How Your Wedding Registry Is Like Couple’s Therapy.
Let’s set the scene, shall we? You grew up on classic preppy movies like Pretty in Pink, Good Will Hunting and The Great Gatsby.
You monogram everything. Tennis whites have their own section in your closet. He grew up hunting, fishing and hiking in Montana, can quote Into the Wild word for word, and can watch Free Solo on repeat. But it works … until you try to pick out a couch together or find dishes you both like.
Don’t despair. Opposites have been attracting since the beginning of time and have some of the best love stories to tell. The Notebook anyone?
We know a lot of couples get stuck trying to blend their interior design styles, and that’s why we decided to consult a professional.
In this post, Houston-based interior designer Danica Brown, founder of Urban Trove, walks us through the steps she takes when helping couples find their common “design” ground. It’s great advice in design and in life.
Step 1: Find Common Ground
Finding common design ground can be hard work, but it’s a good exercise in speaking your mind and listening to each other.
- Pinterest and Houzz are good resources to find interiors you both connect with.
- Take a closer look and break the room or image down into colors, shapes, finishes, patterns and textures. There’s bound to be overlap in at least one of these areas.
- You may prefer linen upholstery, while he is drawn to leather.
- Instead, focus on the shape of the sofa or chair and see if the silhouette is common ground.
- Maybe you both like chrome finishes on light fixtures and lamps … start there! Focus on the things and items you have in common, and that will help you work around the ways that you are different.
Helpful tip: Ask questions. What do you like about this room/ sofa/ fixture/ dish? What don’t you like?
Identifying the details you like and don’t like goes a long way in discovering where you have common ground and where you are willing to compromise. This process works with anything from an entire room to selecting highball glasses for your bar cart.
Step 2: Add Texture
You've probably heard location is key when looking to buy a home, but I say texture is key when it comes to design.
- One foolproof way to mix-and-match interior design styles is to select large items in neutral, solid colors and let the details (pillows, dishes, linens and art) speak to your differences.
- Mixing natural textures like wood, cotton and seagrass with polished modern finishes looks amazing. A variety of textures makes for an interesting room, bookcase or tabletop.
- Adding texture creates an elevated aesthetic no matter what styles you’re blending. Don't forget to mix both warm and cool neutral shades, a pop of black never hurt anyone, and deep navy often translates as a neutral color.
- The Dowry has identified five basic interior design styles so you can shop just one look if you’d like. On The Dowry homepage, click Curation. From the drop-down menu you’ll see:
Look through each design style and notice that most of our home goods fall into at least two different categories. This is a great way to see how color, texture, shape and pattern broaden an item’s appeal across different design styles.
Helpful tip: Pair opposites like organic and luxe textures or polished and honed finishes. Look for ways to bring in materials like jute, wood, slate, clay, marble, cotton and linen.
Step 3: Balance + Invest
If you're anything like me, you can be swept off your feet too easily by showstopper pieces, and by the time you bring together your individual collections, they're fighting for attention.
- Take inventory of the items you each hold dear and why they are important. Maybe they look nothing alike but are related through memories of childhood, travel or emotion. That’s OK. Things work together because you work together.
- Once you're on the same page about the must-have pieces, you can then round out the rest of the space with simple items that allow your eyes and mind to rest.
- Let’s say you have a carved, wooden mask you got on a trip to Africa and he has an industrial collection of old clocks. These items can definitely work together to tell your story. Simply set one of the clocks to local Kenyan time and now your wall tells both stories … together.
- Keep in mind, the showstoppers might be investment pieces, but they're worth it! When you find things you both love, splurge a little if you can. Quality never goes out of style!
Add special details to a coffee station (one-of-a-kind ceramic mugs) and your table (showstopper linens). In my home, we've invested in items for the bar cart like beautiful corkscrews and irreplaceable glassware!
Step 4: Color Play
- A minimalist place setting with traditional linens can absolutely work; there's room for both of you to love what you have!
- One of the hardest things to mix and match is colorful patterns. If you do it wrong, it will make you dizzy. Don't do that to yourself if you’re unsure.
- Identify the cohesive colors early on and filter your selections (no matter the style) through that.
Helpful tip: If you both like different colors, then start by picking a bridge pattern. A bridge pattern should incorporate both of the colors that you want to use and will make everything look intentional!
Step 5: It’s For You (and no one else)
You should love what you have! And let’s face it, marriage involves compromise. Learning to listen to your partner and seeing them happy will bring you joy in the end.
I’m not suggesting you deck out the living room with his old recliners or that he has to love pink, but DO find room for both people to have a voice.
Do this, and you’ve won the marriage/design lottery.
Helpful tip: Let the person who uses the item most have the final say.
My husband is the mixologist in our family. I shopped for a few different styles of barware that all had my approval and let him make the final choice. He loved being part of the process and having a say without spending the dedicated hours narrowing down the choices.
In the end, along with creating a life together, you get to create the kind of environment you both want to live in. Use other homes as inspiration but do your own thing.
Honor one another for your individuality and keep an open mind.
When you both feel represented in your home design, it’s a much more interesting and dynamic result.
Now go out there, register, and make us proud!
Do you have a tip that worked for you? Comment below.