To continue where I left off in my last post

So I have these three principles that seem to work when it comes to combining two peoples’ styles of decor that differ either a little or a lot.

  1. Find where your styles overlap
  2. Learn how to use more than one style in a room gracefully
  3. Compromise: it may not be what either of you had as your first choice, but if it makes both of you at least moderately happy, it’s a win.

Let’s take it step by step.

1. Find where your styles overlap.

Depending on your styles, this can happen in different ways.  For us, the Chief tends to go for dark, heavy, carved wood things that are ornate and embellished.   To me this looks gloppy and I prefer lighter colored pieces with gentler, simpler lines.   But I’ve discovered that when it’s boiled down, we both like well-crafted pieces with traditional outlines.  He might like Gothic and I might like Pottery Barn, but we both like Traditional.  There’s some overlap.

Maybe you like ethnic world travel decor and he likes smooth and streamlined midcentury modern.  You might find overlap in certain types of textile prints, or in one or two colors you both gravitate toward.  This gives you a safe place to start.

See if you can get past the head butting and find that common ground.  You both want a space that is relaxing and feels like home, so find out where your styles have overlap.

2.  Learn how to use more than one style in a room gracefully.

True confessions: the most explicit instructions I’ve heard for this is from Emily Henderson’s  TV show Secrets of a Stylist on HGTV.   Most designer mix styles, but they don’t usually give you anything concrete for how to reproduce the same results.  Emily’s stock in trade is that she takes two styles, often quite different, and meshes them successfully. 

There is a lot to what she does, but I have picked up one specific trick and I now shall pass my hard-won knowledge on to you!   Mix styles by keeping the furnishings in one basic style and the accessories and/or perimeter (walls, ceiling, floor)  in another.  Emily might throw in one or two snips of the other style, but no more – this way the furnishings don’t end up looking like an unconsidered mishmash.  With the perimeter done in a contrasting style, somehow everything ends up looking original and creative, yet designed with intentionality!  Each person has enough of “their” style to feel at home, too.    Here is an example from her website.  I see a graphic modern perimeter and accessories, and 60’s/70’s furniture:

And last but not least…

3.  Compromise: it may not be what either of you had as your first choice, but if it makes both of you at least moderately happy, it’s a win.

Ok, kind of a no brainer but it must be kept in mind at all times, if you are serious about both of you being happy in your space and not resorting to manipulation!    I feel the same way with baby names, actually.  What you name your kids might not be your first choice or your husband’s first choice, but if you can find something you’re both pretty happy about, you can agree on it and move forward.  Pioneer Woman blogged about this recently… her favorite boy’s name is Ashley (!) and her husband was intent on naming their firstborn son Bull. 

So the point is, work it out and make a home you both enjoy!

I hope this helps you get some ideas for how to handle clashing styles.  Do you have any brilliant tips you’ve discovered yourself?  I’d love to hear!

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