Four Ways to Create a Home Both Adore

UPPER SADDLE RIVER, N.J. - Whether moving in together for the first time or redecorating a home you already share, the mantra is "don't sweat the small stuff" and a couple's décor differences is one issue that can easily be avoided. Rather than having one compromising and one satisfied partner, simply know where men and women generally differ on the topic and then look for common ground to create a well-balanced décor.

1. Color
Masculine tastes tend to run from rose paint samples while feminine tastes are often drawn to such colors. People can have their retreats to express their own styles but for main areas, there certainly needs to be a compromise - even if honeysuckle pink is the color of the year. Instead of more masculine hassle-free neutral whites, deep browns and greens or traditionally feminine pastels and warmer tones, meet in the middle. Choose sage greens, cerulean blue, taupe and other hues that satisfy many women's need for color but are neutral enough for him to rest easy.

2. Essential Accessories
When decorating, one partner may focus on the functional items in the room while the other may aim for all elements to be more fashionable. Strike a balance with furnishings that serve both interests. Please both parties by adding attractive and useful surround-sound with discreet speakers and a sleek flat screen TV in the media room and modern stainless steel appliances in the kitchen. For any room, window fashions, whatever the style, can be a unifying design element as long as they aren't overly fussy.

For the ideal blend of form and function, Hunter Douglas offers a wide array of window dressing styles. These include everything from new Natural ElementsT blinds that mix ultra-modern two-inch metal slats with the warmth of real wood accents to Duetter Architellar honeycomb shades that save energy and heating and cooling costs - two resources both parties will be pleased in conserving. The shades have a highly insulating cell-within-a-cell honeycomb structure that traps air and can potentially more than double the energy efficiency of a window. Additionally, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, federal tax credits for energy-efficient products are available for 10 percent of the cost of most Duette Architellar shades, up to a maximum of $500 in total, when purchased and installed through December 31, 2011, provided the expense meets the tax guidelines. These are the first and only window shades to qualify for the tax credit without add-on insulation systems. More information on the tax credit is available at hunterdouglas.com/taxcredit.

3. Furniture
While it is common for some to choose furniture based on its look, for many comfort is the real key. Rather than make a museum of fashionable furniture you hesitate to even sit on, include pieces that are inviting. Try couches, chairs and loveseats that are chic but pass the test of proper cushioning and that accommodate all sizes. Additionally, it is not just the actual furniture but also the arrangement that is essential to a well-designed space for both sexes. Forget wallflower furniture where everything is lined up along the walls. Place furniture so that each piece relates to the other to promote conversation and a relaxing environment. Additionally, seating should have footstools and tables to rest legs and a drink for an easy social space.

4. Pattern
Just as picking a neutral pattern for a couple's fine china can be a harbinger against the ceaseless evolution of trends, choose prints to incorporate in the home that both parties will appreciate now and into the future. Leave the paisley, florals and toile for more feminine retreats in the home. For common areas, integrate gender-neutral stripes, plaids and even worldly designs such as Ikat or Moorish patterns. Also, mix furniture pieces, textures and patterns to create a room that is authentically yours and able to fuse a variety of design sensibilities into an interesting and eclectic look.

By avoiding a few minefields of décor that might only appeal to one half of a couple, it can be easier than ever to create a home you're both are proud to call your own and which you've enjoyed creating together.

Hunter Douglas, Inc., is a national sponsor of Habitat for Humanity, covering windows in every Habitat home built in the U.S. and Canada. Headquartered in Upper Saddle River, N.J., the company is the leading manufacturer of custom window fashions in North America. For more information, contact Hunter Douglas at 1-800-274-2985 or visit www.hunterdouglas.com.


Sarah Fletcher/Kimberly Babcock
1-800-742-3464; ext. 120, 121