So you’re about to move in with your partner (or even a housemate), or you two have lived together for years, and you’re wondering how to combine your two, very different interior styles.
One of you might be a fan of modern, minimalist living, and want only a few key furniture pieces, while the other might be a big fan of vintage, viewing their lounge as an ode to the finest of it. Whatever your situation, you’re wanting to marry the two tastes so they blend together into one cohesive style.
You’ll be pleased to know that it is possible, but it does require following some advice. And who better to ask for it than Neale Whitaker, interior design expert and brand ambassador for furniture and homewares brand King. Ahead, Whitaker shares his five top tips for mixing décor with another person.
Take Stock of Your Possessions
The first step when combining furniture and homewares is to take stock of your combined possessions and identify any double-ups, as well as what you might need to buy together. “Be prepared to part company with things that no longer bring pleasure — Marie Kondo has a point — or are obviously past their use-by date,” Whitaker says.
“If you’re lucky — (as my partner and I were) — then your personal styles will gel, but if that’s not realistic, decide on the best compromise. Be open-minded about what pieces can work together. And think about identifying an additional style — perhaps something very neutral — that you both like and will allow you to choose new pieces to work in with your existing styles.”
Decide How You’ll Use Each Space
Next, you’ll want to assess the potential for each space in your property, says Whitaker. This is particularly important given how much we’re all now spending at home.
“In an ideal world, you’ll do this before you sign a lease or have your property offer accepted,” he says. “Decide what are the non-negotiables — for us that was always outdoor space and plenty of daylight — and then what you’re prepared to compromise on. Identify spaces that can be used for work, relaxation, storage and potential guest accommodation.”
In short, Whitaker says you should be thinking about how both need to live — individually and as a couple.
Buy New Pieces Together
Oftentimes it’s smarter — and better for the relationship — to identify new things that will bring your different styles together, Whitaker says.
“Accept that neither of you is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ when it comes to style and that the most interesting homes are almost invariably the ones that have a mixture of styles,” he says. “Creating a home is often about storytelling. But think about investment items — what I often call ‘big-ticket items’ — like sofas, chairs, beds, rugs and dining suites that can be chosen together for quality, durability, longevity, comfort and yes, neutrality.
“Because these are the pieces that transcend trends and can build a bridge between opposing décor styles.”
Don’t Rush the Process
And finally, it pays not to rush things, says Whitaker. “Sometimes it’s better to live with stuff for a while — and that’s for an impatient person like to me to admit — as I guarantee your ideas change once you start living in the property,” he says.
“Sometimes with a living space — as with a relationship — you need flexibility and adaptability.”