Communal Living: Décor Tips For Houseshares

by Editor on June 7, 2013

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With house prices in major cities way beyond what most young people can afford, many twenty-somethings and an increasing number of thirty-somethings have found that renting with friends is the only viable option for flying the parental nest.

But how do you compromise when it comes to sharing the space décor-wise? Here are some interior design tips for house-sharers.

Shared Storage

It makes sense that editing and de-cluttering your possessions frees up space in your shared house, so be ruthless! That way you can all store your books and DVDs on the same shelves in the living room and prevent clashing piles of clutter cropping up everywhere.

Unless your housemates are very possesive of their worldly belongings and want to keep their stuff separate from yours, why not colour-coordinate your ‘junk’ so that it looks pretty, not messy? Reserve one shelf for red books, trinkets and photo frames, one for blue, one for black and so on.

Shared Seating

If you want a house that has a ‘come back to our place’ vibe, you have to have the seating to accommodate. Some seating, like armchairs, are just built for one, and other seating like long, straight sofas aren’t very group-friendly. No one likes to be the one left at the end of a long row of people!

Instead, look for circular seating options or, if that’s too expensive, buy a few chairs and arrange them in a half-moon around a coffee table.

Invest in ottomans (that often double as storage boxes) or get a long wooden bench seat instead of dining chairs. Utilize alcoves for extra seating too. If you live in shared accomodation and everyone likes to have friends over regularly, you can never have too much seating!

Guest Bedding

Buying a futon instead of a sofa is a good idea if you want to host guests frequently. For a look that’s less nineties, opt for a daybed in your living room instead. Both of these double up as handy seating (see the point above!) when not in use as beds, so they’re a much more stylish alternative to a fold-away bed that looks ugly in a corner or takes up space in your wardrobe.

If you don’t want to store lots of spare duvets and pillows, sprinkle your sofa and armchairs with pretty cushions and top them with colour-coorindated throws. For guests just staying a night or two, those will do as blankets!

Mixing Styles

You may be sharing with people who have conflicting tastes, but if you gather your best accessories together you should be able to reach a compromise. Instead of hanging pictures on every wall, which can appear cluttered, make a feature out of them and group them altogether into a gallery display.

If you all have very different tastes and aren’t keen on the eclectic look, why not pick a room each to decorate? One person gets the lounge, one gets the kitchen, one the office and so on.

Do you have any house sharing tips? Comment below!

About the Author

Estelle Page is a UK-based interior designer who spent most of her early twenties living in house-shares with other students and young professionals, so she knows a thing or two about making the decor work when you’ve all got conflicting tastes!

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