The Art of Compromise

Investing in a condo with your significant other is a big leap into adulthood. No longer do you have a room to yourself (unless you count a closet). One of the biggest changes was actually coordinating the design of your new home, with someone else. No longer do prints from Ikea and sketchy University pots and pans apply. Here are a couple of tips to merge both individuals styles without stepping on too many toes...

1. Make Wish Lists 

  • Sit down separately and write wish lists before you start to furniture shop  
  • Let your imagination run free, create a Pinterest board or treat yourself to a design magazine
  • Wish lists will help figure out what both of your styles are like, if you had any similar items and if you can appreciate their top picks 

2. Set your Priorities 

  • Pick your top three choices for your new place. This can be anything from a new headboard to an area rug you've been dreaming about
  • Once both of your lists are compiled, create a joint priority list. For us, it was seating for our kitchen and living room
  • Your joint priority list should set the tone for your new home. The combination of both your personalities should determine if you want your new place to be a bit more sophisticated or maybe you're focused on comfort. Either way, make sure you agree.

3. Set Boundaries

  • This is the part where you want to make sure your significant other understands that you cannot live with someone they may be interested in. We had a couple of these experiences where I tended to go for items that may not have been great long term whereas Cam leaned towards more masculine looking pieces.

4. Agree on Common Spaces

  • The main goal is to both love the common area that you'll be spending most of your time relaxing or entertaining. For our kitchen chairs and couch, we choose a gender neutral white while incorporating surrounding dark pieces of furniture, like our coffee table and Eames. I found that whatever we agreed on, I could always contribute by adding bright throw pillows, blankets, coffee table books etc. 

5. Be Open

  • When I first signed our lease, I imagined a traditional home full of bright colours and art covering the wall (picture Mindy Lahari's apartment). Cam opened me up to seeing more unique mid-century modern pieces and items that will still be classics in years to come. It's important to invest in the big items like our Eames LCW instead of breaking the bank with high end bookends or t.v. console. 

6. Encourage Each Other's Interests  

  • Everyone has their hobbies, passions and travel treasures. We found it important to showcase these in artistic ways. For example, we created a framed wall collage with photographs of our travels.

7. Five Star Hotel Feel 

  • We're like anyone who loves a relaxing vacation and appreciates the experience staying at a nice hotel. One afternoon we had a struggle trying to find gender neutral bedsheets. I geared towards the light and airy feel while Cam gravitated towards the dark colours. When we we're walking home discouraged, I had an "a-ha" moment and thought, what's wrong with sheets from a hotel? Working at a hotel for over a year, you realize that all the furniture is designed to be inviting for everyone. Most luxury hotels have a retail store on the lobby level where they sell everything from bedsheets to shower curtains. 

8. Give Each Other One Space 

  • Ensure that you both have one space that you can either retreat to or to just be messy in if that's your thing. I was fortunate to win the walk-in closet battle so it's become my dumping grounds for my clothes, shoes etc. Meanwhile, Cam has the outlet of his office which he was able to personalize with his artwork and purchasing a new desk and chair. 

9. Previous Inventory 

  • Everyone has boxes in their parents basement or old childhood room full of stuff from their days in University, living abroad or wherever. Before you start purchasing, make sure you both are satisfied with these inventory items you still enjoy. 

10. Research Together 

  • When we we're in the furniture shopping phase, I'm sure we sent each other about 10 links a day on anything like pans to side tables. It's important to keep each other in the loop on what you're getting more interested in. When I bought my Eames, it was Cam that told me that the store could price match with an online vendor in Vancouver. I ended up saving about $500.