Designing a Compromise

Simple tips to finding a compromise between differing styles from Get It Together.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionJeff and Patty had spent three months in their new house and didn't use the front room at all. Why? Since the old sofa was very cushy and neutral, they couldn't agree on what the new one should be, so it was just placed along the wall.

All About

Mix and match chairs and different fabrics and styles didn't appeal to either of them, but they didn't know what to do. Jeff hated the pink stone fireplace and wanted to paint it, but that idea made Patty nervous, very nervous. Basically, they were frozen in a limbo of indecision so they did nothing — until we came along.

The Solution: For Patty and Jeff, it was a matter of getting a new sofa and chairs in styles they both liked, which meant comfortable with classic lines for Patty and formal with a modern edge for Jeff. That was easy, as the shape of furniture solves half of the problem, while the fabric choice and pillows can complete the picture.

Jeff was worried about things being feminine, so dark woods were employed to lend a more masculine depth to the space. Patty's old coffee table was given a new dark chocolate look that Jeff liked.

What They Needed: Sometimes a third party is exactly what you need. Both partners in the space want what they prefer but also want the other person to be happy. So they hedge the decisions, for an indefinite period of time. It's good to get a consultation sometimes just to help get things moving forward and also to make some decisions. Perspective can be priceless.

The Trade-Off

It's okay for different areas of the house to have stronger personalities. For example, he dominates the den, while she dominates the dining room. It's a fair trade from the start that can allow partners some design freedom to make decisions on their own and lean a room more in their direction. Generally, it's only fair if it's an even trade – room for room.