As a small child with an early interest in interior design, I dreamed of what my “adult” home would look like one day. While my taste has evolved over the years (I no longer want purple velvet curtains in my dining room), my desire to create a well-designed home has remained the same. And that still didn’t change when I first moved in with a significant other and had to learn how to create aesthetic space while living with a guy who only had one pillow on his bed.
So I feel the pain of all the girls who create TikToks with the sound “how to live with a boy while having a very cute apartment”. However, I don’t believe that the first step is “don’t let them bring anything, literally nothing at all”, as they say. It is possible for couples to combine their interior design styles and belongings when moving in together without sacrificing their personalities. Read on to find out how I mastered living with a boy while having an aesthetic home.
Create a shared Pinterest or mood board
No, we’re not back to 2010. But more than a decade later, Pinterest is still a great place to look for interior design inspiration. Create a board dedicated to your new digs and share it with your partner so you can both pin anything that catches your eye. I also find it helpful to create subcategories in the board for each room so you can better organize your pins. Once you’ve gathered all your inspiration photos, review them together and look for overlapping themes. What wood tones, furniture styles, or decor types appeal to you both? Finding these similarities helps you establish guidelines when shopping and ensures that you will both enjoy the overall vibe of your space.
Opt for a unifying color palette
Much like finding common ground on your furniture and design styles, it helps to identify the colors you both like and want to showcase in your home. I prefer neutrals, so this has been a struggle for me in the past when I lived with a boyfriend who wanted to keep his blue plaid sheets from college (*insert eye roll here*). I find it helpful to choose a base color for your furniture, textiles and walls first – think greys, creams, tans etc. – then select a few colors that you will incorporate through art, decor, and accents. That way, if a red cushion catches your eye on Target, but your agreed-upon color palette is gray, white, blue, and gold, you’ll know you need a different color that you’ll all like. of them.
Don’t be afraid to mix styles
We all know that opposites attract, and this can be true for both relationships and interiors. Just as your quiet partner can help calm your nerves, a soft, shaggy rug can help modern furniture feel more inviting. Professional designers use this juxtaposition technique to make sure pieces don’t look too matching or simplistic. It can be daunting at first to mix interior design styles like coastal and glamorous, but it’s also what will make your home unique. Ultimately, if you love a room, you’ll find a way to make it work in your space.
Take inventory of your current household items
When you combine two houses together, you are likely to have multiples of certain items. And unless you have room for two sofas, two coffee tables, and two toaster ovens (which I certainly didn’t have in my first apartment), you’re going to have to purge some things. It also gives you the opportunity to see which existing pieces of furniture match your new space and intended aesthetic. For example, if you have a choice between an upholstered bed frame and a wooden bed frame and you want your master bedroom to be comfortable and welcoming, you can choose to use the upholstered bed in this room. Then you can either use the wooden bed frame in a guest bedroom or sell it somewhere like Facebook Marketplace. After deciding what works, create a list of parts you’ll want to replace or don’t have yet.
Pay attention to sentimental pieces
They say communication is the key to a successful relationship, and the same can be said for a successful move in. When reviewing your items together, be open and honest with your partner about any sentimental memories you hold dear. Your partner may not like the look of your favorite accent chair, but if you tell them it was a gift from your dad and it’s important that you keep it (even if it doesn’t match not totally your style), he will better understand your love for the piece and will probably find it important too. Respecting each other’s individual styles and needs will ensure that you both feel comfortable and represented in your shared space.