Moving In: When You and Your Partner’s Tastes Don’t Match, Start Here
If you were asked to list all the reasons why your partner is perfect for you, the result would probably be a fairly lengthy tabulation. That doesn’t mean your style preferences are going to align perfectly, though. Even your ideal partner might not have the same ideal living situation as you. But you both deserve to live in a space you love. So what do you do? Whether you’re moving in together for the first time or are finally ready to make some design compromises, we have some tips and tricks.
We polled our Freshome team to identify some different tactics you can both use. Our goal is to make it easier to design a space you both like even when your tastes don’t match. Here are our top four recommendations.
Opting for furniture with clean lines in neutral colors means you’ll choose timeless pieces – and pieces your partner is more likely to like. Image: Maginnis/Twenty20
Choose clean lines.
Look for pieces that come in natural materials, which are generally crowd pleasers, with clean lines. Clean lines don’t have to mean choosing something boring. They just mean you’re picking a piece that can integrate with a variety of different tastes. You’ll be doing yourself a favor, actually. These types of pieces have serious staying power. The Yukon Natural Coffee Table from Crate & Barrel is a prime example.
No matter how you and your partner’s tastes change through the years, furniture with clean lines will always be easy to integrate. Think similarly for your dining table, bookshelves and other furniture. You’ll be more likely to choose pieces both you and your partner will like, not just today but for years to come.
Another way to keep your space looking clean and appealing to people of varying tastes is to opt for mirrors as your artwork. When you and your partner have different tastes, choosing art can be a powderkeg. Mirrors are a great way to add visual interest to your space without having to feud over design. Plus, they’ll brighten up any room, making it feel larger.
A leather couch – like the Hamilton Leather Sofa – can serve as a neutral foundation, anchoring the room and balancing even the most eclectic tastes. Image: West Elm
What a surprise. When you’re trying to choose pieces that will please people of different tastes, neutrals are best. Now, before you assume we’re telling you to whitewash your space and create something so conventional everyone’s grandma will love it, wait. Yes, neutrals are a great solution when trying to blend different tastes. But they don’t have to be boring. You can choose a neutral duvet, then layer on pillows and throws you like. It’s a whole lot easier to find smaller accent pieces both you and your partner will like. By going neutral for the larger, investment pieces, you set yourselves up with a foundation on which you can build.
If you’re moving in and looking for your first couch, remember that leather is a neutral. And, thanks to the sumptuous texture of this material, it can still be high-impact. A streamlined leather couch like the Hamilton Leather Sofa from West Elm can anchor your living space with a piece both of you like.
When it comes to your textiles, go neutral, too. Upon moving in, you might discover that color is divisive for you and your partner. You still want to give your space some visual interest, though, so look for texture. This Foil Diamonds Rug, also from West Elm, comes in a crowd-pleasing color but the varying depth of pile keeps it from looking too boring or conventional. The Fieldcrest Basketweave Linen Shower Curtain at Target relies on the texture of the weave, not the color, for its visual interest.
Lay your foundation with the classics – like hardwood floors and neutral walls – then add accent pieces to suit you and your partner’s tastes. Image: Oscar Wong/Getty Images
Follow the popular vote.
Whether you’re moving in together or have lived together for decades and are thinking about a reno, choosing fixtures and finishes can be a nightmare if your tastes don’t match. Fortunately, you have what’s popular to guide you. Choosing what most people love it not just a great way to end the debate and settle on something (finally!). It also boosts the mass appeal of your home. Not only does that mean more of your friends are likely to like it, but it also means greater resale value when you list your home.
Go to the stalwarts of good design like hardwood floors and stainless steel appliances. When you and your partner can’t agree on the bulk of your home design, popular taste can guide you. Again, as with neutrals, you can follow this guide for the foundational aspects of your home. Then, add accents that are easy to change out (and easier to agree on) to add your own personal flair.
Moody paint and airy light fixtures can live together in harmony if you give them space to play together. Image: Caiaimage/Robert Daly/Getty Images
Compromise. If one of you chooses the coffee table, let the other choose the coffee table decor. And don’t do it begrudgingly, either. You might be surprised what you come to love as pieces gain sentimental value over time.
Speaking of those sentimental pieces, be open to creating room for them in your home. If both of you are the type to treasure items, pick out a few that you really love and want to feature prominently in your home. Put them all in one place and look at them as a grouping.
What do they have in common? Where can they best be used? Creating a cozy reading nook with grandma’s old chair could serve both of you. Making a display area on a bookshelf where you can put together an eclectic collection of things that speak to you – both together and separately – can create a conversation starter in your living area. Before you assume you hate everything your partner would pick for your house, be open. Finding that middle ground can create harmony in your home – and in your home design.
What are your tips and tricks for finding that sweet spot where both partners are happy with the way the house or apartment looks? Did you make any discoveries upon moving in together that you wish you’d known before? Share with us in the comments!