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Young couple eating together at home

Merging two households together can be exciting, but may take some work. When you both have your own furniture, appliances and décor, it can be hard to choose what should stay and what should go. Deciding how to organize and decorate your home can be especially difficult if your partner’s furniture and décor doesn’t complement yours.

I talked to interior design and living space professionals who shed some light on how to make this transition easier and stress-free.

Pick a Theme

Before you start moving, it’s important to figure out what theme you want your home to follow. This will make it easier for you to decide which home furnishings and décor you can keep and what you and your partner might need to purchase together.

Some popular themes include:

  • Rustic
  • Modern
  • Nautical
  • Contemporary
  • French
  • Shabby Chic

When my husband and I moved in together, we skipped this step altogether. All of the different furnishings made our apartment look like a college dorm, and it never truly felt “homey.” When determining your theme, take a look at all your home furnishings to see if any of them have a common theme already.

One thing my husband started was staining and painting different furniture pieces we had to make them look similar. This instantly made our home feel warm and inviting. Once we had refreshed furniture, we were able to pick a rustic theme based on the stain and paint color, and how our DIY projects turned out. If you’re stuck on which color to choose for your design, check out HGTV’s Design 101 tips.

Take Inventory

Jeffrey Weldler, Interior Design Expert and Marketing Director at Vant, says taking inventory of your things will make it easier to see what you don’t already have. Both of you should compile a list of the large belongings you have such as a sofa, dressers, tables and chairs, and artwork. When you have your list complete, compare it with your partner’s to see where you have doubles and what you need to purchase.

Make Compromises

Getting rid of your belongings isn’t a fun task, especially if they have sentimental value. You can’t forget that your partner is probably feeling the same way about their belongings. It’s important to compromise with each other during this process.

If your partner is letting you keep your mattress and headboard, it’s only fair that you let them keep something of theirs in exchange. If one of you really dislikes the other’s furniture, you can try changing the look and design of the piece. If it’s a couch that you don’t like, try a couch cover of your choice!

You can also try to carve out your own personal spaces in the house or apartment so you have somewhere that’s yours.

If you’re both unable to compromise, you can always hire a professional for some decorating help.

Figure Out Living Spaces

It’s important to sit down and figure out what each living space will be used for. Jeanie Engelbach, founder of apartmentjeanie, has some great tips for figuring out living spaces. If one of you works from home, it’s a no-brainer that you need to have an office space. If you both have desks, then the person who will be using it the most should be able to pick which desk they want to bring to the new place.

If you enjoy entertaining and having people over, decide whose furniture will work best for hosting guests. If one of you has a bigger couch, then it might be in your best interest to bring that one if you plan on having friends and family over regularly. If you have a basement, the second couch could work great there, but if you have no use for it, you can look into donating used furniture.

If you notice you’re missing furniture for certain living spaces, check out these tips for furnishing your home on the cheap!

Think Outside the Box

You can also look into putting duplicate furniture in different areas of your house. If you have two comfy chairs, but only one matches the living room theme, try putting the second one in the bedroom Try not to be so literal with your spaces. A chair in the bedroom might be a bit strange for you, but it can serve as a great place for you to unwind with your favorite book after a long day. By adding a throw and an accent pillow, the chair can transform your bedroom, making it cozy and stylish.

Lauren Fleming, Online Content Manager and Copywriter at American Freight Furniture, has some good advice when it comes to combining very different styles into one room.

Mixing and matching accessories can make a room of different styles look like the pieces are meant to go together. “Are you trying to make a small table set that is made with glass and metal work in the same space as a very rustic styled dining room table? Pair modern accessories on top of your country table and vice versa,” says Fleming.

By planning ahead of time and taking inventory before the big move, you should have an easy transition. It’s important to keep in mind that your partner also might have to let go of some of their prized possessions, so remember, compromising is key! Do you have tips for combining your décor when moving in together? Share them in the comments below!

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