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How to marry two households of furniture

Like the ring itself, marrying two houses of furnishings is about values, interests and compatibility. It's not critical your new abode is a shining example of good design. What matters is that you both determine your individual, joint and sometimes children's needs.

First determine your values not "Ours". This means the kind of home is important to you as an individual. Does "home" signify setting a sleek modern table that glistens with every individual piece of silver you place on top of it? Does it mean sinking into that old worn brown leather chair each time you pick up the newspaper? Perhaps home is memories of turning on the Tiffany lamp or snuggling under a handmade quilt you remembered as a child?

Second, have each person list the top five items of furniture you cannot compromise on. If it's seven, list seven; but come to some agreement depending on your new living space. Draw a circle of love (a pie) and divide it by the number of items selected. Combine both of your pies into one new pie. You now see what is valued most and what must be part of your new home.

The third element, but no less important is the function of the individual areas. This relates to how you spend your time at home. Of course, we have cooking, sleeping, entertaining, exercise, etc. However, there are only 168 hours in a week and most of us work at least 8 hours a day plus commute time. Take advantage of that 'off time' and create something personal and enriching. He needs a cave and you need your meditative or exhilarating space. This is where you use your favorite color scheme, textures and objects to enhance your private world.

In the end, you may want to consult an interior designer or Feng Shoi practitioner. If not, don't worry matching everything you own. Remember balance, proportion and scale, play a big part in creating harmony between traditional and modern pieces. Relax about it and have fun. You'll discover your new family life is created by a bit of the past, some of the present and the promise of the future.

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