Living With A S.O — Keeping *Our* Space *Yours*

Moving into a new place can be the perfect opportunity for a *fresh start* in your decor, but what happens when you’re moving in with your s.o. + you have two people who have to be happy? While you want your home to feel yours, you have to keep in mind you’re not the only one living there — your s.o. also needs to have the home feel like theirs. Between having different styles + expectations, creating a co-habitating space can cause quite a few fights between you and your s.o. Below are some tips on making this transition process a bit smoother, giving advice on making creating a space you both can love + call home.

Side note: If you are moving into your s.o’s already established place, these tips can come in handy, but we recommend doing them in smaller steps — moving into someone’s place + changing everything about it can be overwhelming to everyone. Instead, sit down + discuss some things you’d want to change right now to make the place feel more like yours. After you get through the initial problems and let some time pass,, then you can sit down + talk about re-doing the place to be both of yours.

ESTABLISH A BUDGET

Before starting anything, you + your partner should sit down + decide on guidelines for decorating. Nothing will kill the vibe [+ cause a ton of fights // heartache] as going decor shopping without a budget. You don’t need to have things down to the dime, but having an idea of what each other would be willing to pay for things will make a huge difference. Here’s an article about talking about a budget for the first time.

If money is an issue in decorating, keep pieces to use in the meantime, but update pieces as you get money for them. Ex: Kitchen items can be mix and matched at first, but as you have the time, start curating pieces for a cohesive style, like buying a new set of dishes + then buying new utensils.

DON’T BLEND STYLES

At this point, you both have been curating your own individual style — certain pieces of furniture or decor, color schemes, etc. When you’re bringing your things together, it might end up looking like a mashed-up mess with multiples of furniture. Before doing anything, both of you should go through your things + keep sentimental or *need-to stay* pieces. My boyfriend + I sat down + each picked a few pieces which were 100% for us. After laying out these things, we were able to better see if anything went together color // style wise. Then, you should go through everything else, getting rid of anything you + your partner decide on that doesn’t make sense for your new place. While it may be sad to say goodbye to some of your furniture [especially if you’ve had it for years through childhood or college] think of this as an exciting time where you can now get rid of your hand-me-down furniture. Now, you can select pieces for you and your partner, together, to give both partners a sense of entitlement to the furniture.

Next, it’s time for a clean start. In order for your new place to not look like a thrift store made up of random furniture [unless that’s your style!] it makes the most sense to get rid of everything you don’t need + start new. My suggestion: start a Pinterest board for house inspo + show it to your s.o. Listen to what they have to say about your picks + use this as a guide to figure out both of your styles! If you both seem to lean on a certain layout or color scheme, you now have a base for how to start curating a cohesive style.

HAVE SEPARATE SPACES TO YOURSELVES

It can be hard to adjust to living with your s.o in that you no longer can go home when you want to have alone-time. Even if all of the rooms belong to both of you, you each can [+should] section of a space that can be yours. This doesn’t mean each person needs their own *off-limits* rooms, BUT each person should have a space that can be designated to be their own.  For example, I love napping, so the bedroom is a really important room to me. My boyfriend on the other hand doesn’t really care about how the bedroom looks // feels. Instead, the living room is an important space for him as that is where he likes to spend a lot of his time. Once we established these rooms as important spaces for each other, we each took the lead on decorating the respective rooms of importance to us.

In the room I took the lead, my boyfriend approved items I chose. This way, he still had some say in how the room looked, BUT it was mostly my creation, with some of his important items being added. The same went for the living room — he was able to take the lead on pieces he wanted, while also being respectful if I absolutely hated something or really wanted something in the room.

DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS

While your partner may not seem interested in decor or is fine with letting you take the lead on most of the things, you need to keep in mind this space is also theirs. Even if they appear to be uninterested, they DO have an opinion on things. If you do not ask or ignore their opinions, you may end up 6 months down the road + find out your partner actually hates the way you decorated the bookshelf + they’ve had resented it ever since you moved in[true story]. Even if you think your partner will be okay with your decision on pieces, it’s best to ask their opinion anyways. Most of the time, they probably will be okay with it // encourage your choices, but, in the occasion they have a different opinion, it’s best to find this out as soon as possible, before any changes have been made!

It can take some getting used to ++ a lot of patience//compromise to make two previously separate styles one. Above all, it’s important to be really open + honest about your goals + expectations. It’s also good to keep in mind, change isn’t going to happen overnight. Your styles will change over time anyways, so do not think anything needs to be set in stone before you move in.

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