We might only be 5 days into the official start of summer, but we’re in the thicket- and very much in over our heads- when it comes to wedding season. Each weekend engagement poses, bridesmaids photos and pictures from the big day are surfacing on social media, and if you’re like me, you’ll desperately text your friends to commiserate in bitterness that you’re not in college anymore. But, if you’re among the ranks with a steadfast significant other, or have even locked down the ring already, your nausea and denial are most likely overtaken with excitement and enthusiasm for the coming changes that lie ahead.
One of those big changes? Moving in together. My Netflix binging habit and knack for more clothes landing on the floor instead of the closet aside- there’s a certain amount of terror that I associate with moving in with a significant other. Doubts like “where will I store the copious amount of clothing I never wear?” or “what do I do with those unnecessary frilly pink pillows that I’ve grown embarrassingly fond of?” begin surfacing to my mind.
Lucky for you though, not everyone is as clueless as me when it comes to these things, so I’ve entlisted an expert to answer our questions. Barbara Bernick, the owner of Update Interiors and design extraordinaire, is giving us her best tips to make transforming your space for two into a seamless (and dare I saw fun?!) experience that even the mister won’t mind!
Below are Barbara’s top 9 tips, complete with her picks for gender-neutral pieces that will finish off your humble abode and tie both personalities together. Let’s hear it, Barbara!
1. The first step I recommend that people take when moving in together is to evaluate what you have. Since you’re both coming from your own places, there are bound to be doubles of some furniture and key pieces. It’s important for you both to take a step back, look at what you have, and decide what pieces you’re comfortable parting with and what pieces you can’t live without.
2. Assess the storage situation. A space that once comfortably housed one person’s items may not be ready to store twice the amount of clutter. Buying pieces that are multi-functional is an easy way to address this issue.
3. While it’s likely you will both come to the table with usable furniture and décor, don’t underestimate the value of purchasing pieces together that represent you as a couple. Even if it’s just a few small decorative objects or a piece of art to hang on the wall, it’s nice to know the two of you worked together to decide on something.
4. I often hear couples complain that they feel as if they lost some of their personal style in the process of merging their belongings. One way to combat this? Find two identical pieces of furniture, such as night stands or book cases, so that each of you can design one individually. Or, if your space allows, consider designating a small nook for each of you to make your own.
5. Factor in the lifestyle and future you imagine yourselves having in this space. If you are dreaming of children, pets, and lots of entertaining, functionality of furniture and décor is crucial. No matter how amazing the product is, the item needs to withstand the wear and tear ahead.
6. Lastly, communication is key. Be honest and upfront about how you feel about each item that might become a permanent fixture in your new environment. You don’t want to dislike something you’ll be seeing every day!
7. So many underestimate how much clutter one person can amass! Be prepared to de-clutter, as you will need to house nearly (or more than) double the amount of your current belongings. Make a day of it and create piles for the things you plan to donate, sell, and throw away in order to only keep the things you need or cherish.
8. Furniture often goes hand-in-hand with memories, so sometimes parting ways with an old couch or chair can be tough. However, moving in with a partner is a milestone in and of itself – sometimes letting go of one thing leads to the start of something great.
9. Creating a list of all the things you need is extremely helpful if you’re on a budget. You can then sit down together and figure out which items you need right away and which items you can plan to purchase over time. Looking at a space can be overwhelming, and it’s easy to stress thinking everything needs to come together all at once. Not the case! Start with what you have and simply think about it from a new perspective by rearranging it or placing it in a different room. If a tight budget is a concern, opt for a few small, but impactful items that add a finishing touch, without putting a hole in your wallet, such as some of these objects from Update Interiors.