You walk to the front door together, hand in hand. The two of you are a pair of enamored smiles with heart shaped pupils and blushing cheeks. Scarlett and Rhett, Rose and Jack, Harry and Sally—they’ve got diddlysquat on the unquestionable, unfathomable love you and your partner share… Until he mentions your white, tufted headboard is a bit feminine for his taste. And you just DO NOT understand how he thinks his film memorabilia is going to go on the living room mantle.
“As fun and exciting as moving in together may seem, it can be a scary and stressful process if it’s unplanned and poorly executed.”
So here’s the truth. As fun and exciting as moving in together may seem, it can be a scary and stressful process if it’s unplanned and poorly executed. Luckily, we’ve seen the moving in process go down several times and have learned lots over the years. From consolidating your belongings to compromising on design styles, here is our guide to moving in together and creating a space perfect for the both of you.
How to Prepare for the Move
Take a good, hard look at your stuff…before you move in. When you’re moving in with somebody, the chance of having duplicate items is very high. Two beds, two coffee tables, two spatulas. So the very first step to moving in together is to collectively inventory both of your belongings and decide what’s staying, what’s going, and what you’re selling, donating or tossing. It might be tempting to go through this process after or during the moving process…but please, please don’t subject yourself to that torture. The more you keep, the more you’re going to add to the cost of the move—whether it be in time, money, or labor. Your new place will feel overcrowded and overwhelming, and you’ll be forced into making quick, last-minute decisions.
Remember you’re moving in together. The pre-move purge may seem like the perfect opportunity to get rid of that horrifying wall art your partner has, but be prepared to give up just as much as they do. Fair doesn’t always mean equal, and one of you may have more (or higher quality) furniture than the other, but don’t force your partner to be stuck with something they hate because you’re a creature of habit. Treasure your sentimental belongings and high quality items that’ve been purchased recently. The rest should be let go as necessary.
Buy new. Buy together. Your belongings define you respectively, but when you purchase new items with your partner, it’ll help unify your design style. Retire any old, outdated college or first apartment furniture. Shop together to pick out new pieces you both love and can live with for years to come. Opt for a sofa, chandelier, or other statement piece that will create a new focal point that represents the two of you.
How to Break up with Your Belongings
Sometimes it can be hard to give up furniture that has sentimental value to you, but here’s the deal about your pink, flower-printed childhood dresser… it’s time to move on. If it doesn’t pass the following four rules, it’s time to toss or donate.
- The “House on Fire” Rule: Would you try to save this piece in a fire? Priceless mementos should be kept, but anything easily replaceable with renter’s insurance is not a deal breaker.
- The “What is This?” Rule: Do you ever hold on to stuff… just because? Okay, so you might not be Hoarders status, but you may end up overcrowding your space with unnecessary clutter. If you’re holding on to something that doesn’t have a specific purpose, seriously consider if it’s worth the space it’s eating up.
- The “Someday Soon” Rule: You know that thing you bought five years ago that you’ve never used but you keep because you might use it someday? Yeah… “someday” isn’t coming. Get rid of it.
- The “Smile” Rule: We always encourage clients to edit their space, but we understand there are some things you just love. Does looking at it put a smile on your face every day? If so, keep it. Your partner should understand that.
How to Combine Design Styles
Remember that scene from Sex and the City where Charlotte breaks up with her boyfriend because he likes American Industrial and she’s French Country? Don’t let that be you on move-in day. Instead, try for French Industrial. See how simple it can be?
Layer your space with elements from both looks. One of our missions at Kathy Kuo Home is to curate distinct collections that can work individually as well as collaboratively. One of the best ways to avoid design conflict is to create an eclectic look by layering elements from each other’s design styles. She likes classic silhouettes and frames, and he likes modern prints and textiles? No problem. Custom upholster your traditional living room chairs in a fun patterned fabric. If you lean romantic and your partner loves crisp and clean, compromise with a modern low-backed sofa in woven linen, or a glass side table with a gold metal base.
Combine styles without creating a design hodgepodge. Here’s how:
-Use a consistent color palette to help your space look more cohesive.
-Keep the scale of your decor balanced and spaced. (Don’t put his giant leather armchair next to your thin, regency side tables; put them in separate rooms. If one half of a room looks French Country and the other half looks Mid Century, it’s going to be jarring. But carefully blend together the looks, and you will create a visually interesting room with chic juxtaposition).
-Don’t let furniture stand alone. Give each piece in a room a companion that shares a color, style, or finish. Unless it’s a statement piece, singular pieces in eclectic styles can often feel out of place.
Learn to agree to disagree. Some of the moving in together process is merely a practice in conflict resolution. In your relationship, you’re not always going to agree with your partner, and (especially when it comes to individual style), that’s okay. Agree to make compromises for one another and remember the reasons why you’re moving in together in the first place. It probably isn’t because you both have a thing for églomisé.
Tell us your stories of moving in together in the comment section below!