Photo Credit: Patrick Cline
Determine Your Own Sense of Style.
Patrick ClineBefore starting a design project, make sure you are both clear on what you like and what you don't. Most people have a strong sense of what they like and dislike, but have a hard time putting their own style into words or a witty catch phrase. (What does global chic mean anyway?) I advise people to start paying attention to what they are drawn to. Your own wardrobe can be a great first indicator of your style tastes. Do you tend to buy classic, timeless pieces? Or are you more drawn to design trends? Are you a color lover? Or is black and white your go-to choice? Pattern? Texture? What are your preferences? While the closet doesn't tell the whole story, it can be a good starting point for determining your own style.
Embrace Your Differences.
Patrick ClineOnce you have a sense of your different styles, embrace those differences. The best interior spaces are all about combining many looks and styles into one cool, funky space. The most successful design seamlessly features a great mix of styles, furniture, art and accessories. Be open to finding the best aspects of your varying styles to create a cohesive look that reflects who uniquely are as a couple. Don't be afraid to take risks and try things in unconventional combinations. That is, in fact, where the magic happens.
Decide on Your Deal Breakers.
Patrick ClineIt is crucial early on to determine what must you have and on what are you willing to compromise. Is that clock you inherited from your grandmother a must have? Are you irrationally drawn to a quirky piece of art? Fight for the things that matter to you, but also learn to let go on the rest. It is about give and take, so choose your battles wisely.
Focus on Function.
James RansomDiscuss your functional needs: What do you want to do as a couple in each space? I happen to be a firm believer in this. For example, the bedroom is only meant for two things: sleeping and, well, you know. Some people want a bedroom where they can read. Some people want to watch TV. Some people want to have a space for meditation or spiritual practice. As a couple, talk through your expectations of what will occur in each space. Let the function guide your design process. A space that works well for you both is always the best result.
Incorporate Your Story into Your Space.
Patrick ClineWho are you as a couple? What do you love? Where have you been? Don't be afraid to include the weird and bizarre things your have purchased on your journey together. They will make your space personalized and a reflection of you together.
Use Social Media.
Patrick ClineWhen in doubt, check out what other people are doing. I highly recommend creating a Pinterest board with your honey and pinning images that speak to you. It will not only help in determining your own design voice, but it can also help you see where you come together as a couple. It will also give you a good idea of what works and what doesn't. See other peoples mistakes and avoid costly ones of your own.
When in Doubt, Arm Wrestle.
Patrick ClineSometimes coming to a standstill on a design decision requires drastic action. A good game of "Words with Friends" could be the tie breaker needed to move things forward.
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James RansomThis is not brain surgery. This is design. Design should be fun. Wall colors can be changed, window treatments returned. See where your joint creativity can take you. Make this your collective art project. Collaboration most often yields way better results anyway. Embrace it!