They say a good marriage is as much work as it is play, and that open communication is an important factor in its success. And these words have never been truer than when it comes to the first significant challenge a newly-wed couple will face: the amalgamation of living quarters.
Deciding on how your home base looks and feels was once a deeply personal task, and until now, it’s quite likely you’ve never been in a position to critique your significant others’ interior decorating skills –or have your own personal taste scrutinized.
In order for both partners to retain some of their individuality while coming to a common ground in terms of interior design, all that is required is a little mutual respect and understanding.
Here are a few tips on how to tackle common newly-wed decorating dilemmas:
- First, focus on the basics. Look at the bones of the house and forget about colours, wallpaper, or light fixtures. Is there enough room for your appliances, and each partner’s needs, wants, and desires? Even before viewing a living space, know exactly how many square feet you need to live comfortably on a room by room basis. This will save both your time, and your real estate agents’. Choosing a first home which has the room to scale from the size of your family today, to the size of your family in 5 years will “future proof” your investment, and remove unnecessary stress in the future.
- Second, decide on a general theme. As you discuss your ideal themes, common preferences will emerge which you can work from.
- Choose your battles. There are going to be design preferences which are important only to one partner. It is up to you which you can live with, and those with which you can’t –but keep an eye out for opportunities to compromise. If you can be comfortable with allowing your spouse to keep their plush couch, perhaps suggest it be reupholstered in a fabric of your choice. This way the space this furniture occupies reflects both of your personal tastes.
- His, Hers, Not every piece of furniture or scrap of decoration under your roof needs to be articulated together, discussed, and measured. Be sure to give each other a domain to roost. If he’s got a tacky plastic wrestling figuring collection, great. Put them in the den, aka “man cave” and be done with it. Same goes for your own space; outline an area of the house you’d like to call your domain and be firm.
- Keep it low maintenance. House work is a common source of marital stress all over the world, and could be drastically reduced if newly-weds put more thought into not only what looks good, but also what’s practical in terms of cleaning and maintenance. Surfaces that are easily cleaned, dark fabrics that hide dirt and laminated furniture that can handle a lot of traffic are all great ways to get a little bit of extra mileage out of your furniture, and each cleaning.
- If you ever find yourself getting a little overwhelmed with all the choices that come with moving in with your new spouse, remind yourself nothing is worth any level of stress. In fact, it should be the opposite. While you may never agree on the perfect interior design, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you’ve got one another, and that is all that counts.
Photo Credit: Christopher/Flickr