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By Emma Smith

Designer and stylist Anastasia Dinos says merging his and her interior tastes is one of the top challenges clients throw at her.

Luckily, the founder of Mood Design doesn’t shy away from a tricky design problem and is also happy to share her advice on blending styles, whether it’s as a couple prepares to start living under the same roof for the first time or if they’ve been sharing a home for a few years.

“You need to approach this with an open mind and let go of any emotional attachment to your personal stuff,” Ms Dinos says.

“Remember there are two of you in this relationship and compromising plays a big part in everything you do, and it certainly applies to design and interiors.”

Ms Dinos argues design is not about matching colours and décor, in fact she says matching is boring.

“Design is about creating a style or an experience that is unique to you,” Ms Dinos says.

“Your home should tell a story about you, the people who live in it, and it should evoke a feeling that makes you both feel good. The question is, how do we do this?”

Ms Dinos’ top tips to mixing styles successfully:

Compromise and let it go
I’m well aware compromising is easier said than done, but I will tell you that a big part of this step is emotional detachment to ‘stuff’. By ‘stuff’, I mean the simply physical objects you’ve acquired over time that will trigger memories and symbolise achievements. Parting with these things will not kill the memories. This step is about creating new memories and a new beginning minus the clutter. Take a big leap of faith and acknowledge your emotional attachment before moving on.

Agree on your design
Find something you both love and build inspiration from there. Each of you should pick two big or small objects that must stay. You will choose them based on how they make you feel or how much you love their aesthetic. Do they light you up and make you happy? Can you see this item in your ideal future home? Once you’ve both put aside your ‘must keep’ items, work out what it is about them that you love and try to define a concept word for the combined style.

Clean up
You both may have the same furniture and decor and so there’s no point keeping two of everything. That’s called clutter. Be cool with parting ways with the things you care the least about. Refer to your agreed concept and decide whether the item meets the criteria or not.

Start designing
Always refer back to your design concept to keep you focused and on track, especially when you see shiny new things in the shops. Don’t let them distract you. My best tip for selecting furniture and decor is this – as long as you have colour, pattern, or style in common the rest is easy. Find one or two things in common with your selections and they will work together. Go shopping together. Now I’m no relationship guru but I know this is just as much about creating a harmonious home as it is about strengthening your relationship. Being focused on one concept will make the experience much more targeted, specific and quick.

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