FIX UP YOUR FIRST HOME
Make decisions together
Removing the words yours and mine from your vocabulary can be challenging, but when it comes to your home, always remember you’ll share the space together. That means you’ll face the task of merging design styles, preferences and ideas but you won’t always see eye-to-eye. Even if one of you is less than design savvy, you’ll each be happier with your home if you work together as a team. Combine personal styles when possible and create individual zones when not. For example, dedicate a man cave for sports memorabilia or a craft room for feminine colors — that way, you’ll each have a space truly dedicated to the things you love without stepping on each other’s toes.
Second hand isn’t second best
So now you’ve got some room to spread out, but stretching your small collection of decor only goes so far. Chances are, the process of buying a home has left you short on cash, which means it’s the perfect time for a garage sale shopping spree! Just because something is second-hand, doesn’t mean its second best. In fact, you’ll likely find one-of-a-kind pieces from Craigslist, Ebay, thrift stores and yard sales that fit within your budget and can easily be refinished to fit your personal tastes.
As the budget allows, begin the process of upgrading your furniture to the pieces you’ve been eyeing. Because furniture is a large investment, look for timeless pieces that you both will enjoy for a very long time. The Besta media center from Ikea is a great example! Priced at around $580, this versatile piece will add style to your space that can easily be updated over time by changing out accessories.
Make some memories
No matter where life takes you, you’ll always remember your very first home — so be sure to enjoy the journey! Make bold design decisions that make you happy and don’t be afraid to experiment with pattern, texture and color. You can even chronicle your decorating adventures through a blog, like John and Sherry Petersik from Young House Love. What began as a kitchen renovation in their first home soon became an extensive archive of decorating adventures they’ll never forget!
Make it yours
The best tip for decorating your first place as a couple is to make the space your own. Take time to think about what makes you and your partner unique and incorporate decor that represents who you are. For example, take pictures of your favorite people, places and things to create a portrait gallery wall, or try a DIY art project that incorporates the date you first met. You can also use iron-on decals to create monogrammed pillows with your names or initials, or paint a room in your favorite color. Adding personalized touches throughout your home will remind you of the journey you’ve taken, and encourage you for the one that’s yet to come!
Talk it out
First, each of you should understand what it is about your design style that you really love. Is it the curvy lines, or the deep color-tones from the traditional style that suits your fancy? Or perhaps, the exposed brick and concrete floors of urban-style design make you giddy. Whatever it is, talk it out with one another. Take some time to browse through magazines and discuss why you like the images you point out. Understanding your own design preferences, as well as your partners, will give you clear direction when it comes time to plan your space.
Plan before you buy
Just because you’ve learned exactly what your preferences are, doesn’t mean it’s time to run to the nearest retailer. Before you invest your dollars into your space, make a design plan. Since most retailers have the option for online browsing, visit the websites of your favorite stores for some virtual window shopping. Clip images of items you love and group them together to create a collage. This will help you visualize what the space will look like; plus, you’ll find it’s much easier to exchange items in-and-out to create a look that speaks to both your tastes.
- Homedecorators.com, Argonne Rug, 5’x8′, $199.00
- Ikea, Karlstad Corner Sofa, Sivik Beige, $899.00
- World Market, Jolie Candlestick Floor Lamp, $99.99
- Crate & Barrel, Dauphine Table, $199.00
- Z Gallerie, Mitoni Panels, White, $69.95
- Crate & Barrel, Bronze Terrarium, $59.95
- Ikea, YRSNO Dish, $7.99
- Lands End, Lattice Pillow Cover ($44.50), Decorative Leaf Pillow Cover ($14.99)
- CB2.com, Element Coffee Table, $399.00
Choose your battles
When merging styles, you’ll each need to compromise. Choose your battles wisely. It might mean you give up ground when it comes to that gorgeous rug so you can have the upholstered sofa. Or maybe, you’ll accept that safe wall color because you know you can spice things up with accessories.
To avoid heartbreak, try not to be set on one particular item; instead, visualize each piece in the grand scheme of things. You’ll need to find solutions you both can agree on when it comes to larger furniture pieces, but don’t sweat it when it comes to accessory items. Pillows, throws, rugs, and artwork can easily be changed out down the road if needed.
Ask for help
If you find the challenges to be too much, don’t be afraid to ask for help from the professionals. Many furniture retailers offer complimentary design services with purchase, so ask your retailer what services are available to you.
When bringing in help, be honest with your designer when it comes to your preferences. They’ll need to get a clear picture of what you both love. Discuss any questions or concerns you may have throughout the process so your designer can create solutions before the big reveal.
Create a style of your own
The best tip for merging design styles is to have fun with it! Instead of dreading the challenges that may arise, embrace the idea of creating your own style. Add personal touches throughout the space that speak to your individual personalities and interests. Choose finishes, colors, and accessories that are interesting and exciting. Think outside the box, and celebrate your unique eclectic style. No one else will have a room like yours, so what’s not to love?