Have you ever walked into someone’s living room and thought, “Oh my. I feel like I just stepped into Hello Kitty hell.”

If you love Hello Kitty, you would welcome that hell. But if you don’t, you would want to run far, far away.

Thousands of roomies across the globe struggle with their roommate’s idea of “good” design choices. The question is: How do you handle it?

1) Find a Middle Ground

If you’re totally into Goth and your roommate eats, breathes, and sleeps Hello Kitty, there’s no question that you’re on opposite ends of the design spectrum. But agreeing to make changes that serve the both of you early on can thwart any potential conflict when it comes to creating a living space that is comfortable for you both.

How do you do this, you ask?

Speak up during the viewing of the apartment and before you sign an agreement. You could say something like, “I wonder, is it possible to make this common space something that fits the both of us? Perhaps choosing basic themes and colors that speak to who we are as individuals so we can both enjoy our time here.”

The right roommate will understand that the main rooms in the house are meant to be shared and, therefore, agree to a change. The wrong roommate will stand by her Hello Kitty statue and accent pillows until the earth crumbles.

Decide wisely.

2) Make a Plan Together

Sticking with the Goth / Hello Kitty quandary, let’s talk about sitting down together and recreating a mutual living space. Here’s what something like this can do for the two of you:

  • Help you get to know one another
  • Choose colors and themes that fit both of your tastes
  • Create a space that is a comfortable domain for the both of you

Maybe you like the color purple. Maybe he or she is spiritual. Discovering the meaning of colors can pull both of these elements together. So while he’s all Zen sitting on his meditation cushion in the living room, you can still dig the color of the walls without saying “Ooommmmm.”

You can do the same thing with furniture. Maybe compromise with Hello Kitty Goth accent pillows for the couch? (Yes, there is such a thing.)

By making a plan together, you can step away knowing that your mutual living space is tolerable for the both of you.

3) Decorating Your Own Personal Space

The good news about compromise is that you both have leverage in saying, “You can put that Hello Kitty statue in your bedroom and it can still stay in the apartment. How ‘bout that?”

They’ll go all out pink, you’ll go all out Goth.

Your bedroom is yours. You can do whatever you like in this area.

Creating a personal space that belongs solely to you allows for more compromise in the common areas, including the bathroom and the kitchen.

If you have to share a bedroom, split the cost of a room divider or shoji screen. As long as you agree on where the divide is, there should be no issue when it comes to decorating your half of the room.

When All Else Fails…

If neither one of you can decide on colors or design, choose very neutral pigments and basic furnishings.

It might be fun to then implement a little bit of each subculture into the neutral space. There’s no sense in throwing the baby out with the bathwater, right? Save the baby. And the Hello Kitty Goth accent pillows. You’ve got to admit, they’d make great conversation pieces.