Of the 4.6 million newlyweds who tie the knot this year, nearly 60% plan to buy a new home and 75% plan to redecorate. But while newlyweds receive lots of advice about marriage, there's usually little offered on the intricacies of designing a new home together.
"Picture the newlyweds, as the moving van pulls away, standing amid the stacks of his and hers boxes in their new, shared residence - and each wondering how they're going to pull it all together," said Davis Remignanti, lead design consultant at Furniture.com.
To ensure that their happy new home doesn't become "a post-wedding house divided," Remignanti offered newly married couples the following decorating tips towards a "blissfully blended outcome when his meets hers":
- Relax - Don't worry about what goes with what: Mix, don't match. A new home, like a new relationship, is about the couple. Follow decorating instincts with pieces that suit both his and her interests and activities.
- R.E.S.P.E.C.T. - Beware of underlying emotions. She'll trample his feelings if she trashes his well-worn recliner - a hand-me-down from Dad. Instead, both need to get creative and compromise: Give it a corner in the bedroom if it's a "no" for the living room.
- Prioritize - Blending pieces from the past is one thing while shopping for new furniture is another, and larger, undertaking. Step one: List what's needed most. While he may want a sleek new media center for the television, does it make sense if the couple is left to sit on a dorm-room futon?
- Budget - Be realistic in setting spending limits and work within them. Ask when shopping: Will this be a "forever" dining room or is it just a temporary solution until a future move into a larger place? Saving money now for a better selection down the road is an option, too.
- Get inspired - Research the possibilities as a couple. Get together on the couch and scan newspapers, magazines, and TV shows. Discuss friends' homes. Find design inspiration and common ground. If she likes Cottage Style and he prefers Modern, both should rejoice upon discovering they 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 - it's his/her home, too.
- Try before you buy - Free Internet resources, like Furniture.com's Room Planner, offer couples the opportunity to browse, try lots of items, and see what fits where - without spending weekend after weekend driving from one store to another. Even better, once the newlyweds have created a room plan they both love, they can turn their plan into a purchase with a few clicks of the mouse.
- Keep it light - Rome wasn't decorated in a day. Couples can remove much of the pressure by viewing the experience as an opportunity to share what they love about each other. They should focus not only on the beautiful outcome of creating a new décor together, but the bigger picture as well - starting a new life together.
"Even if a couple starts out worlds apart, there are more looks and options to chose from today than ever before, and plenty of opportunity to find common ground and create their dream home," Remignanti said.
"Of course there's no prouder moment than when guests stop by and admire the result - and he turns to her and says: 'Well, great minds think alike.'"
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