Caitlin and Caitlin here! Springtime is approaching and that familiar feeling of fresh love and new beginnings is slipping out of winter hiding. Very appropriately, we have two sets of recently engaged clients who are happily settling into their first homes together. While it’s a super exciting time in some realms, when it comes to figuring out how to merge your things, not so much! When designing a shared space, it can be a challenge to strike the perfect balance between masculine and feminine influences, so we thought we’d share our tips on how to cohesively (and contentedly!) combine pieces that please both parts of the pair.
1. Bring in texture by layering neutrals. If it’s too hard to settle on a color scheme because she loves blue and he prefers pink (hey, it could happen!), then a smart way to make neutral spaces un-boring is through tactile touches. Layering shades of cream and gray in yummy fabrics with punches of pattern keep things modern, chic and gender-, err, neutral.
2. Do a sexy dark wall. Paint almost any room a charcoal gray, navy blue or deep hunter green to add instant drama that doesn’t scream masculine or feminine—just grown-up and refined.
3. Balance luxe and industrial elements. It’s okay to have individual pieces that speak to one gender or the other since it’s all about the mix. For example, an old boy’s club style leather chesterfield plays nicely next to a mirrored sofa table.
4. Define individual zones. When a couple shares a space, it’s important to maintain some separate identity by allowing distinct areas for work or creative outlets. This concept can be incorporated even into small rooms by adding a desk and chair against an unobstructed wall. This is one place you can go all out, so hang that sunburst mirror or funky graffiti art to anchor your little region.
5. Keep the overall design in mind. Combine personal tastes in an abstract, eclectic way. For example, if he loves clean and modern and she’s obsessed with vintage, it can still work simultaneously by cleverly combining the right pieces and colors. Find commonalities and eliminate anything extreme.
6. Rely on classics. Just like when building a wardrobe, your best bet is to focus on timeless staples. A great design includes main elements that never go out of style and also bridge the gender gap. Think sofas with clean lines in neutral colors, solid wood case pieces and wing back chairs—all of which are décor unbiased.
Have any of you experienced the great merging of interior styles? We would love to hear how it went!(To hire Caitlin & Caitlin, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Not sure if hiring a designer is right for you, check out their first post!)