I’ll admit it. Decorating my apartment was one of the things I was MOST looking forward to when moving into my own place. The only hiccup? I actually first moved into my boyfriend’s place. We were both very excited to live together and it was one of the best decisions we could have made for our relationship. But… his place was fully furnished (yes, and decorated) when I moved in so we needed to figure out how to blend our styles! Although I helped him pick out a lot of the furniture and decor, he absolutely had free reign over his place for the two years he lived there without me.
So, that left us with a bit of a dilemma when we moved into OUR first place. Fortunately, it was a bit bigger than his first apartment, so we had a little room to shop for new furniture and decorations together. Here’s a bit what I learned when blending my style with my significant other’s (S.O.)…and it turned out very well!
Prepare for compromise
This is The. Most. Important. Part. Compromise is critical to success here! Remember, this is your first apartment TOGETHER! That means both of your perspectives are equally important. By getting into the “compromise” mindset ahead of time, you’ll save yourself some trouble later down the line. Hate his dark furniture? Talk about painting or refinishing some of it together. Can’t picture his sports memorabilia displayed in your shared living room? Consider investing in a few nice frames to display some of it, or “give” him wall space in your room or the office for his things. (Plus, I learned, chances are if you compromise on space for him to display his own things…he probably won’t actually do it.)
When it comes to combining furniture, planning ahead is very important. If you both have a sofa, work through which makes the most sense in your space. Make sure both of you really love each piece that comes into your apartment. If one of you isn’t sold, sell it or donate it and wait to replace with something you love later on.
As far as buying furniture, again, compromise is crucial. For example, we used my BF’s black TV stand and coffee table (which we both love), and lightened up the place by getting rid of his dark brown couch in favor of a light grey one. That compromise (using a couple of his pieces and the sofa of mine), meant that both of our styles started blending together from the start. Fortunately, we both like a more modern look, so the styles worked pretty well together.
To tie it together, we shopped for rugs and throw pillows in patterns and colors we both liked. Not only was it fun to shop together, but we both have a better sense of the others’ favorite colors and styles, and we were able to choose details that we both really like.
Use color wisely
The best part about color is that it shows personality but doesn’t have to be overwhelming! We found it very useful to choose big furniture pieces (sofa, kitchen table, bedroom furniture) that were neutral (think black, brown, white, grey) and could spruce it up with throw pillows, blankets, table runners, and rugs. Use the color wheel to select colors that work well together.
Great news, couples! The color wheel also shows how different colors can look beautiful side-by-side. So, if you love yellow but your S.O. loves blue, you can choose colored details in both colors…without much compromise!
Shop for furniture together
Shop for everything that you can TOGETHER and listen to each other. That way, you’ll learn more about each others’ styles and can save time returning items one of you hates back to the store. Furniture is especially important to tag-team for, since it’ll likely last a long time and be the focal point of each room.
Take your time and have fun!
This is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART (after compromise…but I guess if you compromise, having fun should come naturally). This is an exciting phase of life for you and your S.O! Enjoy the time together shopping and decorating, and most importantly, enjoy your first apartment together!
For all other issues to consider when moving in together check out My First Apartment’s Complete Guide to Moving in With Your Significant Other.