The most harmonious home is one where both partners feel equally represented, but sometimes achieving that balance can be a challenge. Ideally, you and your partner should both feel as though the interior design of your new home together is welcoming and pleasing to the eye. Whether you’re getting married or entering a domestic partnership with someone, it’s important to consider how to reach a comfortable equilibrium of design.

Thankfully, there are great ways you can work together to create a beautiful, comfortable home design that will work for both of you.

Start by Creating an Organized Playbook

A great way to head off any home-design disagreements is to be organized about the decision-making process.

  1. Start by creating a simple spreadsheet, making headings for the name of each room in your home. Make this spreadsheet the old-fashioned way, in a small notebook or on spreadsheet paper, so it’s easier to access quickly and edit.
  2. Create a subheading for each room: Color scheme/Design influence.
  3. Make two columns under each heading (for each room): have and need. The ‘have’ column is the place where you will eventually inventory the items that you each “are bringing to the table.”
  4. Now that your spreadsheet is all ready, draw up some ground rules for the design process. Both you and your partner should feel free to voice your opinions and concerns, including those feelings about color choices, which items to keep, and which items to purchase or replace.

Start with the color scheme

The easiest way to begin the design process is to set the tone with the color scheme. If you’re unsure of what you like quite yet, you can browse through design magazines, Pinterest, and elsewhere to find color inspiration. You can also grab some of those paint cards that you’ll find at any home improvement store.

Each room in your new home should have a dominant color scheme, with anywhere from one to three colors as the main focus for each room. Take a look at your spreadsheet, paint cards, and inspiration photos to start picking colors.

It’s likely that you might not agree on every color scheme for every room. An easy way to avoid head-to-head conflict is for each of you to select your top five color scheme choices for each room, then compare your preferences to come to an agreement.

For example, your top five color scheme choices for your master bedroom might look like this:

  • pink and white
  • red (monochromatic)
  • pink, cream, and green
  • white and purple
  • white (monochromatic)

Meanwhile, your partner’s color scheme choices might look like this:

  • dark blue (monochromatic)
  • grey
  • white and blue
  • green and blue
  • brown, white, and grey

At first glance, these two lists might look very different, but upon closer investigation, you see that there is some overlap: you like white + purple, and your partner likes white + blue. This is a perfect area for compromise – perhaps you can both agree to a color scheme of white, blue + purple, or white + purple-blue.

Remember that marrying your design styles together is often about discovering a sweet “happy medium.”

Consider Your Design Influences

Your current respective homes might be decorated with very specific design influences: Victorian, mid-century, contemporary, nautical… the list goes on. (It’s also possible that you might just be trying to find your comfortable design influences at this point in your life!)

As you take a look at your spreadsheet of rooms, considering what you would like each room to look like, know that it’s not necessary to fit your design scheme into a neat “design category.” Yet it can be helpful to agree on design influences that you both like. If one of you is passionately against a certain design style, then it’s probably wise not to use that in your home – or certainly not in the majority of rooms and shared spaces.

If you’re having a difficult time agreeing on design influences for each room in your home, then you might want to step back and take a look together at some pictures in a design magazine or online. Find pictures that you both like and discuss what pieces you like and how you might incorporate them into your own unified design scheme.

Decide What You’ll Keep

This category might be a little emotional for some couples, as certain items might carry sentimental value from childhood or single life. An old bean bag chair might look ratty to one partner, but for the other, it might evoke a very special time in their life.

If a partner feels emotional about getting rid of an item with sentimental value, don’t force the issue. Instead, figure out how you can blend the item into the color or design scheme of a certain room. Maybe the ratty old bean bag chair won’t go in the living room, but it could work in a game room, den, or even in the corner of your partner’s home office. It’s perfectly alright to have some zones that are a little less “magazine worthy” than others if it gives your partner a sense of emotional safety in your home.

Decide What You Need

Now that you know your color scheme, design influence, and the items that you’re keeping, you’ve come to the fun part: the items that you need to purchase.

Take a look at the “need” column of your spreadsheet, and start with the major furnishings that will make each room come together – the tables, chairs, sofas, shelving units, dressers, and so forth. Also consider the smaller essential items, such as the lamps, end tables, throw rugs, throw pillows, and more. Remember that you have your color scheme pre-determined for each room, so when you go shopping with your partner, it should be easier for you to mutually agree upon your new items.

Visiting a store like Ashley Homestore that carries all kinds of home items, from furniture to lighting, home décor and more, will help you keep each room’s aesthetic cohesive. You can even get started with your design at home and take out some of the guesswork by using the 3D Room Design tool online.

Take Time to Enjoy the Process

Remember that designing your new home together should be a fun process. This is a time when you get to be creative and make things look great. Document your painting efforts, moving, and shopping with photos, so you can look back on this time in your life and reflect on where it all began.

Ashley Homestore in Tucson is here to make your home decorating experience a lot more fun and a lot more affordable. Come visit us and make your new space together feel like home.

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No matter which Ashley HomeStore location you visit, you'll find stylish, quality furniture that's just right for any room in the house. But we're much more than just a furniture store - we're a member of the community! Ashley HomeStore store owners and their team members live and work in the same areas in which their stores are located, so they understand the importance of community involvement. Many participate in philanthropic activities and events and - at the national level - Ashley takes its philanthropic responsibility seriously by providing support for major charities throughout the country. Visit your nearest Ashley HomeStore showroom today.

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