Sharing Personal Style Preferences with Your Spouse

Sometimes it's hard enough to agree on what to have for dinner, much less try to design a home with your significant other. Finding home furnishings that you both love can be a challenge, but with a little compromise and creativity, it is definitely possible to find stylistic harmony under the same roof!

Here are a few ways to get past your differences and design a home that reflects both of your personalities and style preferences.

Find out what is most important to your partner.
Is it comfort? Color? Shape? Fabric versus leather? Price? Sit down and discuss what you both want and why. If your color preferences are extremely different, pick a gender-neutral color for bigger upholstered furniture pieces or window treatments. A few bold color accessories can highlight personal preferences - males typically prefer the neutral leathers and hardwoods, and women can add their own style with throw pillows, linens, and other accent pieces. Try mixing rustic styles with sleek, sensual fabrics, or contemporary furnishings with earthy, soft colors and textiles.

Give your partner the respect of listening to his or her point of view, because he or she has to live there too! You should both feel comfortable and happy with the furnishings in your home. Thankfully, with the range of options available at every price point, couples can find furniture to combine both of their preferences.

Have a plan.
If you're just starting out and need to furnish you entire home, focus on one or two rooms at a time. This will help keep you both on the same page about what you need to shop for and help you see progress in your home more quickly. After you come to a consensus about the style of a certain piece, let your spouse do what he or she does best.

Women tend to enjoy doing some legwork at home, first by going through magazines and looking for ideas, searching for items online, comparing prices, and enjoying the shopping process in general. This helps men too, because they appreciate the more targeted approach to shopping and will be more helpful in making final decisions when you're actually in the store.

Combine your favorite things.
There's no rule that says all your furniture needs to be the same style - having an eclectic blend of home furnishings is perfectly acceptable. If you both like a particular item, buy it! Combining your styles will make your home a unique place that is a reflection of both of you.

Take advantage of free services.
Many furniture stores offer such benefits as interior design consulting, room planning guides and product brochures. Working with a designer can help you coordinate new furniture with your existing pieces, or they can help you design your home from the ground up and find solutions that will please both of you.

Having a designer's assistance not only can help you choose the right piece of furniture for your room, but he or she can help you and your spouse with space planning, traffic flow, color schemes, and coordinating fabrics. Designers also can help you find unique solutions to any unusual room layouts or space challenges you may be facing. They also have access to hundreds of catalogs of furnishings that are not on the store's showroom floor, giving you options that you may never have considered otherwise.

In other words, they can take your home from looking like a mish-mash of items to a complete "look" that works together seamlessly.

Have fun and enjoy the process.
Your home is the place where you should be able to relax, recharge, be yourself, and nurture each other. Furnishing a home that allows you to do those things together should be a fun and rewarding experience. Enjoy the process of creating a home that is uniquely you!