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8 Tips For Decorating With Your Partner

8 Tips For Decorating With Your Partner

How to survive the tricky transition

Linda Holmes
By Linda Holmes, Interiors Director

Forget money problems, the test of any good relationship is the civility with which a couple endure the trials of setting up house. You both have habits, possessions and styles which somehow need to reconcile. Not the easiest feat. Here are eight tips to bear in mind for when “me” becomes “we”.

Tip #1 – Establish the non-negotiables

Whether it’s that gentlemanly wingback or an amazing chandelier (like the one in this Greg Natale living room above), there are just some design choices you’ll need to swallow throughout the process. Find a way to incorporate these non-negotiables into your interior plans as they are or amend to suit your space better. The peaceful transition will be worth more than your pride.

Tip #2 – Divide and conquer your storage spaces

One way to keep things fair is to highlight your storage areas and allocate what each person gets – that way her shoes aren’t intruding on your wardrobe space and his boys toys aren’t entangled in your stack of design tomes. Planning designated storage spaces well in advance just makes sense.

8 Interior Design Tips For Decorating With Your Partner | Style Guide
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Tip #3 – Double up on frequently-used features

Sinks, dressing rooms and even lounge areas are best in twos because they encourage independent functioning and prevent you from getting in each other’s way. A really innovative double act is the Scandinavian tradition of two duvets. Cover with a sheet to maintain a polished look but without the nighttime tug-of-war. Multiple private areas also allow couples to have quality “me” time which is equally as important as time spent together.

Tip #4 – Plan a mutual colour scheme

It almost goes without saying that both parties should appreciate an interior’s colour scheme – let’s be honest here, not many men would relish the thought of a pink bedroom. Luckily, even the most controversial of colours has a tone which is pleasing to both parties. Muted tones are great for wall or floor coverings and accessories can be used to incorporate stronger hues. If all else fails, a calming blue palette is a winner for most people – case in point, this Intarya bedroom, above.

Tip #5 – Consider how your partner uses his or her space

There’s nothing worse than wanting to lounge across your sofa without a care in the world when it’s covered in throw cushions and dangerously close to a precious side table ornament. Or how about cooking in a kitchen where everything’s tidied away and out of sight (how on earth is anyone supposed to find anything?) Take note of how you and your partner enjoy your surroundings and design accordingly.[>

8 Interior Design Tips For Decorating With Your Partner | Style Guide
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Tip #6 – Prioritise fixed accents instead of ornaments

In any relationship there’s bound to be one hoarder and one minimalist. Don’t risk separation over a trinket box. Keep accents out of the way by utilising your wall space. Textured art canvases or wall sculptures are a great way to mimic the decorative look without being too fussy and a wall-hung family photo gallery works just as well.

Tip #7 – Don’t underestimate task lighting

Task lighting – which includes everything from built in bedside reading lights to under cabinet lighting in the kitchen – is a great way to limit the disruption of different interests or schedules. A lit vanity is a great way to get ready while your partner gets some beauty sleep and adjustable wall-mounted lamps (like in the Helen Green Design bedroom above) prevent bedtime reading from being a catalyst for World War 3.

Tip #8 – Upholster feminine silhouettes in smart fabrics

The dilemma’s familiar. You’ve found an amazing bergère which will be the perfect accompaniment to your cabriole-legged coffee table; the problem is, all your partner sees are floral carvings and feminine lines (and not in a good way). Use this opportunity to use a solid neutral fabric or even a handsome leather as a compromise.