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10 tips for Decorating Your Shared Space and Creating Domestic Harmony

10 tips for Decorating Your Shared Space and Creating Domestic Harmony

Whether you are starting a new relationship and moving in together for the first time, have bought a new place that needs transformation or feel it is just time to redecorate your pad, successfully decorating your shared space is vital. These tips will help you find a balance between your tastes, creating an environment that highlights and complements your combined style.

1. Before you start, discuss together what you want to achieve and create a mood board.

Stop! Before you do anything and especially before you rush out to the interior design shop, discuss your ideas for your shared space. One idea is to create a mood board where you cut out images, place fabric swatches and colour chips to see what a potential design may look like. You may feel that creating one may be over the top but it can help you visualise and share ideas. (Think of it as a shared craft exercise!) Grab those magazines, don’t forget, you can get inspiration not only from the glossy pages of interior magazines and do it yourself specials, but also fashion and food magazines. If this doesn’t inspire your partner you will find that even car magazines can provide inspiration with  beautiful colours, tones and shades which will inspire your shared colour sense when you are decorating.

Decorating choices with colour swatches

    2. Select your colour palette for decorating perfection.

    Decide on a colour palette ensuring it is not too masculine or feminine to ensure there is harmony within your home, it ensures a room is not just for one partner. Step away from those obvious pinks and blues, leave ‘stereotyping’ a room colour for the nursery or children’s bedrooms.

    Think of colour temperatures that complement each room. If a room is blessed with being sunny from dawn until dusk, think cooler shades such as teals, greys or lilacs. If you want some warmth in your boudoir, head towards the reds, golds and purples. Get to your home improvement store and look at the variety of interior paints, make sure you pick up some sample pots to test colours in your rooms.

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    3. Consider how you live your life.

    What is central to your life? Is TV important to you or do you enjoy a roaring fire? Look to encompass how you will use your space and build your design around this. If you love to entertain, consider a large dining table where you can share dinner parties with friends. If you love sports or movies on the big screen you can create a comfortable viewing area for you to relax together. It’s all about how you spend your time and ensuring your interior suits this.

    4. Use special items as inspiration.

    Have you got one treasured item that you both love? It could be a particular vase, a picture frame which contains your favourite photograph, your favourite armchair or even something as silly as that cuddly animal toy you both bought at the zoo on your first date.

    Beautiful home

      Take these special items as your inspiration for the main colour palette for the central room in your life, where you’ll both be spending time.  It will always bring back special memories and gel the rest of the interior.

      5. Decide what’s in and what’s out.

      You need to take some time to decide what will you keep to be part of the new style and what just ‘has to go’. Do be ruthless – otherwise you will find that you will clutter your new space. Look to find the central, special items that you want to use as your focal points.  Just remember, don’t go for broke and get rid of everything!

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      You may not be able to get magazine shoot perfection in your interior, remember however that this is your home and not a studio set up for one photograph! You may strive to create just one style; however, you shouldn’t have to. Strike a balance between styles, it may create an eclectic look but it will be your look! It doesn’t matter that you’re dining chairs are all different or that you have differing styles of soft furniture.

      6. Give each other space.

      Your partner may feel they need their own space, whether it is his ‘man cave’ with the scruffy leather chair that he has had for years or you may want to create a feminine dressing room. If space allows, go for it. Utilize your spare bedroom, basement or even just the corner of a room to give each other your own personal space that you can each call your own.

      Comfortable recliners

        7. Use soft furnishings to accent and change up your interior.

        Don’t forget to use your soft furnishings as accents. Use your duvet cover and pillow cases as quick ways to inject colour and design into your bedroom or cushions on your sofas to provide a contrasting look.

        From large prints and embroidery to add impact, strips in blue or red to give a nautical look. You can also use blocks of complementary colours as a way to create a theme. Remember, they are the simplest things to change so if you feel you want a change or style, you can do it with a change of fabrics!

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        Bedroom soft furnishings

          8. Always remember, compromise is king.

          Neither of you will get everything you want in your interior design. It’s a fact of life that there will have to be compromise. So bear this in mind as you plan and decorate. Be ready to deviate from your plan, you will find that you will more likely create a design you can both live with.

          9. Use some of the tricks of the trade.

          There are numerous ‘tricks of the trade’ used by professional interior designers that you can use to make the most of your own rooms. Some of the most effective ‘quick wins’ are:

          • Use mirrors to make a space seem bigger. Well-placed mirrors will reflect light and make any room seem more spacious.
          • Be creative with lighting. Rather than just using overhead lighting, consider using table lamps and other creative lighting features such as LED colour changing lamps, which will allow you to totally change the atmosphere at the touch of a button. You can go from warm white to a cool wash of blue or green, and for party nights a funky disco style!
          • Pictures let you add interest. Use your wall space with pictures which mean something to both of you. Artwork can add colour and be a focal point for any room. Remember to hang them at eye level to ensure you make the most of them.

          10. Make it fun!

          Make every part of your interior design a shared activity. Enjoy a glass of wine as you plan and the promise of a nice night out to celebrate when you finish. Remember, even when you have decorated, it is not the end. Your décor and surroundings are a living thing. You can always be on the lookout for something that will ‘just look perfect’! A great interior design is a ‘living thing’.

          Once you have your design, here’s how to make it happen!

          When you have agreed on your perfect interior design you have the task of putting it all into place. If the thought of hard work makes your quake in fear, here are some pointers to make it more fun for both of you.

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          The key to ensuring a room looks fabulous is to make sure you spend the time preparing to decorate. Clear the room entirely (make your life easy by giving yourself the room to work!). Clean walls of old wallpaper thoroughly (an excuse to get steamy with a wallpaper stripper!), carefully sand any woodwork and clean any painted surfaces with Sugar Soap to make sure it is clean and ready for repainting.

          Basically it allows you to start with a clean blank canvas. Discuss what each of you will do (one of you might be taller so can reach higher for example, whilst the other takes more time because they like detail, so fine gloss painting would be a great task). Don’t expect just one of you to do all the prep work! You will need to work together to create a perfect room.

          Remember, there may be one of you who is more skilled in yielding a paint brush, it might be better than one takes the lead whilst the other supports and becomes the ‘labourer’ (However, for the sake of harmony don’t tell them this!). Don’t feel one of you must do everything. You will each have skills to share and you can make it a fun learning experience.

          Decorating is a fun activity that can bring a couple close together in a physical sense, as you share the same space whilst holding a ladder. Don’t forget, it can be great fun getting clean together after a hard day with a paint roller!

          If this has whet your appetite, you can find out more with this great infographic from  Z Gallerie, which will give you even more ways to achieve interior decor harmony.

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          Last Updated on May 21, 2019

          13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

          13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

          Creating your productivity ritual — a routine that helps you to maintain a peak level of energy can get you the best out of your days.

          Part of creating your productivity routine involves removing activities that drain you (what I call “kryptonites”), and that includes your bad habits.

          Like it or not, bad habits are bad for you — mentally, physically, emotionally and even socially in some cases. While some bad habits are harder to quit than others, it doesn’t change the fact that you need to get rid of them. Here are 13 bad habits to quit right away:

          1. Stress Eating

          I used to be a serious stress eater. I would eat whenever I felt unhappy, stressed, disappointed, anxious, or even… happy! My eating had nothing to do with being hungry, and everything to do with using food to fill my emotional voids.

          While eating would comfort me, this feeling was momentary and would disappear right after I was done eating. Instead, what I had left would be the same emotional void that triggered me to eat in the first place (be it unhappiness or stress), a 2,000 excess calorie intake over what I should have eaten for the day, and anger at myself for having stress ate.

          I’ve since overcome stress eating. I have healthy eating habits and a healthy relationship with food today where I no longer use food as a tool to fill my emotions.

          If you are a stress eater, don’t fret — here’s how to manage your stress better:

          How to Manage Stress (A Step-by-Step Guide to Turn Stress Into Success)

          2. Nail Biting

          Not only is nail biting unhygienic, it is also socially repelling, leads to dental problems like malocclusion of the anterior teeth,[1] potentially cause stomach problems,[2] and lead to severely deformed fingernails in the long run.

          People who bite their nails tend to have shorter nails than the average person; their nail plates also experience scarring and may eventually become absent.[3]

          Understand what triggers your nail biting behavior and replace it with another neutral to positive habit. Make habits to break habits.

          For example, if you bite your nails when you are stressed, go for a walk or listen to music instead the next time you feel stressed.

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          3. Hanging out with Naysayers

          We all know these people — people who play devil’s advocate to every idea you have and every goal you want to pursue. We are already our greatest self-critics, so it doesn’t help when there’s someone beside us, ever ready to pounce on what we say and tear it down.

          Hang out less with these naysayers and spend more time with supportive people who share constructive feedback instead. You will be much happier this way.

          Learn how to get rid of naysayers with these 10 Ways to Ignore the Naysayers and Achieve Your Dreams.

          4. Being with People Who Don’t Appreciate You

          Haven’t all of us been in this situation before? Trying to please people who don’t appreciate us? Bending over backwards to be there for people when they are never there for us?

          While we give without expectations of return, we need to draw a line with people who don’t value us because these people damage our souls.

          Stop spending time with people who don’t appreciate you, and spend more time with people who do instead.

          Unsure who you should get rid of? Learn about it here: 5 Kinds of Toxic People That You Need to Get Rid of Now

          5. Smoking

          Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death globally.[4]

          In just the United States alone, about 500,000 deaths are attributed to smoking-related diseases annually. A recent study estimated that as much as one-third of China’s male population will have significantly shortened life-spans due to smoking! Gender-wise, male and female smokers lose an average of 13.2 and 14.5 years of life respectively — that’s over a decade of life right there.[5]

          Not only that, smoking causes pre-mature skin aging (i.e. wrinkles), yellowing of teeth, bad breath, and worse of all — jeopardy of the health of people around you, including your loved ones. Studies have shown that non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk to many of the health problems associated with direct smoking.[6]

          Smoking risks

            6. Excessive Drinking

            All of us know that drinking too much alcohol is bad for us, but do you know how bad it really is?

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            According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking too much — be it on a single occasion or over time — can seriously damage your health:[7]

            • Brain problems: Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, making it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.
            • Heart diseases: Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle, Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat, stroke, high blood pressure
            • Liver diseases: Steatosis or fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis
            • Pancreas problems: Pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
            • Different types of cancer: Mouth, esophagus, throat, liver, breast

            If you drink a lot, perhaps cutting it out right away will be tough. Cut down the number of glasses you drink each time, followed by the number of times you drink a week.

            If need be, seek help from an AA group — you aren’t alone in this. Change starts from today.

            7. Eating Junk Food (Including Diet Soda)

            Junk food — they are everywhere in our society today. From McDonald’s, to KFC, to Burger King, to 24-hour takeouts, junk food such as fries, highly processed burgers and sodas has become a staple in our society today.

            If you think, “Hey, but junk food is tasty!”, think again:

            A study by Paul Johnson and Paul Kenny suggests that junk food consumption alters brain activity in a way similar to addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin.[8]

            “After many weeks with unlimited access to junk food, the pleasure centers of rat brains became desensitized, requiring more food for pleasure.”

            And you wonder why you seem to crave fast food when you just had some the day before?

            While it may not be possible to remove junk food completely from our diet right away, we can reduce our junk food consumption starting today. Instead of soda, opt for a fruit juice (fresh juice, not the carbonated kind) or mineral water. Instead of fries, switch to mashed potato, a salad, or rice (many food outlets allow for this today). Instead of a fried meat patty, go for a grilled one.

            Where possible, opt for healthy food joints like salad bars and delis as opposed to fast food outlets. Every little step goes a long way.

            Here’re some healthy snacks ideas for you: 15 Healthy Snacks You Should Always Have At Home

            8. Eating Too Much Red Meat

            There has been conclusive evidence that consumption of red meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer; and suggestive evidence that it increases the risk of oesophageal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and endometrial cancer.

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            In addition, some studies have linked consumption of large quantities of red meat with breast cancer, stomach cancer, lymphoma, bladder cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer![9]

            Personally, I’m a vegetarian so I don’t consume red meat, but for those of you who consume red meat, do watch out and limit your intake — better still, cut it out of your diet. World Cancer Research Fund recommends limiting intake of red meat to less than 300g (11 oz) cooked weight per week, “very little, if any of which to be processed.”

            Of if you’re thinking about becoming a vegetarian, check out this guide: 5 Practical Tips For Starting a Vegetarian Lifestyle

            9. Watching Too Much TV

            I stopped watching TV since eight years ago and I have never regretted it. Every once in a while I will switch on the telly to see what is on, and then I will switch it off because it’s just the same boring shtick over and over again.

            Watching TV, particularly well-written dramas, can be a good way to unwind. However, remember that TV isn’t your life.

            Spending three hours every night watching TV will not change your life for the better. Rather, using that time to reflect on your life, take stock, and take action on your goals will.

            It’s not easy to remove TV from your daily routine right away, but follow these 6 Steps To Remove TV From Your Life.

            10. Being Late

            Not only is being late being rude to others, it also means that you’re always rushing from one place to another, playing catch up in your agenda, and having to apologize to every person you meet.

            Stop being late and not being punctual, but practice being early instead. Target to arrive 15 minutes earlier before any appointment and bring along something to do in those 15 minutes (or longer if the other person turns out to be late). Then you can stop playing catch up and stay ahead in life.

            Learn more tips about how to be more punctual here: How to Be On Time Every Time

            11. Being in Bad Relationships

            Are you always dating the wrong guys/girls? Do you end up with jerks all the time? Well, you may not be able to stop yourself from meeting bad partners but you can certainly stop yourself from furthering contact with them, spending time with them, or even… entering into a relationship with them.

            I used to invest myself in this guy who was nothing but toxic for me. After a good five months of experiencing nothing but getting burned over and over again, I realized that he was a total waste of my time and I deserved better. I decided to cut him off, and it was soon after that I met my soulmate.

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            Learn about why you shouldn’t stay in a bad relationship and how to deal with it if you’re in one: Why Trying Hard to Stay in an Unhappy Relationship Is Not Love, but Fear

            12. Leaving Things to the Last Minute

            Burning the midnight oil isn’t fun — it’s exhausting.

            Those of you who got through college by burning the midnight oil would have learned this the hard way. Not only is it damaging for your body, it is also mentally draining as you’re constantly in a hyper-tense mode, feeling anxious about whether you can finish your work on time.

            Start today on a new note. Rather than react to your deadlines, be proactive about them by planning ahead, identifying what needs to be done for the week, and getting things done in advance.

            By staying ahead of your tasks, you can also use your extra time to plan ahead in your life and get more things done.

            Take a look at this guide and learn how to stop procrastinating: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

            13. Focusing on the Negatives

            In every situation, there are two ways you can react: zoom down to the problem areas and crib about how things aren’t the way you want, or celebrate the areas that are going well and work on making everything better.

            Many of us see the importance of doing the latter but in practice, we do the former. Why though? Criticizing and focusing on the negatives is easy but it doesn’t empower nor inspire us to be better.

            Make a change — for every negative encounter you run into, I challenge you to identify three things that are good about it. Practice doing this for one week, and by the end of the week you’ll find that your first instinct is to think positive, not negative.

            And here’re even more ways to help you stay positive: 11 Tips for Maintaining your Positive Attitude

            The Bottom Line

            So here you find the 13 most common bad habits and their consequences on your mind and body. The good news’ you can quit them all.

            Just spot out your own bad habits and take my suggestions to quit them. Then you’ll find your life a lot healthier and happier!

            Need more tips to break your bad habits? Check out these articles:

            Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

            Reference

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