It's the first challenge of his and hers decorating: a moving van deposits stacks of his and her boxes and furnishings at the newlyweds' new residence, as they stare and wonder how to pull it all together.
"Couples receive lots of marriage advice, but little on creating a new home,” says C. Davis Remignanti, Furniture.com ’s lead design consultant. He offers his and hers decorating tips to couples to help blend their styles and ensure that their happy new home doesn’t become a house divided.
Relax: Don’t worry about what goes with what: Mix, don’t match. Your home, like your relationship, is about you as a couple. Follow your decorating instincts with pieces that suit both of your interests and activities.
R.E.S.P.E.C.T.: Beware of underlying emotions. You’ll trample his feelings if you trash his well-worn recliner, a hand-me-down from Dad. Instead, get creative by giving it a corner in the bedroom if it’s a “no” for the living room.
Prioritize: Blending pieces from the past is one thing, but shopping for new furniture is another. First step: List what’s needed most. While you’d love a sleek new armoire for the TV, how will it look if you’re sitting on a dorm-room futon?
Budget Tips: Be realistic in setting spending limits and work within them. As you shop, ask yourselves if this will be your “forever” dining room or just something to live with until you’re in a larger place. Saving for a better selection is an option, too.
Get inspired: Research as a couple to create a successful his and hers decorating scheme. Pile together on the couch and scan newspapers, magazines, and TV shows. Discuss your friends’ homes. Find design inspiration and common ground. If you like cottage style and your spouse is a fan of modern, rejoice in discovering that you both prefer lighter wood tones and color schemes.
Collaborate: Many couples include one décor-conscious person and one “it’s just a chair” person. While one partner may be driving most decisions, for the long-term good of the relationship, involve the other. Don’t forget that it’s their home, too.
Try it out online: Furniture.com's free Room Planner  offers a truly collaborative experience as well as a great design tips. Browse items, try lots of options, get a sense of the big picture, and see what fits where. Even better, once you’ve put together a room you both love, a few clicks of the mouse can turn the dream plan into a purchase.
Keep it light: Rome wasn’t built in a day. Remove the pressure from yourselves. Enjoy your first decorating experience as a couple by viewing it as an opportunity to learn, and share what you love, about each other. Focus not only on the beautiful outcome of creating your new his and hers décor together, but the bigger picture as well: the start of your new life together.