Designing As a Couple: How Our Opposing Aesthetics Built Our Cozy Space

Image Source:    Elle Decor , Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan home

Image Source: Elle Decor, Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan home

A lot of time, effort, and patience was involved in designing my current living room space. First, it took us nearly a decade to find a couch we could both agree on.

Originally I wanted blue velvet, with a powdery pink velvet couch being a close second choice. He wanted something a bit more masculine and timeless.

We were on opposing ends with our style and it took us a couple of years after getting married to truly understand and respect each others aesthetic. 

From there we learned that a mid-century modern aesthetic speaks to both of us. It’s the perfect harmony of masculinity and femininity allowing me to layer in my quirkiness via home accessories.

It also features lots of warm-toned wooden details - perfect for my husband who dabbles in woodworking and has designed some of the furniture in our home. 

For me, the mid-century modern aesthetic provided me with a neutral canvas to inject my personal style. Similar to my principle of putting an outfit together, I start with a foundation of quality basics - in this case, a tailored, button-tufted brown leather sofa, a simple marble coffee table, and a solid wall-mounted shelf.

Accessories are key in how I bring a space to life and I use art, colour, rugs, pillows, and plenty of colour and texture to layer in everything that I truly love. 

For us as a couple, it’s about creating a space that’s balanced with both of our aesthetics, again him being more classic and mine being more eclectic. 

There is this one piece of art in our living room by Roy Ahlgren called Homage to The Cross that I adore more than anything. Every time I look at it, it makes my heart soar. I know I may sound a little exaggerated, but it’s the best and most honest way to describe how this particular piece makes me feel.

My husband, however, could care less, seeing it in more simplistic terms as a cross, but I see it for its complexity and creativity.

Luckily, he respects my eye and my love of art enough to let me have this one, but he’s no pushover and if he dislikes something, he’ll let me know. 


My Three Components For Designing A Space - buy pieces you love, go for quality, think about long term use when making big purchases like a dining table or couch.

Image Source:    Elle Decor , Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan

Image Source: Elle Decor, Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan


It can get a little overwhelming when making a bigger purchase like a sofa or dining room table so how do you know when it’s the right piece? Well, I want to tell you that it’s really as easy as following your instinct and buying what you love and truly makes you happy. 

I’m big into Pinterest (follow me here!) and when I went back into my secret mood board called “dream home”, I immediately noticed some commonalities. I’d been pinning mid-century modern inspired homes for years!

Interestingly enough, a lot of the spaces I was pinning featured the exact Herman Miller Bubble Pendant lamp that we now have hanging in our living room!

Of course, my inspiration wasn’t just limited to Pinterest. When I visited The Ludlow Hotel in New York for the first time, I felt like I had just stepped into my dream space. I took note of the elements that I loved and brought the concepts into my home.

The leather couch for example accented with the black and white striped wool rug. It was also a pairing I had once seen Nate Berkus put together and I was so taken by it that I printed out the image and had it on my mood board for many years. 

From Pinterest to magazines and travel, inspiration is everywhere. It’s just a matter of paying attention to what you’re drawn to, to bring those elements into your home. 

I don’t focus too much on how things go together because I’m consistently drawn to the same colours and patterns. Somehow, it always ends up working. 


Image Source:    Pinterest

Image Source: Pinterest


As mentioned earlier, it took us a couple of years before we finally understood our common aesthetic as a couple. One of the first pieces we bought when we finally really got serious about decorating our space was a marble coffee and side tables. We happen to score them on sale and we knew that they were neutral enough to go with anything else that followed. 

The tanned leather couch came next. It was comfortable to sit in and most importantly for my husband, it was long enough for him to fully extended his legs when napping - not always an easy find with a 6’1” frame. 

I’d already had tons of art from years of collecting, so from there, it was just a matter of grouping everything into colours that flowed well.

My main gallery wall features a mix of photography and art prints and so I used pink as my accent colour to tie it all in. Keep in mind that having one prominent colour or pattern will bring even the most eclectic space together. 



  • FIND YOUR AESTHETIC. If you have a partner, find that balance together. You want to build a personal space that’s relaxing to come home to and brings joy.

  • TAKE YOUR TIME AND HAVE PATIENCE. I’ve been collecting art prints for over a decade before it all finally came together and I was able to finally create the gallery wall I’d always wanted.

  • ENJOY THE PROCESS of acquiring things that will bring your home together.

  • GO FOR QUALITY AND BE THOUGHTFUL ABOUT WHAT YOU BUY. Even if it costs a little more, it’s worth it if you intended on keeping your pieces for a long time. There’s nothing that irks me more than wobbly chairs and lumpy couches. In my opinion, poorly made stuff is a waste of money that will inevitably fall apart and end up in the landfill.