Moving in together is a big step for any relationship. When couples first live together they have to learn how to handle each other's strange habits and idiosyncrasies, and they have to be able to come to a consensus on things like cooking, cleaning and paying the rent.
This means that live-in couples need to learn the fine art of compromise: Finding a middle ground in any dispute is essential to keep the peace. If you and your significant other are about to move in together, the first hurdle you'll have to manage is figuring out what to do with all of your stuff.
Trying to blend two completely different styles is tough, but with a little respect and, you guessed it, compromise, it can be done. Here are a few guidelines for finding a middle ground between two decorating styles when moving in with your significant other:
Decide What Stays
The very first thing you should do before moving in together is take an inventory of everything you both have and decide together what stays and what goes. You likely don't want two couches, two beds, etc., so pencil in an evening to go through each piece of furniture and decide which one you both like better.
If you can't come to a consensus, try making a trade-off. His couch, but your coffee table. His bed, but your dresser. Be prepared to have to donate, sell or store some items you really like– it's all about finding a balance.
Emphasize Your Similarities
Your styles may be as different as apples and oranges, but there's likely some aspect of the decorating you can both agree on. Maybe you both love photography, and you can decorate the living room with framed prints.
Or perhaps you bonded over a love of the color green. Go for some forest green throw pillows or a rug with green accents. Focusing on the similarities will create a space you and your significant other both love.
Use Your Basics
Maybe you're stuck with a crazy couch or entertainment center– plain black coffee and end tables can give the room a more unified look.
Give Each Other Space
If there are some things you just can't agree on, consider giving each other a specific space to decorate however you want. Maybe one person can decorate the bathroom and the other gets to be in charge of the kitchen. Try to find middle ground on how you decorate the bedroom.
Or, put two shelves in the living room, one for each of you. Display whatever knick-knacks and keepsakes you want, and allow your significant other to do the same. You'll have a cute his-and-hers display of stuff you may grow to love.
Take Some Time
Keep in mind that you don't have to decide on everything the minute you move in. After moving in together, it may take a couple of weeks to settle into a routine. Give yourselves that time to make some of the decisions on what stays and what goes, and on how to decorate.
After the first few weeks you may find yourself getting used or even liking to some of the items you didn't like right when you moved in, and your partner could feel the same.
If there are some things you really dislike that your partner absolutely loves, it's probably a good idea to let those go and respect his feelings. What's worse: an unhappy partner or living with a keepsake set of action figures?
Plus, you both want to feel like you're living in a shared space, so make sure both of you are being fair about deciding what stays and what goes.
Shop Together For New Things
If there are any gaps in your combined possessions– like a wall-hanging for over the couch or a set of bar stools for the kitchen island– go shopping for them together. Find items you can both agree on, and enjoy spending that time together.
Finding a middle ground on even the most basic items will make the experience fun, and you'll love being able to put the finishing touches on your first apartment together.