I find so much joy in the fact that I’m old enough to make design decisions in my home. From the colour palette to the furniture and layout, the opportunities are endless! Well… almost endless. As independent as I am, I still have one person to consult before I make big decisions about the look of my apartment: my boyfriend.
Because it’s not really my apartment. It’s our apartment that we share and I wouldn’t have it any other way. After three years of living together, I have a good understanding of Adam’s style and how to compromise to make sure we’re both happy.
I’m definitely one of the lucky ones! Adam has great taste and he’s usually on board with my ideas. We make a good team because I’m great at coming up with the ideas and he’s great at making them happen.
But we still disagree sometimes.
Right now, we’re in the midst of discussing the shape of the dining table we want. I want a round table because there’s only two of us and the whole room feels kind of boxy at the moment. He doesn’t get it and wants a regular rectangular table.
I’ve also had to give up hope of having blush pink as an accent colour throughout the apartment. He’s nice enough to say that he doesn’t mind a bit of blush here and there, but it’s definitely not going to fly for the whole space. Little victories!
If I could offer any advice to someone who is moving in with a partner or starting to redecorate, this is what I have to say.
01 | Make sure the person feels their stuff belongs too
This is crucial when living with a partner. I have a lot of stuff. Adam does not. I blame this on my hobbies because I love stationery and craft supplies, and his hobbies just don’t translate to “stuff”. He’s content with his laptop and a few bits and pieces we have around the apartment because they say “Adam lives here”.
For example, he loves trying out different kinds of beer. He’s grown a collection of pint glasses over the last couple years and I always make sure we find a way to display them. We also have a set of maps of his childhood neighbourhood on the wall and at some point, we’ll put up his Nova Scotia license plate from his old Jeep. These are details that just represent who Adam is and show off his personality.
02 | Ask a lot of questions
I’m constantly flipping through House & Home or Pinterest and showing Adam rooms that I love. I’ll ask him what he thinks of furniture pieces and colours to get a sense of what he likes. If you asked him what his interior style would be, I bet he wouldn’t be able to tell you — but I can.
He likes furniture with clean lines, neutral colours, lots of greenery and rustic details. His style is definitely more on the side of a masculine loft vibe, but these are all really great elements in design that I love as well.
03 | Make every decision together
This may sound really obvious, but I mean it. I asked Adam about every single item before we brought it into our home. Even with my desk, which is the only space that is completely mine, I asked him if he liked the style and colour because I knew he’d have to stare at it every day. He helped me pick everything out in the apartment! I would float ideas and show him photos and then we’d go shopping together.
04 | Play with juxtaposition
I love feminine details like soft blush colours, brass details, and typography and a little bit of clutter. I love mixing vintage items like brass candlesticks and teacups with modern furniture. But Adam would prefer our home to be more on the minimalist side of things.
To compromise, most of our furniture is really modern. We bought neutral shades and textures and focused on pieces with clean lines. I know he doesn’t love my brass accents because they’re not his first choice, but I can tell that he gets the look of matching old with new. We found a compromise and a unique look because we basically took our contrasting styles and pushed them together to complete something that represents both of us.
05 | Say goodbye to a colour palette
Yes! I did just say that. In magazines, everything looks glossy and smooth and matching. But in real life, things don’t match. The only colour palette we both can agree on involves shades of blue. I don’t have anything against the colour blue or the shades of blue that we always go for, but I’m definitely ready for something new.
In this apartment, we’re trying something different. We both love neutral colours, so instead, we decided that our focus would be on texture instead of colour. This way, we can add little accents as the seasons change but we’re not stuck with one colour palette. To add visual interest, we’re playing with wood tones, metals, and different fabrics. Focusing on texture makes the room feel cozy and inviting and we’re so happy with it!
Looking around the living room, I see pieces of myself and pieces of Adam reflected in the design. I love that the home feels like both of us. I also love how our style has evolved together. I’ve embraced more of a modern look because of him, and he’s grown to appreciate the vintage treasures that I’ve collected.
Most importantly, it feels like home.