, who owns Boston-based Renaissance Design. She delicately suggested that, unknowingly, the husband had asked a trick question. "The bottom line is we love what we love because we love it. There is no right or wrong answer. I counsel my couples' clients not to ask their honeys to explain. Taste is highly personal and often idiosyncratic."
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