A shared space can be a beautiful space if the two (or more) of you come together to plan the design of your home; you can start with these useful tips.
Whether you found your roommates on Gumtree, met them at university, or you’ve known them since school, decorating as a group with different tastes is going to be a challenge. You’re unlikely to have the same interior design styles or have the same bigger picture in your head when you think about the overall look of your apartment. One of you may dream of clutter-free minimalist spaces with white walls and polished white floor tiles, whereas the other may dream of huge comfy sofas in bright colours surrounded by classic rugs, art and knick-knacks. And whether it’s a contemporary new home or a period home, decorating a shared space is clearly going to involve a lot of compromise, and will push you to think about which parts of the design are your priorities and which you’re willing to let go of.
If you’re worried about all out war occurring over the colour of the walls – don’t fret – it is completely possible to not only find common ground with decorating, but it’s also possible to have fun creating a gorgeous home that you all really appreciate and enjoy.
Check With The Landlord
If you own your home, then there’s no need to check with anyone in regards to your decorating. However, if you are renting, you’re going to need to check exactly what you are allowed to do. Some landlords don’t want tenants to change a thing, others don’t mind redecorating as long as it is either neutral, or the home is returned to its former state after the rental period. It is important to check because you may not only lose your deposit, but lose your rental altogether if you breach your contract.
Start With A Chat
Get a brew on and sit down together to chat about the redecorating. Browse some images together talking about what you do and don’t like. If any strong opinions come up where you do clash, talk it out and get it resolved – you’re only storing an argument for later otherwise. Drop any ego and make an effort to listen and compromise at all times.
Agree on a colour scheme, budget and anything else you deem to be important – the more that expectations are shared, the less likely there is to be a clash later on.
Who Keeps What
As you know you won’t be living with your roommate forever, it is important to agree who gets what when it comes to the items you buy. It’s easy to go halves on paint that goes on a wall because no one can keep that, but it isn’t so easy with items around the flat. Don’t be petty, but do talk about what you want to do with items if one of you leaves, if the tenancy ends or if an item gets damaged.
Give It A Big Clean
It is important you give the property a big clean before you do anything else. Otherwise when you come to paint a wall, lay a carpet or floor tiles, you will only have to do it then. Do a deep spring clean and brighten the place up, you might be surprised to find you both like certain areas more than you did before, just because they have been brightened up.
Create A Cohesive Look
Before you invest in paint and other items, take a look at what you have already. You and your roommate will already have furniture you could use to decorate. Consider upcycling a few bits and pieces to keep costs down, and look at the smaller details like door knobs and towels – just replacing those can make a huge difference.
Make Sure Responsibility Is Equal
If one of you has a particularly strong vision for one area, like the kitchen, perhaps you could each have different project areas and then share the design of other areas. Make sure the design is discussed beforehand so there are no nasty surprises, and make sure you agree to split the budget on the separate design areas as well.
Don’t Go The Whole Hog If You Know It Is A Temporary Arrangement
The amount of time you will be living at the property will have an effect on the decoration plans. If you know you plan to move out at the end of the year, or you both plan to go your separate ways next year, consider just freshening up the place together rather than completely redecorating. You don’t want to be paying for a brand new set of bathroom wall tiles when you’re going to be moving out in a few months.
Make The Most Of Your Space
Obviously, the whole space isn’t going to be exactly what you want because it’s a shared decoration project. For this reason you must make the most of your bedroom because it’s your space, your place to express yourself. Here you can be creative and let loose with your own style and no one can contest it.
Add Lots Of Art
One way to each express yourselves creatively without being overbearing is to include some favourite contemporary artworks and photographs around the house. Perhaps you can each agree to choose pictures for different areas, and include photos of the two of you together and of your collective families around the space. This helps make the space personal, without causing any arguments because it’s not about creative taste, it’s personal photos, and you each get to choose art you love.
Complete One Room At A Time
Try to complete one room at a time for minimum disruption to the home and for a sense of achievement every time you finish a new part of the house.
Be Considerate Of Each Other’s Time
Decorating takes time, and just because you have a week to spare getting the decorating done, doesn’t mean your housemate does. Chat about when you are both free to go shopping, plan the design and do the decorating, ensuring you are both committed to getting it done as and when you say you will. It isn’t a good idea to start tiling a wall with delicate wall tiles only to find your housemate has to leave halfway through because they already have other plans.
Have A Party!
What better way to celebrate your shared interior design project than to have a party! Make sure it isn’t a wild one as the last thing you want is stains and breakages when you’ve just finished making your home look great. Have your closest friends and family round for nibbles and wine, and proudly give them a tour of your brand new home!