It’s important to love your space and to make it feel like home through design that reflects your personality. But feeling happy at home also means having peaceful relationships with everyone you live with. This might mean making sacrifices and compromising on your décor so that both you and your roommate will be satisfied with the overall look.
It’s probably not very likely that your roommate happens to be your interior design soulmate, or even a décor savant. What’s more likely is that your tastes are mildly on par with each other’s – and they may or may not be as crazy about the color red as you are. The bottom line is that each person will come to the table with their own design preferences, as well as their own idea of how to decorate that table. And that is where things start to get tricky. So before you move in, take some time to get to know each other’s tastes and styles and, moreover, what would fit in with your space the best.
Here are a few ways to successfully combine decorating styles with your roommate.
Dedicate Time for a Discussion
This might seem obvious, but it’s definitely better than holding out hope that your roommate will have the same ideas in mind. Come up with a plan, by discussing what you both strongly agree or disagree about, and where you’re each willing to compromise.
Make sure that the décor maximizes the space in the best way possible for both of you. After that, compare and contrast by trading design ideas, magazine clippings, or even a shared Pinterest board. It’s also a great way to discover your own design preference, something that we at Modernize urge everyone to explore. This will help both of you get a feel for how to best compromise, which, by this point hopefully won’t be too difficult.
Put the Place First
If your only focus is on where you’re putting that oversized vintage shag rug that doesn’t really fit in your living room, then consider another design choice. Decorate your space in a way that enhances its best features and makes living there an enjoyable experience. When both you and your roommate put the place first, you will have an easier time seeing eye-to-eye, rather than battling over whose things get to go where.
Choose Neutral and Add Accents
In the case of decorating your space with another person, one would hope that they don’t have too wild a design style (re: all animal print). They most likely appreciate neutral tones and shapes as much as you do, and therein lies an easy opportunity for compromise.
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Try to make sure most of your furniture is neutral enough so that you can add character with interesting accent pieces. Invite your roommate to brainstorm with you so that each of you can add a unique piece here and there to make it a truly combined effort. For example: a light beige couch accented with colorful and patterned pillow, or plain walls with an eye-catching light fixture. Get creative and make it fun!
It’s nice to be appreciated, and what’s more, it’s important in establishing a good relationship with your roomie. Without gushing and overdoing it, take some time to point out what you like about their design picks – you may even discover something interesting about them while doing so. “What do you mean you made that pillow in Home Ec. class?!” or “I had no idea you were into pottery!” are potential pathways to a deeper and more fulfilling relationship with the person who shares your space, even if only for that moment.
Even if you truly despise that ugly green chair in the corner, ask them why they like it so much and enjoy getting to know them better instead of holding it all in. Besides, you’ll always have your own room…