Designing for Cohabitation

Moving in with a significant other is exciting! A whole new chapter is starting filled with possibilities. And then… the moving truck backs up and the atrocious furniture thought was undoubtedly going to be dumped starts making its way in. Or it’s time to start designing the living room and bedroom and everything they choose is brown (imagine the horror).

While exciting cohabitation can present its own design challenges. Here are a few tips on how to make the move a little smoother and learn more about each other’s in the process.

Express your non-negotiable design needs

  • Have a hobby that requires a certain amount of space? Are there colors the absolutely drive you crazy? Let these things be known upfront. When my husband (then fiancee) and I moved in together I realized fairly quickly the he could live in a world of light wood and white and large statement art pieces. We agreed on art but I had to make it clear that color is a must for me. Luckily, he didn't push back too much and like most husbands, he lets me do my thing. However, I think it is important to make sure our partners are just as comfortable living in our designs as we are. Please note: be reasonable here, a hundred things that can't be negotiated is just being difficult.

Visualize together

  • Pinterest is definitely your friend here! Go over photos together of your likes and dislikes. Do you love carpet, and area rugs? But your partner is crazy for bare hardwood floors? Take some time to understand what you are each looking for in terms of functionality and style. This process can be really fun if going in with an open mind and prepared to compromise. The process of visualizing together can also be helpful in finding creative solutions to seemingly impossible design dilemmas like clothing storage and the endless sneaker collection. 

 You can’t keep everything

  • Listen, if you have the extra space to store all of the random things then please store away. However, for the rest of us with no space or an aversion to clutter purging is key. Try to purge before you move. This way you are only taking what you will be using and not wasting time and money both packing and moving things will be tossed anyway. Take account of the storage space you will have and plan accordingly. There are somethings that are of sentimental value and you just can’t live without, prioritize those items. Once you've accounted for them you can throw in the extras. My recommendation here is to go through the categories of items needed and keep the best set between the parties. Example: one person's pot set has burned blackened bottoms, the other party has a less worn set of better quality. Guess who's pot set can be donated? Continue for all categories and be honest here!

Enjoy the process of cohabiting with the person you love. Take the good with the bad, don't sweat the small stuff, and all the other cliche advice. Still feeling overwhelmed and unsure? Book a Discovery Call with me and let's work it out together!

Black couple sitting on floor of empty room 


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