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  • Lisa Christie

Believe it or not, an interior designer can save your marriage....


No matter how long two people have been together or how much they've endured in their relationship, few things compare to the challenges they face when it comes to redesigning the house or building a new home. You may think you know your partner well, but strange behavior may occur when you're making seemingly innocuous design decisions. Know this.... It is totally normal but can be mildly alarming. To put it bluntly, if you aren’t the only inhabitant of your house, yours isn’t the only design style that counts.

An experienced designer will often be a kind of mediator when a couple is having a few conflicting opinions on design and sometimes that means taking sides. Experienced designers in this situation will draw on their knowledge of the design principles and provide an explanation for their choices. Explaining the reason behind a design decision is an excellent way to put the dilemma to rest and unite the divided parties once and for all.

Some partners run for the hills when the interior designer turns up! The ones that stay are often surprised by the logic and the systematic process that experienced designers undertake to help you make the big decisions. Many skeptics are converted this way, later making reference to money saved when their initial preconception was the seemingly unnecessary financial outlay. Oh yes!....What about money saved fixing costly mistakes and spending the budget wisely (not wasting money on things that aren't and shouldn't be a priority or that don't give you good bang for buck). Die hard interior design clients know how much easier it is when a professional steps in. A professional designer will well and truly pay for themselves many times over even if it's just a short consultation. Not to mention the peace of mind!(Losing sleep while worrying about your design choices is not a good place to be).

Be it a quick refresh or a complete remodel, unexpected meltdowns may happen during the design process, but you can minimize those by opening the lines of communication. Here's a few tips to help you through:

Decide what stays and what goes. If you’re asking your partner to get rid of things, be prepared to do the same. There has to be a clear give-and-take so no one feels that they’re being pushed out of the home or overrun with the other person's design decisions.

Make a list of things that require both partners’ approval, like a new television or dining room table. Larger purchases are usually a good rule of thumb. If it costs over X amount, both people need to agree.

Decide which items you’re both willing to concede on. If you truly don’t care about electronics but are obsessed with what they sit on, divide and conquer. Not everyone has the same love of throw pillows and picture frames, so figure out which things you can each contribute.

Learn to compromise. In a relationship you both bring unique things to the party. You might not love your partner’s Van Halen record collection,and he or she might hate modern country style. Find a middle ground that you both can live with such as putting the records on display in the family room while working in a few country pieces in the guest bath.

Don’t confuse relationship issues with design dilemmas. A lot of pent-up aggression gets released during times of great change.Painting the living room walls shouldn’t degenerate into an argument over whose mother is worse.

Don’t fall prey to stress and exhaustion. Get the rest you need and agree to table deeper discussions later. Make decisions with love and respect. As much as you want to love your space when you walk through the door, your partner should love it just as much.

Create an environment that reflects who you are as a couple and the life that you want to live. By keeping the lines of communication open, setting expectations and being willing to compromise, you can design a space that truly represents everyone who lives there. a color, texture and types of furnishings, and go from there.

Decide ahead of time what your objective is. Be it a quick refresh or a complete remodel, planning is always key...make sure that you and your partner are on the same page about the project's scope and agree on a ballpark cost.

You may think you know your partner inside and out, but strange behavior may occur when you're making seemingly innocuous design decisions. Know this... It is totally normal but can be mildly alarming. To put it bluntly, if you aren’t the only inhabitant of your house, yours isn’t the only design style that counts.Designing can be a very emotional process. You’re changing your day-to-day environment, making countless decisions, solving problems and spending money. There are few things more volatile than expenses in a relationship, and because decor is not always perceived as a necessity (it is for me!), setting expectations ahead of time is critical.

Make decisions with love and respect. As much as you want to love your space when you walk through the door, your partner should love it just as much;keeping the lines of communication open, setting expectations and being willing to compromise, you can create a space that you all love.


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Visual Edge is your exclusive colour consultant for Dulux, Inspirations Paint & Colour & Bunnings Warehouse in the Mid North Coast.

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