Whether you and your roommate are besties or you found each other on Craig’s List, decorating together definitely has its challenges (which are unique even from decorating with your significant other). Chances are you won’t have exactly the same taste in décor or the same vision about how you want your home or apartment to look. Furnishing your shared space will involve compromise, and force you to decide what design elements are really important to you and what you’re willing to sacrifice. But while it is a challenge, it’s not an impossible one. It’s totally achievable to not only find a middle ground, but to come together on a beautiful living space that you both truly love. So today I am sharing a few tips I learned from my years spent rooming with friends, along with some expert advice from Orlando Soria, West Coast Creative Director of Homepolish…
Start on the Same Page
Before you begin, it’s important that you sit down together and make sure you’re on the same page. Brainstorm a few key words to describe your style, pick out a color palette, and start a joint décor board on Pinterest. Orlando advises, “Ask your roommate what they like and what they hate. The most important part is that your roommate feels like you’re listening. The more sympathetic you seem to their design needs, the more willing they will be to listen to what you want.” This applies to budget too: “People get in trouble when they don’t make their expectations clear before they get started. Usually one person has one idea about what she wants to spend money on, while her roommate might have something totally different in mind.”
Pull it Together
Unless it’s your very first apartment, both you and your roommate will probably have existing furniture and décor from your last place. Luckily, there are a few easy and inexpensive things you can do to make your combined home decor inventory look cohesive. This includes painting or refinishing a couple key pieces of furniture, switching out knobs, purchasing a slipcover or new throw pillows for the couch, and hanging onto both of your wall art but investing in a cohesive set of frames. And as far as double items go, Orlando suggests selling, donating, or storing items that are redundant. Don’t try to make two sofas in your living room work unless they really make sense together!
Split the Difference
If you just can’t seem to compromise creatively, you each might want to consider taking ownership over different spaces. As Homepolish’s Orlando says, “If your roommate is super adamant about what she wants the bathroom to look like, suggest she take that on as a design project while you take on the kitchen. This gives you each responsibility and ownership over a project, and makes designing the home a fun activity instead of an annoying argument.”
Embrace Your Bedroom
It goes without saying that you will have to make certain sacrifices in the shared spaces like the living room, dining room, and kitchen. So if you feel stifled creatively, let your true style shine through in your bedroom. If it makes you feel better to have a place to freely express your taste in decor, the bedroom doesn’t have to feel 100 percent in line with the other rooms in the house. Once you move in with your significant other, this no longer applies (bye bye, adorable girly bedding…). So have fun with it while you still can!
I hope these tips help! And most importantly, just keep this in mind: Being on good terms with your roommate is way more important than having your home designed exactly how you wanted it.
Are you living with a roommate right now? What kind of décor tips have you learned?
Share them in the comments.