Moving in

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Decorating tips for couples

“Shacking up”, “taking the (big) next step”, whatever you call it, moving in together is a big step in any relationship. For both parties, moving in with a partner is exciting and fun. Whether you have been together for some time and have decided it is time, or have just met and connected “better than ever with anyone before”, moving in together can test the relationship in ways few other activities as a couple can do.

It can be frustrating when you realise your interior design preferences don’t quite match up as well as your personalities. If you are a homebody with fixed ideas about what your home should look like, this is a time when you need to become more flexible. Opposites might attract, but putting two people with very different ideas about how a home should look, and an eclectic collection of stuff between them can challenge even the best interior designer. Here are some tips to help you smooth the way.

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Moving in
Portrait of couple carrying cardboard box while moving into new home

Make a list

While you will no doubt need to buy some things together, don’t dismiss the stuff you already have. Take some time to look at your existing furniture and home decor items together and decide what you need to keep and what you might want to get rid of before you start to plan. Be open and honest with each other about the non-negotiable items which you will not part with. You don’t want to end up breaking up on the day after your big move over a disagreement about a family heirloom neither of you discussed ahead of time.

If your partner has a terrible piece of furniture they are very fond of, try to remember that you will need to work together so don’t think you can just ignore the proverbial “elephant in the room” and hope it will go away.

Find inspiration

Using tools like Pinterest and other decorating apps you can plan and gather inspiration to decide what type of look you will be trying to create when you move in together. This can help when you go shopping together and help with planning how to pack so everything you need for each room is in the right boxes, making moving day a whole lot easier. Using the list you drew up together look at pictures you have each found on Pinterest and discuss what both of you like, what either of you are indifferent to, and which bits and pieces go with which look.

With visual cues to springboard a discussion of different decorating approaches you a much better idea of knowing what to avoid and what will work for both of you.

Go shopping together

Shopping together helps you to keep a level head and ensure any purchases made for the home you are building together is really what you both want. You might want to go to local antique stores and flea markets, or head to a big store with many flat packed and other options, where you shop will be according to your collective taste and preferences, as well as your budget. Both being present also helps with budget decisions and gives each purchase you make for your home a sense of togetherness which could go a long way towards building a sense of ownership of the space you will be sharing.

Have fun

You are working towards a common goal, and like any other aspect of a relationship, there are times for being serious and time for fun. With all the practical issues you have to deal with in building a shared space, don’t forget to have fun. Moving in to your first home together can be something you will remember fondly for years to come, or cringe and would rather put past you. How you deal with all these matters is up to you.

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