YOU, YOUR LOVER & THEIR STUFF
I never thought I would live with a significant other before marriage. I’m not against living with the person I am dating, I’m just very much set in my ways and prefer my own space. I love throwing parties, having friends over, having a significant other stay for a couple of days... You know, the standard for a adult woman. But, one of my favorite things is being able to come home and not have to interact with anyone after a long day.
This is why I loved living alone.
This was my thought process for a while and at times can still ring true, but when you combine living in a more expensive city (I'm from Houston but lived in NYC for years) with becoming more of an adult, all of this changed for me.
Let’s rewind a bit. I lived with someone that I was dating a while ago. It came to a point that we were constantly together, some things happened on his end that made us talk about living together and we decided we should. Now, I had a dope parlor floor, original architecture, brownstone apartment in Brooklyn-- so I was absolutely under no circumstances moving out of my place. Plus, finding a great apartment in NYC is a full time, stress inducing job. One I have no time for. Long story short, he moved in with me and I had to figure out how to let someone in what used to be MY space... now OUR space ALL OF THE TIME.
If you are anything like me, once your house, apartment, corner of the refrigerator is set up how you like it, anyone that comes in and changes a thing causes a slight internal freak out. I'm going to give you tips, based on my living experience, on how to avoid just that when deciding to live with your significant other.
9 times out of 10 one person will have a space that they love and someone else will have to move into that space. Rule number one: Start calling the apartment “OUR APARTMENT” “OUR HOME” etc. The moment you say this is my house- you will be having an argument. Trust me.
As an interior designer, I have accumulated furniture items that I loved. If you find yourself in the same situation and he/she has some not so great/old college love couch- discuss and make a plan about what you will both keep and what you will both give away. Key word here: both.
Make the apartment less girly. Luckily I tend to like more neutral pieces, but if your space feels very “single woman in the city”, it doesn’t hurt to add a few more neutral pieces like a darker upholstery piece (accent chair, ottoman). Mix in some menswear inspired items with pillows or throws. Add in some of his favorite post college pieces, make it a balanced situation.
Update your artwork to be more reflective of the both of you- add in some framed pictures of you two or of places you have been as a couple. Again, balance of ownership.
One thing I did when I lived with someone is we started hitting the flea markets and antique shops together. Selecting pieces that were reflective of our style was an awesome way to bond and decorate (this can get tricky if you break up, but hopefully he’s/she's not petty and you can keep it all ☺ ).
Start on some of those DIY/Pinterest projects you have saved somewhere- now you have the extra set of hands to help out and it’s a great way to bond in a way you might not have before.
UPDATE YOUR BED!- Just like you don’t want his/her old love couch in your new home, he/she would probably like a new bed. New Sheets, new pillows, and some updated decorative pillows if you have a little bit of room to purchase extra items. Past lovers be-gone!
Share, share, share! It’s important to realize that you are now sharing a space with someone else. Their quirks and living style will be an adjustment at first but you will get used to it and come to value your new home life as one. Together. Like syrup and waffles.
An incredibly important rule: Make sure you have a little bit of space that still feels like yours. For me, that was a tiny corner in the apartment where I kept my sewing machine and fabrics. For him, it was probably having the extra TV in the “bedroom” area (did I mention it was a long studio- so we didn’t really need two TVs, in the same space?! But out loud I said "OK cool that works” because I'm fair... and compromise).
I was having a conversation with a girlfriend the other day about should you or shouldn’t you live with someone before you get married. I think you should definitely do it, once you are serious enough about the other person. You learn so many things about that person by being in the same space. You begin to understand what makes each other tick and how to improve as a couple. This girlfriend, now married to the guy she lived with, came to the conclusion that people say the first year of marriage is so hard because if you haven’t lived with that person, you are super frustrated and angry by all the things they do to annoy you. I think I agree with her on that. Living with a significant other will at times annoy the shit out of you, but then you come home late from work one evening and they have made you dinner and bought your favorite red wine and leave you alone to unwind for the night and you realize "hey, this isn’t so bad after all."
You can follow me on IG @studiochardae for more inspo!
(post image credit: GQ)