How to Deal with a Roommate with Bad Taste

It’s so exciting when you move to get a clean slate, like a new dorm room or apartment to bring your decorating visions to life.

And then you throw a roommate into the mix, and things can sometimes get tricky.


Whether you are rooming with your best friend or a random you happened to find on Facebook, decorating your new place can have its challenges–especially if you have completely different tastes. Unfortunately, this can end up putting a strain on the relationship or even hurt feelings. In order to avoid conflicts and/or resolve any that may arise, here are some tips on how to handle a roommate with bad (or different) decorating taste:

Plan Ahead

If you have time before you move in start exploring each other’s styles. Ask your future roomie to get on Pinterest and create a secret board between the two of you. You can both add to it and this way you know exactly what you are getting into with their personal style. Agree on a color scheme for each room you will be sharing. I would advise doing neutrals because it is the easiest route to go. You can use color in the decorations such as pillows, blankets, rugs, etc. When the time comes, shop together instead of individually. This saves you that whole ride home of being excited of something you bought that you’re going to have to take back next week. If something is bought individually, show the other person first instead of just putting it in their living space. This gives them a chance to let you know if they don’t like it.

Be Honest

If you don’t like something, like the large leopard print chair, in the nicest way possible, ask him or her if he or she could put it in their room instead of the common living space you share. If you don’t, you’ll create a special hatred for it (and possibly try and get the cat to knock it over on “accident”…. Yeah guilty.) Honestly being passively aggressive isn’t good for anyone. Be open with your roommate. But know that also means abiding by that rule yourself. If they don’t like something of yours, take it to your room. And don’t take it personally.

Use What You Have (to an extent)

This can sometimes be difficult, but can save you a lot of money Make a list of what you have from your previous places. Decide on what you like and what you think can be revamped or painted to match your desired (and agreed upon) style. Say you both have couches the you want to bring, but they don’t match- invest in couch covers. I’ll never forget when one of my roommates brought her grandma’s bright blue and yellow plaid couch into our place. I almost lost my shit, but instead pulled it together and offered the cover idea and it worked for everyone.

Don’t Go Halfsies on the Big Items

It’s fine to split the cost of small things around the apartment, but when it comes to the more expensive stuff like tv’s, couches, kitchen tables always take turns. This eliminates the headache of deciding who gets what once someone moves out. I don’t recommend the ‘buying out’ strategy either. That’s when each roommate splits the cost, but when the time comes to go your separate ways on of the roommates wants to calculate the “depreciated value” and pay the other(s) out. Yeah, no bueno. That usually ends with someone getting ripped off and then cue the waterworks or the cat fight.

Take Advantage of your Personal Space

If you’re feeling a little creatively slighted, go to town on your bedroom. It shouldn’t be a surprise that you might have to give up a lot more than you thought you would within the rest of your apartment or house. Use your room as your creative outlet and maybe spend a little money on it to make it your perfect room that you can always go to and admire your style in.

All in all–as much as having your space the exact way you want it might make you happy, having a positive relationship with your roommate will probably make you happier and alleviate a lot of stress. Sometimes we must compromise and find a happy medium with someone else in order to create a happy and healthy living space.
And don’t worry, this won’t be your last place to decorate!