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Combining Your Roommate's Style With Your Own

By Kaitlin Hurtado

When you move out for the first time, you will soon realize that living on your own is very expensive. One of the quickest ways to cut living expenses is to add at least one roommate so that the amount of money you pay is cut by half. There is plenty that can go right with having a roommate: less expensive rent, an extra person to keep watch over the apartment when you are gone, and good company. There is also plenty that can go wrong, like clashing personalities or living styles. Lucky for you, there are also steps you can take to minimize the amount of clashing that takes place between one of your roommates.

Conflict can often break out when it comes to decorating your living space when you and your roommates have different styles. Instead of letting the issue create a rift between you and your roommate, try some out some of the following tips to help you and your roommate out when combining your roommate's style with your own.

 

Discuss your "must-haves"

When you have a different style than your roommate and you need to start combining your roommate's style with your own, it is easier to view it as a negotiation. Just like any negotiation, start it out by defining what each roommate really wants (and really doesn't want) at the end of the process. It is a bit more complicated when it comes to decorating your living space, as each person's "must-haves" can be the things that clash the most when it comes to style. Despite their name, "must-haves" do not necessarily have to be things that have to end up in your shared space, but can act as great starting parts when it comes to combining your roommate's style with your own.

For example, one roommate may like an extremely bright space with lights in every corner and everything with light colors to make space look a lot brighter than it actually is. However, you may like a more dim approach to make your living space look more cozy and comfortable. Those are two very opposing styles, but rather than rule one out in favor of the other, combine them. Rather than putting lights everywhere or holding back the lighting, try finding a middle ground where both of you are happy. Different sources of light and various ways of controlling natural light can be plenty of help. Instead of putting lamps everywhere and getting sheer curtains to let as much natural light in as possible, try getting lighting options that offer different levels of light. Light bulbs with dimming options or yellow versus white light can help control how bright a room can get and help both of you feel comfortable in your space.

Break up space for individual style

Sometimes styles will clash and rather than stopping the clashing of styles, embrace them by placing each style in your living style. Break down the living space that you are working with each space as something you can work on as an individual space. If you are working on decorating your room, designate parts of the space to each person. Try grouping each person's belongings, like one half of the room holds your bed, desk, and other belongings and the other half holds your roommate's belongings. Each person should be able to decorate their half as they please.

Think of them as two separate rooms, if it is harder for you to do so visually, try physically breaking up space. Get a room divider or two to make clear divides between the different sides of the room and styles. Or, instead of a room divider, choose a piece of furniture that you both can use to make the "room divider" more functional. Try out a bookcase - it can serve as the place marker where you and your roommate's sides meet, and also serve as a place where you can store belongings and decor.

Start small when combing styles

Shared spaces like living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms are going to be harder as they are the rooms where everyone has an equal right to the space. Rather than going all-in on one person's style like you may have done with individual sides of a shared room, try placing touches of each person's style into shared spaces to make each person feel like their style is represented in the shared spaces.

There are various ways to incorporate different styles in small ways: decorate pillows, rugs, potted plants, tapestries, art prints, and so much more. These "small touches" can contribute to the living space looking a lot more lived-in and cozy. Combining multiple styles does not have to have visually clashing decor when you limit representative styles to smaller touches throughout a shared space.

Combining your roommate's style with your own does not have to result with you being unhappy in your space. As long as you put effort into making sure each person feels represented in your living space, you both can enjoy a space that reflects the both of you and makes you feel comfortable to call home.


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