Style and design are influenced by your perspective and there’s no right or wrong way to decorate your space. It can definitely be a challenge, but fusing your home decor with your partner’s is also a great way to paint both of your stories into one. So, the Clayton team is here to help you create a beautiful home you both love!
Clear communication and setting expectations are essentials for couples, and decorating a home together is no exception. Set aside some time to talk about of your favorite home interior styles, any styles or decor items that you don’t like, your ideas about decorating and what you consider to be priorities.
Having a discussion can give you great insight, and it allows you to set a style, intention or theme for your home. This will help you celebrate common ground and your individuality, while also blending your styles, so one person doesn’t feel like they are living in the other’s home. For example, I love paneling but my husband doesn’t. In our home, it’s painted, which created a solution we both liked. Styling your home is about finding a middle ground that feels fitting to you both. This guide will also allow you to both choose pieces in the future with each other in mind.
Once you have some style guidelines laid out, you can make a list of what you need. Take stock of the furniture and decor items you currently have and are keeping, and add any gaps to your list. Maybe you need a bigger bed or new sheets and comforters. Maybe with both of your books combined, a new shelf would help keep them organized. Consider how your home is laid out and use your furniture and styling to go along with it. Do you have enough towels? Is the end table in need of an updated lamp? Figure out what you need to function before you begin to think about style.
As another real-life example, my husband and I live in an older home, so we’ve had to interpret our space that was built for a 1940’s lifestyle and translate it into today. We don’t have a dining room, so we use a small foldable table pushed up against the wall to create a dining area without taking up a ton of space.
Once you know what your space needs, it’s time to go through what you already have. Start by getting rid of anything that’s broken or damaged beyond repair. Then, you’ll have to choose between items you both have. If there are items one person loves and the other doesn’t, you may have to find a way to keep it somewhere tucked away or revamp it to go along with both styles. It really depends how much time and effort you want to spend and how meticulous you want to be with the process.
For collectors, if your space is limited, talk about the possibility of storing a comic book or vintage toy collection somewhere safe and out of the way. Or designate a room in your new home where those pieces can be showcased. Keep in mind too that it’s a good practice to go through and purge items at least every year. That way you can see what you actually use or like after living with it for a time.
After you know what items you need, you can discuss how much you are able to spend on them and your timeline for purchasing them. Being on the same page financially is important for a couple, so before you start searching for furniture and decor, set a price range. Having realistic expectations about your budget will not only help you filter your searches but save you from some disappointment or conflicts as a couple.
When we got our house, we mostly filled it with what we already had or were given. We were so grateful to have these gifts and to be able to focus our money elsewhere. It wasn’t until about four years in that we budgeted for new furniture in our home in the style we chose. Often this is the reality. It takes time and it’s an investment to set up a home with your style and furniture.
While setting up a budget, don’t count out yard sales, thrift stores and online swaps, and keep an eye out for sales. You may be able to snag some pieces on your wish list for much less if you’re willing to wait, and then you’ll have more room in your budget for other things.
Now, here comes the fun part! Find inspiration together, save your favorites and share ideas. Read style and decor blogs, make a Pinterest board, cut out finds from magazines, bookmark online results and take photos when you are out and about in stores. Together you can take all the inspiration you’ve collected to plan out rooms and see what pieces fit the style you both decided on.
During the inspiration stage, settle on a color palette you both like. This will make it easier to narrow down items that fit with that palette and keep true to your vision. Use the color palette for your choices in paint, fabrics, patterns, wood stains and accents.
Neutrals are always a safe place to start if you don’t know what to choose or if you both need to reach a compromise. And if you both love lots of color options, you may want to look at styles like maximalism or eclectic. There is no reason to shy away from color, but just like in a relationship, it’s all about balance.
Now that you are finally ready to start decorating together, try deciding on a focal point piece first. Picking out the focal point of the room can help you build the rest of the space around it. Do you have an art print you both love? Hang it above the fireplace mantel in your living room, and you can match other items to some of the colors and textures in the painting or photo. Add some drama to your dining room with a new chandelier or pendant lights over the table. Or you can use a large headboard as the focal point in your bedroom.
Choosing your focal point together can ensure that you both enjoy the space and make it feel more like an “ours” home instead of “yours and mine.”
Keep these tips in mind and enjoy collecting pieces as a team! Congratulations on starting a home together, and if you need more ideas as you move in, you can check out the Home Features section of our Studio blog to see some of our favorite decorations and designs in our Clayton homes.
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