Getting on the Same (Design) Page with your Partner

A QUIZ FOR YOU + YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER.

 

One of the most frequent scenarios I encounter with my clients is this:

Partner A calls me to ask about my services.  We agree to meet, see the space, talk about goals and objectives and so forth.  After being assured that the Partner B doesn’t have any interest in the outcome of the space, I begin to design.  I return to present the design – generally to Partner A and B – and Partner B is none too pleased with what s/he sees.  An argument ensues. I have to scrap my design and at the client’s expense, go back to the drawing board.

This happens ALL the time.

Don’t assume your partner doesn’t care.  He/she DOES. They may not know how to articulate what they like or dislike, but they do have an opinion.  This questionnaire will help him/her find the words to describe their preferences and give you the tools to communicate them.

The other scenario I encounter often is that I am brought in to settle home decor disagreements - or worse, asked to side with the initiating party.

Take heart; much of the time, misunderstandings around interiors are more about communication of one’s needs for a space than an actual difference in style preference. 

By doing this brief exercise in advance, you can get to the desired goal a lot faster and avoid unnecessary aggravation.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Print out two copies of this post. Each of you will need to take this survey.  It is important that you do it separately so as not to influence one another’s responses. So much of interior design is intuitive and about feel, so have fun, answer honestly and don’t overthink your answers!

NUTS AND BOLTS

  • Which room(s) are you interested in addressing? (If more than one, answer the questions below for each).
  • How do you use the space currently? (i.e. watching TV, eating, sleeping, reading etc.)
  • Are you happy with the way it is utilized or would you change that in some way?  If yes, how?
  • Approximately how many hours a day do you spend in this room?

STYLE

How would you describe your preferred style?

  • Modern
  • Traditional
  • Transitional (between modern and traditional)
  • Eclectic
  • Rustic
  • Industrial
  • Other

How do you want it to feel? Circle the three that most apply:

  • Formal
  • Relaxed
  • Casual
  • Peaceful
  • Unique
  • Inviting
  • Happy
  • Minimal
  • Collected
  • Elegant
  • Other

How do you NOT want it to feel? Circle the three that most apply:

  • Formal
  • Relaxed
  • Casual
  • Peaceful
  • Unique
  • Inviting
  • Happy
  • Minimal
  • Collected
  • Elegant
  • Other

What is your biggest priority?

  • The way the room looks
  • The way the room functions
  • The way the room feels
  • Other

What colors do you tend to prefer?

  • Cooler tones (greens, blues, greys)
  • Warmer tones (oranges, reds, browns)
  • Neutrals (whites, browns, blacks)
  • Other

Which room(s) in your home do you most like and why?

FINANCES

  • How much are you willing to spend to make the space what you want it to be?
  • How will you be paying for the improvements (checking, credit card, bank loan etc,)
  • Are you willing to put in some elbow grease or do you want someone to do it all for you?

TIMELINE

  • When do you want the room to be done?
  • Are you willing to wait if you can get an item for less money?

VISUAL CHECK

Rank the following rooms in terms of appeal (1= your favorite 5 = your least favorite)

 Source: Houzz

Source: Houzz

 Source: Home Decor

Source: Home Decor

Don't like any of the rooms you see?  Hit the Web and search sources like Pinterest, Instagram and Apartment Therapy.  There is an endless sea of inspiration and ideas out there.  Don't be limited to what you see above.

All done? Sit down together and review your answers. Even better, work with an interior designer who can help review and decipher your answers and make the appropriate recommendations.

Lastly, CONGRATULATIONS on taking the first step toward understanding your personal style and learning how to marry that style with another person with whom you presumably live -- or perhaps you plan to live.


XO

KS

Paralysis (Over)Analysis

IT'S OFFICIAL: I AM MY OWN WORST CLIENT

Last week, my husband and I moved from a nearly 3000 square foot home in north Portland, to a 2000 square foot place in southwest Portland.  Since it’s just he and I and our two dogs, we decided it was time to move to a smaller space.  We have no children, but I’ve always thought moving must be a little like childbirth – you only do it again because you forgotten how painful it was.  This move was no exception.

This is my first move since becoming an interior designer.  To say that it’s been a humbling experience is an understatement.  I’d decorated my homes before, of course, but there’s something different about it this time. My expectations are higher and my fears are greater. 

When I walk into a client’s home, I know pretty quickly what it is that the room “needs” – a warmer paint color, a larger area rug, more art.  When I walk into my own home, I am instantly paralyzed and it’s absolutely vexing. 

An example: No joke, I’ve taken home, tested, bought and returned more than a dozen area rugs for our living room.  Questions I would ask my clients swirl unanswered in my head – “How do you want the room to feel?  How much traffic will this area get?  What colors do you prefer?”

In the end, I will figure it out.  I always do, but I just wanted to share with you that when I say, “I feel your pain,” I’m not just paying you lip service!

XO

 

 Our new, smaller home. pre-purchase. 

Our new, smaller home. pre-purchase. 

Mastering the Skill of Pillow Mixing

Throw pillows are a simple and unique way to add some color and personality to your home or commercial space.  With the right colors, pattern and strategic placement, you can make a room stand out.  However, knowing the right colors and designs to choose for your home can be overwhelming.  With so many different ideas and design strategies out there, it can seem next to impossible to find the right pillows for your home.  Have no fear!  With these tips and tricks, you can become a master when it comes to understanding throw pillow mixes. 

1 Pattern and 1 Solid

This is one of the most simple throw pillow mixes.  You can choose pillows with simple pairing colors for a nice and simple look, or even take two colors like blue and orange for a nice pop on a white or cream couch.  Choosing this strategy also gives you the opportunity to be unique with pattern choices because it will not clash with the solid pillow.  With this simple technique, you have the ability to experiment a little more when it comes to your throw pillow choices.

1 Large Pattern, 1 Small Print and 1 Solid

Varying the size of your pillows can really add some dimension to your furniture.  By using a large bold pattern like floral, a smaller print pillow with stripes or polka dots and a solid colored pillow, your furniture can look fresh and unique.  With the two different patterns mixed in with a solid color, you can add more texture and a personal style to your home.

Pick a Pattern Theme: Batik, Stripes and Geometrics

While mixing and matching different patterns can be fun, it might be a good idea to stick to one particular theme pattern to make your home come together.  If you like to experiment with different colors, a batik pillow style could be ideal for you.  Different colors can still work together because of a common dying technique, which gives you a lot of room to experiment with color.  A striped pattern design can be great when you’re looking to add a dash of color to your home without being overwhelming.  Geometric patterns are great if you are going for a polished and clean look in your home, meaning that you like a more cohesive pattern type. 

Choose Your Colors

Choosing a color for your pillows is one of the most difficult aspects of throw pillow mixing.  One technique you can use is to only choose colors that are within the same color palette.  By staying within the color palette guidelines you can know for sure that the colors you choosing will look good as a whole.  Paint stores are a great place to choose a color palette that seems to best fit your home and style.

The key to throw pillow mixing is to not overthink it.  By using these tips and going with what looks and feels right for you, you’re sure to have a great looking home.

If you're still intimidated, start with neutrals.  Below are several that would work together due to their subtlety.

XO

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