Advice for couples moving in together: from combining styles to saving space.
So, you’ve finally answered the age-old question – "Are we ready to move in together?", and the answer is a resounding yes. Whether for financial reasons, love, practicality or travel- moving in together as a couple for this first time is a big step. Not only is moving house stressful, but the pressure of combining two erstwhile separate lives into one can be more complicated than the hullaballoo of getting married.
Couples often make the mistake of thinking that just because they have previously spent lots of time at each other’s houses that moving in will be easy. It will not be. Some lucky couples escape unscathed, but for the majority of lovers, the conundrums of choosing which furniture to keep, how to decorate and how to divide storage space will prove a mighty challenge.
Moving to a new space vs Moving into an existing space: the home advantage.
Whether one of you is moving into the other’s existing house, or if you’ve acquired a shiny new space, huge sacrifices will have to be made on both sides. A might Marie Kondo style clean out will need to be had, for both of you.
The reality is you’re moving two people’s things into one space – and whilst it might be especially difficult to do a clean out if you’re the one not moving anywhere, it will welcome your partner and allow you to create a space for the both of you.
"Make moving-in day a fun experience by putting on some of your favourite upbeat music, and get experimental with mixing your styles together. Remember, nothing you put in place is set in stone, so try out some different locations for your pieces of furniture and artwork until you have a set up that works for both of you. One of the big pluses of moving in together is combining recipe book collections - the fact that we now have enough Ottolenghi books that he has his own section on our book shelf make me very happy!" Julia, 30 & Mal, 34
Remember if you’re the one staying, that your partner has sacrificed to come and join you. Make space for them. Be prepared to change the layout, décor and rhythm of your home to create a harmonious space for both of you. If it means putting the tampons out of site or removing the beer cap collection from the ceiling, it’ll be worth it.
If you’re the one moving in- respect the fact that your partner has been there longer than you, that they have traditions, quirks and habits which they’ll need to change for you. This was their sanctuary and you are now adding your own energy into the space. Be mindful of what you ask them to change.
Think of it as an amazing chance to create something for the both of you. Discuss, communicate and choose things and styles that you both like.
"Moving in together was very exciting and a big change. Chat through with your partner about what big pieces of furniture you're going to bring with you from your old place - remember, they'll have their things too and you don't want too much clutter in your new room. Purchase something together that you both love (i.e. couch, bed, artwork). At the end of your day, it's your new home with your partner so you want it to feel as homely as possible." Dave, 35 & Alissa, 27
This may be one of the toughest, but most simple things to decide on. Be realistic about the value and condition of your respective furniture, and accept that you may have to buy new furniture to compromise. Look at it as a great opportunity to get that couch you’ve both been fantasising about, or splurge on a king bed!
"Before moving in, we did discuss a budget for all major furniture items and what we should put our money towards: for example, splurge on a bed and a sofa; rein it in when it comes to coffee tables and rugs. My final piece of advice is to move in with little to no expectations, and remember to embrace and enjoy the experience!" Maree, 33 & Steven, 37
“If your design style varies greatly from your beloved, consider having an area where you can each can have free reign, perhaps a study you could display your passion of '70's decor with paisley wallpaper and shag carpet, or a corner of a room where to proudly display those primary school sports trophies. Being considerate and flexible goes a long way - after all, it should feel like home to both of you.” Kate, 41 & Dave, 47
This is a great time to find common interests and styles. Rather than focusing on what you don’t like about the other person’s style, focus on what you have in common. If your style differs wildly, set aside parts of the house where you can each run wild.
Think of interesting ways to combine your obsessions. For example, pink frames on the sports posters, or a gold bar-cart to house a whiskey collection. Balance out bright colours with neutrals, for example navy with coral, white and azure with browns, or tropical with charcoal.
"Make sure you each keep a little part of the house for yourselves, whether it's a study or yoga room it'll give you a place to exercise your individuality and retreat when you need space. It's a bit hard if you're sharing a studio or one room, so in that case make sure you keep things cosy and prioritise the things that both bring you joy." Theo, 28 & Liz, 25
"Maybe somewhat poignant for the young gents: consider that sports memorabilia will have a limited role in a 'couples' house, maybe it’s best left for the shed or the garage, or if you're in an apartment, the storage box!” Scott, 38 & Susan, 38
Unless you’re seriously upsizing, you will both have to get rid of stuff, and you will both have to rethink what goes into storage. If one has significantly more than the other, have a frank conversation about how you’re going to split storage space, after all you make 50% of the couple, so any more the 50% of the space will have to come with some negotiations. This is a great time to make use of space saving solutions and nifty storage such as seats with storage, storage baskets and shoe racks.
Moving in together is exciting but it can be overwhelming when you have so much furniture to organise or discard of depending on your “joint decision”. Nevertheless, with a little thought and pre-planning you’ll be able to re-focus on the possibilities and create an interior decor you’ll both love for years to come.
We hope you found this article helpful. If you are ready to start building your co-owned furniture collection, then be sure to check out our home and furniture marketplace.
House of Home is an online marketplace. We bring together retailers from across Australia and let you search 80,000 plus products in one location. There’s no place like it.