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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 November 19, 2019

          20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

          20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

          Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

          If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

          1. Create a Daily Plan

          Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

          2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

          Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

          3. Use a Calendar

          Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

          I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

          Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

          4. Use an Organizer

          An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

          These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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          5. Know Your Deadlines

          When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

          But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

          6. Learn to Say “No”

          Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

          Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

          7. Target to Be Early

          When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

          For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

          Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

          8. Time Box Your Activities

          This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

          You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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          9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

          Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

          10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

          Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

          You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

          11. Focus

          Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

          Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

          Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

          12. Block out Distractions

          What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

          I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

          When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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          Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

          13. Track Your Time Spent

          When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

          You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

          14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

          You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

          Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

          15. Prioritize

          Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

          Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

          16. Delegate

          If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

          When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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          17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

          For related work, batch them together.

          For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

          1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
          2. coaching
          3. workshop development
          4. business development
          5. administrative

          I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

          18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

          What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

          One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

          While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

          19. Cut off When You Need To

          The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

          Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

          20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

          Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

          More Time Management Techniques

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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