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Blending a Couple’s Decorating Styles

When it comes to combining households, you probably have decor items that you each value, and chances are some don’t go together.

But don’t panic, you can incorporate each other’s cherished items and maintain a cohesive design. It just takes time, patience and compromise.

First, conduct an audit. List which items are non-negotiable and which pieces are important but not essential. This way, you both know what you’re working with.

Be willing to give an honest assessment of each piece, what purpose it serves and why you need it. Be prepared to negotiate. For instance, if there is one dining area and both of you have a dining table.

If you have non-negotiables, it’s important to identify these upfront. You may not understand the connection or purpose, like your partner’s button collection or beat-up baseball glove, but showing respect for an item is a must. You will expect the same understanding.

Before agreeing to what you want, it’s crucial to recognize just how much space you’re working with. Size and space limitations will dictate just how much you can keep. No need to duplicate items if there is no space.

Once you agree on items, experts suggest using the 80/20 rule. For instance, if one person has a modern collection of furniture, use this for 80% of the room and accent with the other person’s French country lamp and accent chair (20%). For each room, decide which will be the majority style.

Once you’ve decided on items, embrace them. Mixing styles can create a timeless, collected look that usually ends up radiating comfort and warmth.

To add to your combined style, consider buying a few pieces together that speak to your new fusion. Purchase a sofa or dining set and use your existing pieces to accent the space.

If you end up with one “oddball” or obvious stand-out item, don’t try to hide it. Use it as a focal point and work around it rather than stuffing it in a corner. It may end up being the conversation piece in the room that adds warmth and eclectic style, like the recliner in Frasier Crane’s living room on “Frasier.”

And although it may sound like a practical strategy to let each person completely call the shots in different rooms, this may lead to a disjointed feel in the house. It’s much better to bite the bullet and compromise.

Find a way to combine your priorities, and that will translate to a beautiful result with everyone feeling comfortable and appreciated.

Finally, when in doubt ask a professional. If you just can’t reach a consensus, it may be time to bring in reinforcements. A professional designer can facilitate a discussion and provide an objective expert opinion. A consultation may be all you need to get new ideas and placements that will, in the end, reflect everyone’s style and create harmony.

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