Merging your homes

One of the most exciting things about taking that next step with the one you love is creating a space that is yours together. Whether or not you've lived together before, marriage is a great chance to make your home what you really want it to be. Ideally, decorating a first home together begins with the furniture and accessories near and dear to both the bride and groom.

Unfortunately, it's not always that easy – it can be difficult to merge two distinct styles. Maybe you love clean, modern design but your partner's home is full of mismatched furniture and floor coverings; or your couch is full of frilly pink pillows while your guys' is still flanked by his LEGO collection. Can two conflicting schemes co-exist after the couple has crossed the threshold?
Here are a few tips for making the transition a little bit smoother:

* Set the tone: Choose a color scheme together, and creatively arrange furniture and accessories around it. Find a neutral ground to meld his love of earth tones, for example, with her love of soft fabrics. Deciding on a color scheme together will make it easier to find accessories that fit both of your styles.
* Keep it simple: Create an understated, clean look in the bath for him, but add accessories with a dash of color to satisfy a bride-to-be’s lively outlook. Bold shower curtains, wastebaskets and vanity items inject freshness and personality.
* Boudoir basics: Usher in a new home with a fresh set of bedding; couples can look for a variety of styles and colors designed to be dressed up or left as is for a classic look. Decorative pillows, shams, coverlets and throws complete the look and are a great way for wedding guests to add to the couple’s cozy love nest.
* Style staples: If he loves a more modern style, but she wants a retro feel, furniture options in leather, metal, hardwood and wicker can readily mesh both personalities.
* Merge moods: She’s a homebody; he likes the outdoors. For bedrooms and living rooms, couples can combine sensibilities with bedding and furniture that brings the outside in, and vice versa. Try mixing a table from one line with a chair from another — mixing it up is a playful way to punch up the personality of a room.

Just like in the corporate world, mergers can either run smoothly or be a headache. By focusing on the sensibilities the bride and groom share — rather than just the differences — creating a first home together can be one merger full of fringe benefits.

And about those differences. Be sensitive to each others' needs - our possessions can hold important memories for us, so be ready to compromise, and keep a few things you might not choose for your home.