Combining Styles & Decorating for the Two of You

Being married has been so fun and sweet. One of the things I looked forward to the most about being married (aside from the fact that I was marrying my best friend!) was creating a home together; a safe place for the two of us to start our lives together. We'll always remember our first apartment together (well, at least I will ;)) At first, I was overwhelmed with how to make McCann feel just as at home as me, considering we would be bringing almost everything from my last apartment to the new one and he was only bringing his clothes, bathroom essentials and record player...ha! The pieces he had in the place he lived before getting married weren't quite up to par...aka I didn't allow them in our house ;) Now I sound like a bad wife, but if you saw the beat up dresser he wanted to use, you'd understand!!

Anyways, after the initial overwhelm hit me, I decided to treat our first home design like I would a client, where I would help them merge their two decorating styles into one beautiful space to call home. I have to be honest, I have it a bit easier than most with my husband. He is very agreeable, allows me to do mostly all the decorating, AND his style is very easily blendable (I think I just made that word up) to mine. So here are the stats:

My style: farmhouse, eclectic, traditional
His style: industrial and rustic

As you can see, our two styles are very similar! Whereas I would want more painted wood and white, he prefers more exposed wood and rod iron. The one thing he absolutely didn't want coming into our new place were my pretty gold curtains I had in my "bachelorette pad". So sad, but also understandable! He did let me keep my floral accent pillows in our bedroom, so I was willing to give up the curtains. It's all about compromise! See?

White buffet for me...

Wood bar stools and wood framed chalkboard for him... (pink dish soap for me ;))

This conundrum of learning to blend your two styles together seems like a big feat, so I'm going to walk you through some simple steps to achieve a cohesive home where everyone feels represented.

- Discover both of your styles. This is the first obvious step! I suggest both of you pinning interior rooms on Pinterest into separate boards. Pin anything that catches your eye! Once you've pinned 30-50 images, go through them and see what things each image has in common or look for any common themes throughout. Maybe you're pinning a lot of exposed beams, a lot of rooms with white walls, or sleek modern sofas with clean lines. Finding the commonalities in the photos will help you determine what you most gravitate towards.

- Both styles should be represented in multiple aspects of the room. Once you've discovered your styles, you need to figure out how to display both of them. If your husband likes the mid century modern style and there is only a coffee table that reflects his style amongst your shabby chic style, it will look completely out of place. In order to get a unified look where both styles are present and look cohesive, here are a few guidelines to help:

1. Repetition is key: repeating an element (whether than be color, pattern, shapes, or textures) always help unify a space. So no matter what two styles you are blending together, remember to repeat an element throughout the space to bring it together. For example, if you were melding traditional with contemporary styles, you could bring the room together by sprinkling green elements throughout the room (pillows, plants, vases and books for bookcases, etc.)

2. Strategically spread out the decor: if all of the modern pieces are on one side of the room and all of the coastal pieces are on the other side, the room will feel really disjointed. Spreading out the decor equally throughout the room will keep an aesthetically pleasing flow.

3. Use color to unify: painting open spaces in one (neutral) color will create a flow throughout the whole house instead of breaking it up. This also creates a blank canvas for you to show off your decor and furniture. Anything you can do to create a cohesive, smooth look will help when meshing styles together. This home tour does that so well:

4. Balance: equal distribution of weight is also really important. This doesn't mean something needs to be symmetrical, but it does mean things need to be visually balanced. You wouldn't want to hang a huge piece of art on one side of the room without anything on the other side of the room with the same visual weight. Here is an example of balance being achieved really well:

Note that the fireplace is the focal point of the room, and if the window / window seat to the right of the fireplace wasn't there and was instead a blank wall, the bookcase on the left would feel extremely heavy and off-balance.

5. Furniture, accessories and finishes need a BFF: if you're using a red tone wood for a coffee table in a mid century modern space, you'll want to repeat that tone in at least one other item in the room. This "rule" states that most textures and colors in the space need a buddy to create cohesion. Using brass an accent in your lighting? Make sure it shows up at least twice in the room through lighting and a sculpture for your bookshelf.

6. Think of formality, function, and form: first, make sure the two styles you are marrying are of equal formality. Trying to mix an ultra glam or very elegant traditional style with a funky industrial or boho style probably won't go as well as you envision. Second, take note of the use of the room and make sure that it still functions the way you want it to while combining the two styles. For example, does a modern, plastic Eames chair function well in a highly used family room? It might look okay, but it's not going to be very comfortable! Finally, do the shapes, or forms, of the furniture and accessories compliment each other? Pay attention to the lines of the furniture you have-- you probably don't want to mix super straight lines in your modern sofa with a very traditional rolled arm chair.

Here are some visual examples of marrying styles to create a home everyone is represented in:

1. Traditional and elegant (seen in the puddling shower curtain and gold fixtures) paired with a rustic vintage vibe (the floor tile and wooden chair accent)

2. Modern (sleek lines, neutral color, use of black and brass in lighting) and farmhouse (all white cabinets, marble, use of rustic wood tones)

3. Traditional (the gold mirror, chunky wood table, wainscoting, molding, and upholstered end chair) paired with mid century modern touches (ghost chairs, light fixture)

Here's our bedroom, so you can see how we compromised.

Hopefully these tips were helpful in combining two styles of decor together to create a home everyone loves! Let me know how YOU do this if your spouses style is different from yours.



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