Did you catch the premiere of my YouTube decor and design show?  I’m filming shows that will inspire you and help you love your home.  I hope you’ll join me on YouTube for Real Life Design With Courtney Warren!

It could be marriage, re-marriage, boomerang kids moving home, or elderly parents moving in–whatever prompts the re-arranging of your household to accommodate other people’s tastes and their stuff. And, as a result, sometimes sends you over the edge! Now, my area of expertise is the interior design aspect of merging households.  What to do about your adult child’s love of death metal rock at midnight is a question above my pay grade, but I’m sure you’ll work it out.

Merging Households Tip #1: Talk a lot, and be nice.

How to merge households: whether the decision to combine households was happily anticipated and desired or born of necessity, it will take some flexibility from all parties to make it work.  Think and talk through the needs of everyone: privacy? accessibility? work from home space? When you know what will be needed, you can work together to make it happen. (Need some guidance? I’d love to help you.)
home office corner
For example, we created a needed mini office space in one corner of my client’s bedroom. Or it might involve converting an unused room into a bedroom for Mom.
bedroom before grey blue peaceful bedroom

Merging Households Tip #2: Measure all the spaces to decide what will fit and what has to go.

I can tell you now that, when combining two houses into one, everything from two households will not fit in one home. Consequently, you’ll have to decide what to keep. (See tip No. 1!) To start with, look for duplicates of cookware, dishes and small appliances, and keep the best. A big category is SENTIMENTAL items.  Sort through keepsakes. Maybe you can integrate some family history into the new decor, as I did with my dad’s sports memorabilia in my son’s room.
sport themed boys bedroom
Most importantly, you’re going for a coherent style in the merged areas. Maybe there’s a nostalgic piece of furniture that you decide (together) could be repurposed  in the new space. You can always make a chest into a tv console or a dresser into a sofa table, for instance. Maybe it just needs a coat of paint or new knobs to fit in (or make you not hate it). And of course good quality soft goods can be reupholstered.
drop zone ideas vintage dresser
Sometimes you can merge belongings–such as your art–by creating a gallery wall of your combined pieces.  With decorative items that you decide to keep, you might try rotating pieces in so everyone’s favorites get a viewing.

gallery wall

Merging Households Tip #3: Shop together for new items.

Sometimes, to get a unified look, you have to delete and add. Discuss the new look you’re going for and set your budget for acquiring the larger new pieces. Consult a designer (I happen to know one!) if you need help accommodating the tastes and desires of both of you.

dated living room before living room after redecorating

Merging two lives and homes together can be done without killing anyone! Sometimes, though, you just have TOO MUCH STUFF. As you prepare for your new living arrangement, look for a good book like Let it Go by Peter Walsh or a helpful website to guide you.

Here’s a thought: would you like to submit your merged household dilemma for consideration in my new YouTube series?

If you live in the DFW area, I have good news! For my new YouTube show, I am accepting submissions from families that need a home or room refresh, or even a total makeover! If you are interested, please email [email protected] with the subject “YouTube Makeover”.