I recently worked with a Toronto couple who found themselves on opposite sides of the style fence. She prefers traditional design, while he's more a fan of contemporary aesthetics. Their living/dining area reflects some of the compromises we made during their renovation project. For example, the dining table was quite traditional, but we painted the chairs white to modernize the overall impression. If you and your partner are considering a renovation, here's some guidance to help you know where to start – and how to keep the peace.
1 To begin, each of you should take time to go through decorating magazines and tear out pictures of rooms you like. Come together with your inspirational tear sheets and talk about how the rooms in each picture make you feel. Consider the atmosphere each of you is hoping to achieve with your renovation. You may find that although each photograph represents a different style, there's a consistency in the mood or energy of the rooms each of you selected. Maybe they're all serene and peaceful or, conversely, full of colour and drama. That's a place to start.
2 If you've chosen rooms that represent a variety of moods, that's fine, too. Separate the inspiration photos by atmosphere. From there, determine which of your own rooms might benefit from the feeling represented in them. A bedroom may be an ideal space to recreate the quiet calm you imagine when looking at certain shots. The family room may be the place to aim for the cosy feel your spouse likes when reading or watching TV, or perhaps to introduce a bright, energetic vibe for busy toddlers. Or maybe you come to the conclusion that you want every room to invite relaxation. Remember to look for compromises: if he's the family chef, his design desires might come first in the kitchen; if her favourite room is the bathroom, let her wishes take precedence there.
3 Narrow down your selections to three or four per room that come closest to meeting each design vision. Once they're grouped by mood according to which of your rooms can work within those boundaries, you're ready to move forward.