Tips to Merging "His & Her" Style

About this time of year the bridal season is heating up and plans are being made by couples for one of the biggest events of their life. I was reminded of this when my friend was planning the Brides-To-Be event at the Stanford Faculty Club, an event I participated in a few years ago. When my friend first  asked me to participate I really pondered why a bride who is planning her wedding would be interested in talking with an Interior Designer.  Most brides are embroiled in decisions about the flavor of their cake and the color of the flowers...not yet thinking about how to decorate their home.  As I thought about this more and more I realized how important that new home will be for the newlywed couple.  When the festivities of the wedding are over and the top of the cake is in the freezer waiting for the thaw that will come on their first anniversary this couple will be starting a new life together, possibly in a new home.  Each of them separately used to decorate as they wanted, now they will need to mesh their two differing styles and make decisions together.  Wow, as we all know that process is not always easy.  Some couples will bring with them their favorite things and others will be starting from scratch.  In either case they will need to identify their look and articulate the lifestyle they want to live.  I developed a few tips for the newlywed couple, and of course anyone who is about to decorate their home can savor the following tasty tidbits:

Tip # 1

Identify your style now as a couple.  Collects tear sheets from shelter magazines of rooms that you love or better yet start a Pinterest board, pictures are worth a thousand words and are more descriptive than just naming a style, like French country, modern, traditional...these words can have multiple meanings to different people.

Is your style Transitional?  Not traditional but not streamlined Contemporary either?

Does she like shabby chic?

Does his style lean more towards bachelor pad?

Tip #2

Identify what you don't like, this can be even more important than identifying what styles you do like.  Sometimes it is easier to articulate what you don't like.  One of the first things I do with a client is I give them homework, a set of shelter magazines to pull tear sheets of what they do and don't like.

Tip #3

Now that you as a couple have a better idea of your style you can develop a concept for your home.  Here are some examples…”Global Influences”, “Modern Classic”, “Refined Glamour”.

 Dining view of Living artwall

Refined and Elegant

Contemporary Color Blocking

Hollywood Glamour

Tip #4

Develop a floor plan for each room.  If you are going to work on this project without an interior designer there are many choices of software or space planning tools you can utilize to draw your floor plan.  The floor plan will be like a road map; it helps you identify the pieces you need to purchase for the room and the sizes that are appropriate for the space.

This step takes a little more time and energy but the work is worth it.....above from

Tip #5

Create a budget.  When you create a budget it forces you to decide on your priorities.  Do you need the sofa first for casual entertaining or do you want to spend your money on the dining room table and chairs so you can have a formal dining experience?

Tip #6

Buy the best you can afford.  Having said that if you don't have the budget for it all right now identify a few pieces that you will really invest in and others that you can spend a little less on that can be replaced with better pieces in the future.

Tip #7

Be careful of purchasing an entire look from big box stores or catalogs.  It is easy to purchase from one place for your home but it won't speak of who you are.  It will look like the store display with no depth or personality. Mass marketed furniture does not last as long in style or quality and that isn't very green or penny wise when you have to replace it every five years.  I still believe the old adage "You get what you pay for"!  I like to mix it up, a few things from a big box store mixed with more expensive pieces from boutiques.

(Pottery Barn)

Tip #8

Buy what you love, simple and true.  If you love it it will bring you joy for a long time to come.

Tip #9

With online sites like Guilt Group, One Kings Lane, and Joss and Main great style is more affordable with out the mass-market look.

Tip #10

Do it in phases. There is so much available out there that it is sometimes overwhelming.  Decide what pieces or rooms are your priorities and start with those first, then in another month or two or year or two move on to the next room.

We bought higher end furniture for our living room above and saved by purchasing inexpensive "antique" chairs for the dining room knowing when we had the funds we would replace them with a better chair and a style we loved.

It will be a whole new adventure to start your new home together and to surround yourselves with furniture and decor that is meaningful to you as a couple.

Have fun and Merry Marry!