How to Marry Design Styles with Your Significant Other

It CAN be done without conflict.

Moving in with a significant other brings excitement, curiosity and difficult conversations (Who pays what bills?). But along with all of that comes the ultimate task of blending two different decor styles into a functional, inviting home. Oh, and you have to sort through massive amounts of stuff you've both accumulated over the years.

For those of you in the transition process, I'd like to share some tips I learned from moving in with my husband. 

Traditional Bedroom With Soothing Neutral Palette

Traditional Bedroom With Soothing Neutral Palette

Symmetry is key in this classical designed bedroom with a hint of nautical theme. The slipcovered bed is flanked by matching sconces and sage green nightstands. Gingham curtains add to the traditional look, and a curved sofa is the perfect spot to relax.

Photo by: Michael J. Lee

Michael J. Lee

 Compromise and communication are key.

I'll start with this, because without communicating and compromising, you won't make any progress. Discuss how you each want your home to look and feel. Be open about which items contain sentimental value. Explain what's most imporant to you, like having a quiet workspace or a place to entertain and watch TV with friends. Accept that some compromise is necessary. For instance, I painted an abstract painting on canvas using only pink paint. My husband wasn't crazy about a bright pink painting hanging in the living room, so, I hung up it up in a guest bedroom instead. Problem solved! 

White Contemporary Living Room With Gray Armchairs

White Contemporary Living Room With Gray Armchairs

The beautiful accent pillows were made from vintage textiles. Keeping them within a similar color palette allows them to be mixed and matched with stylish flair.

Photo by: Becki Owens

Becki Owens

 Don't knock it till you try it.

At first, everything will look awkward and misplaced. But before throwing out everything and starting from scratch, move it around; try furniture and wall decor in different rooms; and keep items in place for a while. I was surprised at how quickly I grew to love and enjoy tchotchkes and furniture that belonged to my husband.

Ian Brennan's Eclectic Living Room Mixes Styles For Personality

Ian Brennan's Eclectic Living Room Mixes Styles For Personality

Glee creator Ian Brennan's living room was redesigned by HGTV Design Star winner Emily Henderson, as seen on HGTV's Secrets From A Stylist . For the bungalow's decorative makeover, Emily deliberately combined three distinct design styles to reflect Ian's personality. Starting with a '30s masculine look that she's calling "FDR Chic," she then layers two more styles: a fun '60s element called "British Invasion Mod," and furnishings from Ian's travels called "Backpacker Traveler."

From: Secrets From a Stylist

 Make purchases together.

You share a home now, so it makes sense to buy furnishings and decor as a couple. Shop together so that one partner's style preferences don't dominate the home. Plus, any item you buy together will carry much more meaning than one you bought on your own. The best, most-rewarding purchase my husband and I made together was our beautiful, customized Chesterfield couch. We love sinking into it at night after a long day at work. It was a big purchase, but we plan on passing it down to our children one day.

Eclectic Black and White Bathroom With Rustic Wooden Vanity

Eclectic Black and White Bathroom With Rustic Wooden Vanity

This lively bathroom features black hexagon wall tiles paired with bright blue and white floor tiles that have been arranged into a geometric pattern. A wooden vanity adds a rustic vibe, while brass fixtures provide a finishing touch. A painting of a man with a pipe hangs on the wall.

Photo by: Caitlin Murray

Caitlin Murray

 Embrace eclecticism.

This design style is your new best friend. Mixing metals, textures, patterns and styles helps create a lived-in, unique look. So what if you love brass and copper accents while your partner prefers dark woods and leather? All of those elements can work together. Combining light and dark, soft and harsh, neutrals and bright elements make for a well-balanced living space representative of both masculine and feminine styles.

Ideas for Creating a Gender-Neutral Home

See All Photos

Shop Related Products

Eclectic Bedroom With Gray Upholstered Bed

Eclectic Bedroom With Gray Upholstered Bed

A gray upholstered bed is adorned with a fur throw in this eclectic bedroom featured in a townhouse. A blue piece of art hangs on the wall giving the room an eclectic feel.

Photo by: Caitlin McCarthy Design

Caitlin McCarthy Design

 Be kind.

Think twice before insulting that puffy leather chair or dingy shower curtain. Don't throw out items just because you don't like them. Ask your S.O. if there is sentimential value attached to an item and, if not, make the decision as a couple whether or not to give it away. Of course, it's unrealistic to go through this process with every. single. thing. But, remember, it's all just stuff. Will your world come crashing down if your partner feels deep attachment to a kitschy lamp from childhood? Probably not.

White Transitional Family Room With Sectional

White Transitional Family Room With Sectional

This friendly family room was designed with everyone in mind: The large, custom-made sectional perfectly fits this family of six and the built-in entertainment unit houses toys in the drawers and books and objects on the shelves. Womb chair: DWR; Crane floor lamp: CB2; Spider chandelier: Cisco Brothers

Photo by: Dustin Halleck

Dustin Halleck

 Flex your creative muscles.

In other words, try to make the ugly stuff that you hate blend in with the rest of the decor. Approach the situation optimistically. This is an opportunity to create a brand new style that represents both you and your S.O. For example, my husband had a collection of Hatch Show prints hanging on random walls throughout the house. I suggested hanging them all together to create a more visually striking gallery wall. Bonus: Now it's a conversation piece! 

Tiny, Eclectic Living Room & Kitchen

Tiny, Eclectic Living Room & Kitchen

Kim Lewis Designs seamlessly blends the living area and kitchen together in this tiny home in Texas. A chic black-and-white color scheme ties the two spaces together with color accents and patterns that aren't too loud.

Photo by: Molly Winters Photography

Molly Winters Photography

 Be patient.

Creating an inviting, personalized home takes time, so much time. Resist the urge to buy everything from Ikea or Target. Let your home evolve naturally. Scour flea markets and estate sales. When offered, accept furniture from family members. (Seriously, more than half of our house is made up of items handed down from parents and grandparents.) When you fill your home with items that bring you joy, evoke a memory and posess meaning, it makes the process worthwhile.

Get Inspired by This Real-Life Couple

See All Photos

Shop Related Products

Keep Reading

Next Up

Can This Major '80s Throwback Design Make a Modern Comeback?

In this week's episode of Design Goals, Meg is inspired by a big-time flashback to her childhood and Lili stirs up a little paint controversy.

Design Goals: Meet the Hilarious Design Talk Show You Didn't Know You Needed

Our new web series is perfect for the design-obsessed HGTV fan who doesn't mind getting a little irreverent. Read: All of you!

Meg Thinks of Tackling a Trendy Project: Ombre Radiators! Would You?

What do you think of doing something trendy in your home? Should you stick to the classics or go out on a limb like Meg wants to this week?

Learn How Art Teaches You About Your Home Design Style

Struggling with how to spice up the design of a plain room? Atlanta designer Melanie Millner explains how art can show you how to take a blank canvas and turn it into your favorite space in your home.

How to Refresh Your Design Without Spending a Dime

Getting a fresh look at home is simplier than you may think.

11 Celebrities You Never Knew Designed Home Decor

You already know these famous faces, now it's time to get to know their home and design lines.

Design Obstacles You Face When First Starting Out + How to Overcome Them

Here's how to go from Rookie of the Year to Design MVP.

How to Design the Bedroom as a Couple

Here's how to show off both of your design styles without getting into a (pillow) fight.

10 Design Podcasts to Listen to Right Now

Perfect for your work commute or treadmill hike.

Meet the Team

Get to know the talented writers and editors of HGTV's show and design blog. 

Go Behind the Blog

From the Archives

Take a look back at our past posts, from entertaining and design trends to up-and-coming HGTV shows.  

Read All Our Past Posts