Design notes

Your Stuff. His Stuff. A Match Made in Heaven?

Summer is wedding season. So, in honor of my sister, Elizabeth, who is celebrating her 1st Anniversary this month. I thought I’d share a few suggestions on how to have a long and happy life together.

Rule one. You know that whole thing about compatibility being essential to true marital bliss? Well, sometimes it goes beyond personalities. Only sometimes you don’t know it until you’re moving in together.

That’s when the moose-head wall trophy and Barcalounger recliner he’s had since his frat-house days in college enjoy their first embarrassing sleep-over with your Queen Anne wingback and antique highboy.

Trouble in paradise?

Heck no! Not as long as you work together to find a design approach that turns “yours” and “mine” into “ours.”

In some relationships, the guy’s perfectly happy to let his girl have full reign over the home’s design. In other relationships, the reverse is true. In my experience, the interest usually falls somewhere in between, with husband and wife both wanting at least some say in the matter.

Grounds for separation? Of course not! In fact, arriving at a common vision for one’s interior style can often be a romantic, even sexy way to get closer to one another! You’ve just got to look for the best ways to compromise!

So where do we start?

Hmmm. How about the intersection of passion and togetherness?

If your guy has strong ideas about colors and accessories, and you do too, the easiest way to achieve the look that excites you both, is to sit down together and develop a style that celebrates your joint personality.

Traveling through Life Together

Shared experiences can be a terrific starting point in decoration and design. Take your favorite destinations and best-loved travel moments and use them as themes in your work.

Got a thing for Paris? Rome? New York? Look for antique travel posters, period maps, and vintage sporting advertisements that you can use as a starting point in your home’s design.

Pull out the muted blues, grays, and neutrals that come naturally with years of aging, and incorporate them into your palate.

If you want to push the design theme to even more dramatic heights (and get a little extra storage in the bargain), recruit an old steamer trunk for a coffee table, then accent your shelves with vintage globes and period collectibles—even black and white photographs.

Together, the objects of your shared love of travel (and dreams for the future) will not only make for a lovely living space, they’ll offer a wonderful point of conversation when you entertain family and friends.

Dance to Your Own Tune

Fall in love on the dance floor? Perfect! Try a muy caliente color palate based on the rich, deep, passionate hues of a Spanish dancer’s costume to inspire your interior design scheme. Be bold! Be daring! Be you! But don’t forget to share your vision with your significant other. Because, as the man says, it takes two to tango!

Bring the Great Outdoors Indoors

If the great outdoors are your combined passion, draw your inspiration there! Here in Colorado we are blessed to have blue skies, red rocks and purple mountains majesty! Use these rich earth- and sky tones for wall colors and fabrics. Consider green and blue accents to your furniture. Or bring leather (a classic, long-lasting material that looks better year after year) into the mix. Those moss covered rocks you brought back as souvenirs of your recent mountain biking trip? Display them on your cocktail table or bookcase, then add additional color with a vase of wildflowers.

The Perfect Fit

Love athletics? Flaunt it! Use your recreation room as a showcase for your memorabilia. Make an ongoing wallpaper border out of your ticket stubs! Frame a your games program! Set up your wet bar area like the concessions stand at your favorite ballpark and decorate it with team pennants and photos of your favorite players! If you let the uniforms from your favorite ball team guide you in your choices of color and fabric, it’ll rally the room’s spirits like a high-flying pep talk!

Share a Place at the Table

A lot of today’s couples are foodies. So why not whip up a little inspiration for the kitchen and dining room? Use a neutral color palette on your walls and let your dishes, serving pieces, and glassware be the star attractions. Open bookcases? Cabinets? Baker’s racks? Use them to display your serving pieces! No need to stack away all of these marvelous items behind cabinet doors.

Searching for an eye-catching entrance piece? Create a large chalkboard Menu and Shopping List that can be both functional and fun. Display oils, seasonings and baking supplies in different collected glass containers and dishes on your countertops, pantry and shelves. And for goodness sake if you have a set of china from your wedding, find the occasion to use it! It’ll make your loved one feel special and appreciated!

No matter what your coupled-design preference is, whether it is spot-on-similar or drastically different, if you focus on finding your “together style” by allowing your interior passions and shared experiences guide you, you can’t go wrong.