How To Settle Roommate Decorating Dilemmas

You’ve found the perfect roommate. She’s funny, clean, pays her rent on time, and is courteous—but—you can’t stand her decorating taste. What do you do? It’s technically her space too, so how do you make your shared space look cohesive? Agree to disagree, by setting up these rules. Here’s how to handle roommate decorating dilemmas:

Compromise With The Magic Number Three

To keep things fair and civil, each person is allowed to pick three things that they absolutely want to have in the room. Be smart about what objects you are choosing. You don’t want doubles of the same things. For example, it would look strange to have two clocks or two coffee tables in one room. Talk about what items are the most important to you and why. Sometimes, once you hear the backstory or understand the sentimental value, you’ll be more at ease with the design choice.

Rotate Out With The Seasons

What if you come to a stalemate? You have chosen your three things, and so has your roommate, and you’re both adamant that you want your lamp in the room. If both items can’t fit in the same space, then agree to rotate the piece out. If you have a year lease, then rotate the items after six months. It’s one of those times where you agree to disagree. Plus, changing up the room every now and then can be fun.

Designate Design Areas

If your tastes are on opposite ends of the spectrum, then try to keep things that go together in specific areas. If one person loves mid-century modern, and the other person loves rustic styles, then things can start to look strange. Both of those styles are great in their own right, but the space will feel disjointed if it’s a hodgepodge in one space. One person can decorate the kitchen, while the other is able to style the living room. Having different feels for different areas of the apartment will help the space appear more thought out and well put together.

Both Are Allowed One Veto

Both roommates are allowed to veto one item that the other roommate chooses. Maybe you use it, and maybe you don’t. It’s good to have just in case. There might be something that you think looks amazing, but your roommate wants to gag every time they walk in the door. It’s their space too, and it’s only fair that they feel relaxed and enjoy their home as well. This also is a good strategy for moving in with a significant other. Your boyfriend may love his football poster, but if you don’t want to look at it while you’re eating dinner, then maybe it’s time to veto it.

Be kind when you veto the item. Things are meaningful to people, so be caring when you explain why you are vetoing the item.

If your item was vetoed, this doesn’t mean that you have to get rid of it. You can put it in storage, or keep it in your room where your roommate won’t see it. That way, you can still enjoy it.

Unify With Color

Choose 2-4 colors that you and your roommate like and stick with those for your decorations. As long as you stick with the same color palette, things in different styles will look intentional and will pull the whole room together.

Negotiating or coming to a compromise on design decor may not be your favorite process, but at the end of the day, it is fair. As with anything, have clear and open communication between you and your roommate to settle disagreements. Keep a cool and calm head while talking and stick to these rules to keep things civil. After a while, I’m sure you’ll grow to love your eclectic shared space!

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