WEDDED BLISS Compromise is key to peaceful decorating

It takes more than a certificate to make a happy and successful marriage.
You might have said "I do" to him, but his garage sale couch and velvet horse posters are a different story.
He, on the other hand, can't understand how his beloved bride can love both him and her pastel floral quilt.
Ahhh, married life. Once the wedding is over and the honeymoon tan has faded, most newlyweds discover that it takes more than a marriage certificate to make a happy and successful union. Combining his and her belongings can be a newlywed couple's first challenge together, but one that's absolutely surmountable.
It's never an easy adjustment to accommodate two individual design tastes into one home, but the key to peaceful decorating is the art of compromise. Local design experts offer the following tips for newlyweds who are merging their decorating styles:
UCommon ground. Look for similarities in your design preferences and emphasize those things you both enjoy, rather than focusing on your differences. Perhaps there's a common color scheme, or an artist or art style you both enjoy.
USomething old, something new. As you're merging his and hers existing furnishings, use some wedding gift cash to treat yourselves to a few exciting new purchases for your home. First determine the top renovations or furnishings that will best improve your home, and then figure out a style that will suit both your tastes. New cabinets, flooring or lighting, for example, can give your home a fresh new look -- one that you created together as a couple -- and can also add to the value when it comes time for resale.
UMeet in the middle. Since your home's interior now has to satisfy two people instead of just one, try to find the point of compromise. If you like a traditional plush carpet and he prefers a hardwood floor, choose an oversized area rug to display on a hardwood floor surface.
U"No-critique" zone. Sometimes you have to put aside your differences -- in another room or space, that is. If there's no reconciling certain points of design disagreement, you might opt for a designated room or area for each spouse, filled with each person's favorite collectibles or furnishings. Try to keep the eye-rolling to a minimum in these "no-critique" zones!
UCreate traditions. He's not into your collection of pressed butterflies, and you're not too keen about his beloved baseball cards. Create you own tradition of collecting something you both treasure, perhaps souvenirs from your travels together, or your personal collection of holiday ornaments, or a music "library" of favorite CDs.
UAn eclectic mix. Conformity in decorating can be dull and boring, so embrace your different tastes into an eclectic mix that gives your home a unique style. For example, merge his contemporary leather furnishings with your traditional throw pillows and rugs and create a habitat that works for both bride and groom.
UNo time limit. Don't be too quick to consign his sports paraphernalia or her antique book collection to the trash or thrift store. There's no rush to find your happy medium. Keep sifting through accessories and rearranging your combined furniture for as long as it takes until it feels right for both of you, which could be anywhere from six months to a year.
UHome sweet home. Throughout the decorating process, keep in mind that you'll be sharing wonderful memories in your first home together, regardless of the color of the walls or the design of the ceramic tiles. And as you grow together, your tastes will likely change and possibly converge, so don't fret. What's really important is that the two of you are starting an amazing journey together -- hold onto that thought and everything else becomes a lot simpler.

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