Sharing your space with a roommate definitely has its challenges—putting up with each other’s habits, splitting up chores, keeping track of schedules, and so on. Anyone who’s had share an apartment or condo unit with a roommate can attest to the fact that it’s almost impossible for any two people to see eye to eye on everything, and that includes design.
While it’s hard for two people to agree on every single design decision, it is definitely possible for two viewpoints to come together to create a well-designed space that’s mutually pleasing.
Before tackling a design project with your roommate, here are some helpful tips:
1. Sit down and discuss.
Talk about your design priorities and styles. Also, take note of what you’ll be bringing with you into your shared space, or what you’re willing to let go of. It also helps if you already have the measurements of the space, as well as the furniture you’re bringing in.
2. Learn to compromise.
It’s important to be flexible, with both your roommate and yourself. Maybe you don’t like the coffee table they’re bringing in. But if they’re willing to live with your antique bookshelf that doesn’t really suit their style, maybe you can consider that as fair. What if you both have items that neither of you like? Maybe it’s time to go shopping for something that you both like.
3. Utilize the internet.
If you’re both unsure about how to incorporate furniture or design elements, look for design inspirations on Pinterest or home design sites. Also check out forums or Q&A’s for even the most particular design dilemmas. Chances are someone has gone through a similar situation that can give you a bit of guidance.
4. Ask before bringing in anything.
When buying an item for a shared space, be sure to use what they call the breadbox rule. This rule means if the item is bigger than a breadbox, you should probably discuss it with your roommate before you get it. Small items like throw pillows or knickknacks probably shouldn’t be an issue, but if you’re getting a new living room rug, it might be best to consult with your roommate before you buy it.