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How to Compromise on Decor Without Moving (or Losing) Out

published May 7, 2015
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So you’ve signed a lease and you’re moving in with someone. Great! Whether it’s a romantic partner or a brand-new roommate, there are good times and (wait for it) compromises on the road ahead. Luckily, you don’t have to drive yourself crazy to create a cohesive and mutually pleasing home: it’s easier than you think. Read on for five tips on how to compromise without losing the will to live (together).

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(Obviously, a lot of these tips will depend on the permanence of the situation. One assumes a roommate situation isn’t forever, but a partner might just be. So follow, ignore or amend as necessary!)

You both need to purge. One of the best things about moving, whether it’s by yourself or with somebody else, is the opportunity to exfoliate your belongings. Nobody wants to lug a load of junk that’s they’ve outgrown to a new home, especially if it will then be combined with somebody else’s junk. Paring your belongings down to those that matter most will make sure you’re starting out on a fresh slate (and the best way of making your case to keep something that is special to you, if your new roomie doesn’t see it in the same light).

Shop together. So maybe you, like me, have thought of IKEA as the place where relationships go to die, but home shopping doesn’t have to be that way (so long as you avoid Saturdays, and have a plan in place). If you’re part of a couple, investing in something together — be it a sofa, bed or dining table — is a great way of starting off on the right foot, and gets each person excited for what lies ahead. If you’re roommates, make your purchases more fun and less expensive— consider picking up some cushions for your sofa, or a fun set of glasses you both love.

Give each other veto power. Maybe not unlimited veto power, but nobody should have to stare at something they hate 365 days a year, especially in shared areas. Like Ross and Rachel naming their baby, take five vetos each, and use them judiciously. Anything that doesn’t make the others’ cut can go in storage, in a lesser-used room, or in your personal bedroom/office/den.

Mash up your styles. Almost anything can be combined in our age of “eclectic” and “mix-and-match” design. Don’t believe me (or maybe your soon-to-be roomie doesn’t)? Pinterest is your friend, ready to supply you with endless inspiration. French country meets vintage Americana? Hollywood regency with a side of steampunk? You’ll find it all on this great gift we call the interwebs, which should help you believe that anything’s possible.

Leave room to grow together. Don’t expect to have your contrasted-but-somehow-seamless apartment photo-ready within a month. Or six. You’re moving in together for a reason: you’ll make memories and your home will develop naturally over time, just like your previous ones did. This advice might seem couples-only, but it’s applicable to all: I’ve tackled DIYs with roommates in the past that have improved our home and our friendship.

Tell us, what are your best tips for mixing decor when moving in with someone?