Moving in with your significant other? How to decorate without killing each other
Congratulations, you're taking the leap and moving in with your significant other! You're in love, you're committing to this person, and you're so excited to begin spending the rest of your life with your mate that you just want to run up the nearest hillside, spread your arms, twirl about, and belt out a beloved show tune.
But hold on, Julie Andrews, have you checked out your partner's decorating style? Now, I'm not saying to dump the person if he/she has, say, a porcelain angel collection that creeps you out, but just remember, those angels are moving in with you, too. And if you don't like them, then you need to address with your partner early on that you can't handle hundreds of hand-painted heavenly eyes following your every movement. Believe it or not, this is may lead to a heated and completely ridiculous fight later on. You also need to be prepared for any criticism of your own possessions, and to be ready to compromise on what will go where in your new home.
If the two of you have similar tastes in décor, and you can look at each other's belongings and sigh over the exquisitness of each other's knickknacks, art, furniture, action figure collections, etc., then read no further. You are blessed, my child, and you need no guidance. However, if you've ever found yourself asking a question along the lines of "Honey, do we have to hang your Army of Darkness poster in the living room? I've never even seen that movie," then please, read on.
Tip #1: Discuss, discuss, discuss!
Prior to moving in together, put in a little planning time. Determine where you and your partner stand on matters of décor. Maybe you'll decide to stand back and let your more decorating-zealous partner decide on the appearance of your home (or vice versa). Maybe you are both equally interested in interior design, but have different styles and so you will have to make compromises. You may find you have two of the same items (such as couches, beds, appliances) and, due to space limitations in your new place, you can't bring along everything. In that case, you'll have to decide whose couch/bed/etc. to keep, and whose to discard.
Tip #2: Taste is relative
It might be crushing to hear that your darling does not cherish each and every one of your knicknacks, but it is probably true. When I moved in with my boyfriend, I bemoaned his velvet painting collection, but I was hardly bringing any quality pieces into our new home. In fact, at the time, I was into painting all my wood furniture various shades of purple. Yikes. Don't take yourself (and your style) too seriously, and don't insist that your way is the only way.
Tip #3: Let's make a deal!
Negotiate on the ugly items each of you owns. As I mentioned earlier, my boyfriend had a velvet painting collection I didn't care for, and I had a fairy poster that he detested. We agreed that he would get rid of all velvet paintings except for Lassie (an unfortunately large painting of the famous collie that was hung above the fireplace mantel in our first apartment), and in exchange, I would never, ever hang my fairy poster anywhere in our home. This bartering system has served us well over the years. It has provided a balance, so that any given room in our home represents both of our personalities.
Tip #4: Be kind. Remember, you're in love
If you don't care for your partner's decorating style, don't be a jerk about it. Avoid strong statements like, "THERE IS NO WAY YOUR ORANGE VINYL CHAIR IS GOING IN OUR LIVING ROOM! IT'S TACKY AND UGLY AND I HATE IT!!!" Instead, try a more positive approach: "You know, I think the orange vinyl chair might clash with the rest of the décor, but I love your lamp and paintings, and I'm excited to see how they'll look in our new place." Your partner doesn't want, nor deserve, to be insulted. And if it turns out that the orange vinyl chair has sentimental value, or is otherwise important to your partner, then you'll just have to live with it. And hopefully, you'll do this without grudge because you love your mate, you want to be fair, and you realize that his/her comfort and happiness is way more important than having a perfectly coordinated home.
Just remember to keep an open mind and be willing to compromise. Your first home together may not be decorated to the specs of your "dream home", but hey, you are sharing it with the person you love, and a home filled with love and happiness is the best kind of home there is.