Merging two design styles in a single home

I was sitting at my computer late on a Friday afternoon trying to come up with a new idea for my weekly article, sometimes it’s difficult for me to get creative late in the day!

I took advantage of the wisdom of my co-workers and found a common thread that many of us are going through; there are those of us later in life who are moving into new dwellings with new partners and we are bringing a lot of our baggage with us (maybe emotionally or maybe just clutter!)

This inspired me because I have recently merged homes with my fiancé and we have had an interesting time combining our styles. I have to fight the thought processes that scream ‘I’m the designer, I’ll just do it and it will be fabulous because that isn’t the fairest way to combine design styles. Fortunately I had the majority of the furniture so the house still looks pretty much how I want it to!

Probably the biggest struggle we had was his need for a reclining TV watching chair in the living room, it is difficult to mix contemporary style with reclining furniture. We have looked for quite awhile and I had some lip biting to do while he snuggled into the traditional poufy overstuffed chairs.

I couldn’t imagine a behemoth like that in MY living room! Except now it is OUR living room isn’t it? Eventually my good friends at Sims Furniture helped me find the perfect combination of style and comfort for our home, it is a beautiful leather set that actually has contemporary lines and an ultra comfortable reclining chair. Problem solved.

It can be easy for us as women to overlook our partners’ needs when it comes to designing our homes, women have an overbearing urge to nest wherever we are. Whether we are personalizing our work space or designing our homes, it is instinctual for us to want what we want and how we want it. Instinct aside it is important to remember that we are in a partnership and the love of our life has needs also, even if they say they don’t care what colour the curtains are.

I noticed that my honey always had a pile of his stuff next to his favorite chair. What I perceived as clutter he saw as necessary items that he used everyday; reading glasses, papers, mail and usually a diet coke used to sit on a TV tray beside his chair in his old house.

To compromise and to not have to buy a recliner with flip up arm storage and cup holders I found a whimsical crocodile patent leather end table with two drawers which fit perfectly beside his new chair. It is a fantastic little table and he has all the room he needs for his necessities in a very stylish package.

It is a good idea to have a few conversations regarding each person’s expectations regarding the design of your conjoined space. Do the creepy old pictures of the great grandparents go in the bedroom where the eyes follow you everywhere or do they become part of a vignette in the dining room with other antique pieces from both families? You will find out quite a bit about each other as you create your new love nest as a couple!

Kim Lewis is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre. Contact her at 403-343-7711 ext 227 or email her at

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