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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.