Moving in Together: Five Tips to Make It a Home for Two
So, you’ve been seeing each other for some time. You’re both ready to take the relationship to the next step, and for you and your significant other, that means moving in together. This is an exciting milestone in any relationship, and can greatly influence your future years together – frankly, it’s a big deal. Having companionship day in and day out can be great, especially when it comes to splitting chores, paying the bills and cooking! However, sacrificing personal space and solitude, as well as changing decor schemes, can present real challenges. Fortunately, through proper planning, you can make this a smooth and painless experience, strengthening your happiness together by making a home for two.
Moving in Together on the Same Page
Think about what this move means for you. Is this the final step for you right now, or is a step towards something else? For some, moving in together is a stepping stone towards marriage, kids, and a dog; for others, moving in together is as much of a marriage as they’re happy with. Either outcome is fine and no one expects you to have it all figured out, but it is important to go into this move knowing that you and your partner have a similar idea in mind of your future together. Talking about this is crucial. Don’t be shy; be honest and open with each other. Go into your new home knowing that you’re both seeing it with the same vision in mind.
While you may already take turns paying for dates or exchanging gifts, moving into a new place and splitting the financial burden is a very important aspect to agree on, and is arguably what has the biggest potential to put strain on an otherwise healthy relationship. Expenses can be a tough topic to discuss at first, especially for the first move, but sharing the load in a way both of you are comfortable with will stop financial stress rearing its ugly head again and again.
If you’re planning on renting, it wouldn’t hurt getting familiar with your lease and going in equipped with the first and last month’s rent and security deposit. Consider how you both want to prepare yourself for long-term rentals or even getting your feet on the property ladder – each relationship has their own unique strategy to do this in a way that best suits them.
When it comes to expenses, many couples split their rent right down the middle. For utilities, some partners divvy the figures up using excel spreadsheets to share the load; some might take on particular costs (one might pay for electricity while the other takes care of water, for example). Again, splitting things 50/50 can prevent a partner from being stuck with paying more and promote a sense of accountability in the relationship. However, if one partner earns a larger income than the other, consider splitting the financial burden proportionally. The same conversation can be had to discuss the purchasing of other necessities, including groceries and home furnishings!
Make the House a Home
When moving in together, you will need to compromise on the details of design in the home. The neon beer signs and surf posters from the bachelor pad will (probably!) be retired in favour of more neutral stylistic decor. It’s very important to acknowledge your partner’s design tastes, as this will be both of your space. Consider what furnishings you already own between the two of you – and decide which will be kept and which will be tossed! For furniture, it’s best to think about the size of your space, and plan accordingly. Perhaps you could use this opportunity to treat yourself to new living room furniture, such as a comfortable new couch and pillows, or even stylish end tables and bookshelves.
Incorporating artwork into the home is a great way to deliver a certain ambience, especially for a chill spot where you can both unwind. It’s important to decide on which style of artwork you’d like, whether you’re going for a mid century modern vibe or a subtle minimalist style, to best make your home pop. Combining styles is a skill and is totally achievable, so long as you undertake each step together. That way, you will both have your input as to how the space should look, making it perfect for both of you!
Have a Place to Call Your Own
Co-habiting doesn’t have to mean completely losing your personal space and privacy! If you have the ability to do so, creating your own personal retreats can not only help deal with any style clashes in mutual areas; it can help take away some of the tension when things get heated. While compromise is to a trouble-free move, a place to express yourself allows you to get as creative or practical as you like. Choose art, decor and furniture that fully reflects you, and remember, it’s okay to have some alone-time once in a while.
It’s All About Balance
We all have our little quirks and pet-peeves. Learning to give and take is an art that can take some time to master, and knowing this when going in for the move will help you keep your cool when your significant other has totally different way of doing the same thing. Understand this, think about what you can ease up on and what’s important to say something about. How important is it that your partner squeezes from the end of the toothpaste tube and not the middle? Is it as important as making sure you’re both taking the bins out on Sunday night? Set yourselves responsibilities to make sure you’re sharing the load. It might sound silly, but the first few weeks of living together is the best time to assign yourselves duties around the house, predict potential obstacles and know which you can let slide and when it’s important to speak up.
Your first home together should reflect a sense of togetherness. As you build your environment, consider each other’s personal tastes and values, and through this mindfulness, you can make a home in which you can both truly thrive. When the duties are split, you can help one another out as a support system, and lead a healthy, happy relationship for years to come!