Roommate Decorating Styles

Even when roommates get along very well and enjoy spending time together, they can have decorating styles that are completely opposite.  Since most rental apartments start as a blank canvas upon initial move-in, roommates are left to their imagination when decorating.  One roommate may prefer the apartment to have modern décor with clean lines and elegant simplicity while the other may lean toward a cozy, traditional feel with large, comfortable furniture and classic touches.  The division may be economic: one may prefer to decorate the space with posters tacked on the walls and assorted furniture handed down from friends and relatives while the other may prefer to save up with the eventual goal of purchasing furniture and accessories for the space.

However, with a little compromise and a lot of creativity, roommates can settle on an option that will make the space feel like home for both of them.  In some cases, roommates simply combine everything and live with the eclectic results.  This option can be especially appropriate when roommates do not have the same pieces.  For example, if one roommate has a modern couch and the other roommate has two antique chairs, they could use all three pieces to provide ample seating.  They could unify the room with a rug and accessories that complement all the pieces.

Another option is for each person to be responsible for decorating a space.  If one roommate prefers to style the apartment/home similar to a beach cottage while the other prefers a Victorian theme, they could agree that one will decorate the dining room while the other will decide the décor for the living room.  That way, each has the opportunity to bring the preferred style, ideas, and creativity into the living space.  Although the roommates may not agree initially, they may find that the other person’s style gradually gains appeal.

If prior to moving into the new place both roommates cannot agree to live with each other’s preferred décor, they could keep their styles separate by decorating their own bedrooms or other private spaces in the home.  Common spaces, such as the living room and kitchen, could be decorated with a neutral theme that both can tolerate.  If one prefers very spare, uncluttered rooms while the other prefers to fill the space with beloved objects, they could compromise by placing select special items in the room but keeping the overall look simple.

Finally, roommates could ask a friend to assist.  An objective third party could act as mediator to help the roommates find middle ground that is acceptable to both.  Alternatively, a friend with design flair could decorate for them.  The roommates could agree to let the friend determine the décor using their existing pieces.  The result could be a mix of both styles in a way the roommates never imagined.  If the budget allows, the roommates could hire a decorator to fill this role.  With experience in this field, a decorator might have innovative ideas about using existing pieces and styles to create a design fusion that will appeal to both roommates.

With creativity, imagination, and compromise, roommates can overcome the obstacles of very different decorating styles.  The goal is to create a space that feels like home.

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