Decorating for two in style

Amanda Ngudle

Amanda Ngudle

Moving in together can be daunting, exciting and mostly very stressful. This is true if you are moving in with the king of bachelors, whose highlight of the week means spending his weekend afternoons watching soccer when you would rather be at Decorex.

Imagine having your antique vase compete for space with his soccer memorabilia.

But just as no man is an island and we can all live together in perfect harmony, a few strategies can be used to fuse both partners' tastes.

l You both need to take stock of the stuff you own. Get rid of what you have too many of and keep what is functional. Allow that each of you will probably have something of sentimental value. These items will add an eclectic feel to your home, says décor student Marlise Van Vuuren.

l Consider that each of you will have different interests. While he may love his soccer afternoons, your ideal afternoon may be somewhere in Newtown. Mixing two or more different interests into a décor can be challenging, but consider what a spice it might add to your relationship. "The better option is to designate specific areas for the display of memorabilia or collections. Whether it is a specific room or a wall, keeping everything together will provide a better display and not look cluttered," says Van Vuuren.

l "Having said that, it is important to remember that some things are not decorating items and, although they have a sense of meaning, they should be kept in storage or put away for personal viewing. A few items that top this list are garters from weddings, beer labels pulled from bottles, flags, and stuffed animals."

l Having an area in the home that is comfortable for each of you as individuals is a consideration that is often overlooked. Whether you live in a one bedroom apartment or three bedroom house, a sense of individual space is important. In a large home, this can be accomplished by having rooms for each person to "hide away" or chairs that are specific to each person. In a small space you might have to use a little more imagination.

l It is a good idea to keep a consistent colour scheme throughout your space. If you like pink and he likes black, try to find a way for the two to work together. "Remember that these should be used as accent colours and that the background colours should be kept neutral," suggests Van Vuuren.

l Living with someone will bring along a lot of changes. Try to keep an open mind and be willing to compromise, especially on the smaller things. Although you may love your fluffy pink sofa cushions, consider something a little less girly such as ultra-suede, which can be accommodating to both of you.

l Of course, getting rid of everything old and buying new for the two of you is always a great option. The two of you can decide on your style together and create your new space that compliments both of you, thus providing both a sense of the individual and a harmonious feel to your home.

Space is a crucial factor. There has to be ample and fair space for storage for both parties.

Grooming habits and implements are very personal. For the sake of convenience and privacy, there should be separate storage space for each person. Separate storage allows each person to keep their personal items organised. The party that owns the place has to make room for the other party before they even move in.

Closets for shoes. Shoes are big and annoying. The last thing you want to do is to try and find your delicate stilettos underneath his caterpillars.

And while his shoes will require some polishing, this may wreak havoc with female shoes that hardly need any polishing.

Have designated sides of beds. For obvious reasons. Some people like their lights dim and may have books they are trying to finish. Interchanging these sides may lead to unnecessary quarrels when the bed is supposed to be the headquarters of the love nest.

Enough shelving in the shower. If each person has separate shampoo and soap, the shower or bath can start to look cluttered. The best solution is to ensure the shower has enough shelving.

If you're not planning a bathroom redesign any time soon, there are plenty of plastic and metal storage baskets available. These hang from the showerhead and can add a lot of extra storage space to any shower.

It's important that the colours and fixtures in your shared home appeal to both of you. Work together to choose a colour scheme and design you'll both like. This could be as easy as going shopping together for shower curtains and towels, or as involved as working together on the redesign.

To come to an agreement, sit down together with some home redesign magazines. Each of you should find textures and fabrics you like.

The key to making a shared home work is to keep as much separate space as possible.

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