Home design for him and her

Interior design for couplesPic: Getty

Moving in together is a big step in any relationship, but the excitement and romance of sharing your lives can give way to tension when it comes to sharing your belongings. After all, keeping a toothbrush in the bathroom is one thing - combining two very different tastes in decor something else entirely.

If you are taking the plunge with your partner though, working together to design your perfect pad will help both parties to adapt, so consider these tips for creating a harmonious home.

Talk it through
Whether you or your partner is moving into the other's home, or you have finally taken the plunge and rented or bought a property together, it's essential to talk through those things each party cannot live without. It might be a favourite chair, an adored sofa, or even a piece of art that one or other can't bear to part with. Once you've listened to each other's must-haves and pet hates, you'll both stand a better chance of combining your belongings.

Have a clear out
If your partner is moving into your place, it's important that they have their space. Let's face it, if you've already got a cluttered home, it'll only get worse when there's someone else living there, so destress with a declutter before the moving date.

To really make them feel comfortable, free up cupboards, shelves and wardrobe space so that your other half can straight away start to feel like it's their home too. This can prove a particularly useful ploy in the bathroom, where space is often tight.

Colour combos
If she's into feminine florals and he prefers bachelor pad black, finding a compromise might seem like an impossible task. But you don't have to resort to white walls to please everyone if you're clever with your colours.

For instance, colour combinations such as orange and duck egg blue go wonderfully together, and can give a feminine feel but with a bold, masculine pattern or design. Blues and greens are similarly versatile - think pale blue-grey walls for femininity, with stronger accents in gender-neutral green. Coffee and cream is another classic complementary combo that will exude luxury without offending either's sense of style.

Once you've decided on a colour combination that fits both your tastes (and this is where interior design mags and paint testers really come into their own), you can piece together a bedroom or living room that you'll both love, with lighter, more feminine touches against a dark feature wall, or bold accents to offset pale colours and pastels.

Style solutions
Much as colour can be combined very successfully to suit both genders, so too can varying style preferences. Hopefully both parties can agree on a colour scheme that suits, and with that in mind, choosing the right furniture, fittings and accessories should be a breeze.

Contrasting styles can, in fact, work very well if done correctly and with thought. Pretty, soft white bedding might not be to his taste, but set on a dark wood or modern, iron-framed bed, with a few accented cushions for colour and a smoky grey wall as a backdrop, it's a boudoir that both will be happy to spend time in.

Similarly, a classic, Chesterfield style sofa will sit wonderfully in a period home, but can be modernised with contemporary colours, accents or lighting elsewhere in the living room, giving you the best of both worlds.

Have you successfully adapted and combined your partner's and your style and design ideas? What advice would you give to couples about to take the plunge? Leave your comments below...