Roommate Dilemma: Decorating with Different Tastes

My boyfriend and I may look all happily coupled up in our first place, but the process of decorating has been far from a breeze. Everything is all fun and games, until you have to agree upon a color scheme. Things become even more complicated if you have different tastes. In my case, very different tastes. To top it all off, I have been dreaming of decorating my own apartment for years, and the idea of compromising my vision was enough to send me into anxiety attacks (seriously, I have numerous Pinterest boards dedicated to this monumental life moment).

There is good news! It is possible to work together and end up with fabulous decor. Below are my tips for combining your styles and keeping everyone happy in your new home.

Pick Your Rooms

caitlincouchfinished2As they say, divide and conquer! Okay, that’s a bit cheesy, but in all seriousness this method really helped me and my boyfriend avoid a slew of arguments. We simply agreed upon which rooms we would be in charge of decorating. It is important to understand that not all rooms are created equal. For instance since my boyfriend got full control of the living room, I got both the bedroom and dining room (neither of us really felt like fighting for the kitchen or bathroom). Now the reason this worked so well is because even though we had the final say in our rooms, we always kept what the other person liked in mind. We will able to slowly build a mutual respect for each other’s design aesthetic, which helped us get past the dreaded “I hate everything you like,” stage. 

(The couch, our big splurge item, came from Penny Mustard, a local furniture store. Our rug is from West Elm.)

Mix and Match

Here is one of my favorite decorating tips, play with a mix of different styles. An apartment that is decorated all in one aesthetic can feel very bland. For example, my Franky loves a clean modern look. If we were to buy all furniture and accessories that fit this description our place would end up feeling very cold and onenote. Instead, we mixed in bohemian and mid century pieces that I prefer, to create something that is more unique and intriguing.

Show Visuals

An extremely essential part of successfully living with someone else is communication. When it comes to decor, I’ve found that the best way to make sure everyone is on the same page is to use pictures to convey your vision. I mainly used Instagram and Pinterest (I know, I’m not very original) to show my boyfriend potential decorating ideas. This method worked wonders. Before I would use words like “industrial” or “eclectic” and there would be a disconnect between what each of us pictured.

Last but not least, Compromise!

If you are planning on living with someone else, consider compromise your new best friend. It will keep everyone sane when making decisions. The philosophy goes like this: you give a little, you get a little. Maybe the apartment you ended up with was your favorite, so you give more decorating control to your roommate. Find what works for you, and enjoy making your first apartment into a space you both love!


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Author My First Apartment
Caitlin C

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Caitlin recently graduated with her Bachelor's in Fashion Marketing, and has accepted a corporate position outside of Milwaukee, WI. She is quite anxious to begin this journey since it involves many new experiences such as living with her boyfriend, starting her first post-college job, and attempting to remain healthy in a city known best for its beer, brunch, and cheese. She plans to keep herself busy by blogging, reading, and learning about wine.

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