You’re moving in with your love and you’ve pictured so many amazing things in your future living together — nights spent cooking together, lazy Sunday mornings, entertaining friends and family, and more. Picking out home essentials like a mattress or curtains or furniture together might not be one of the activities you’ve dreamed about, but it is one of the realities of cohabitation, and it doesn’t have to be the headache you might imagine. In fact, setting up your home can be a romantic and bonding experience, and it might teach you a few things about each other. Here’s how to start off on the right foot when moving in together.
Let’s face it, communication is the cornerstone of every relationship and you’ll need to put those skills to work when choosing what goes into your shared home. There are different things that will be important to each of you. Maybe you don’t care about the television, but your partner has very specific ideas about size and model, or maybe you both have strong but opposite feelings about how much money to spend on towels; you’ll avoid so many hidden minefields if you talk through each decision (even if it’s just to say, “I don’t care what rug you pick for that room.”).
This is another one of those skills that you will use far beyond furnishing your first place together. Differences in how to handle money cause more problems in relationships than anything else, so take advantage of this opportunity to better understand each other’s relationship to money. Make an overall budget for home essentials, and then agree on roughly how much you want to allocate to each item. Decide together how you will finance these purchases. In budgeting, you’ll be forced to do research on items, which will be helpful when you go shopping.
You’re not going to agree on everything no matter how much you communicate with each other, so you’ll need to be open to compromise. That might mean making a trade-off; e.g., you get to make a decision on bedding because you have to have a certain thread count and material, and your partner gets to choose the coffee maker because they live for the morning cup. Or, this might mean coming to a decision you are both happy with. For example, choosing a mattress is one of the most impactful home essentials you can purchase as a couple because you will both use it every night and it is important to your health. If you don’t have the same initial idea about what to buy, explore options until you’re both happy with the size (a queen is a great middle ground for most couples) and are comfortable firmness of the mattress.
4. Have Fun
Yes, you’ll need to use some serious relationship skills along the way, but that doesn’t mean that the process can’t be fun. Make buying that new couch an event — grab coffee before going to the store, test out all the cushions in the store before buying and then treat yourself to celebratory lunch after your shopping excursion. Trying to pick new curtains? Narrow down your choices online and then make a game out of revealing each of your top three. If you decide as a couple to make laughter and love the priority, your choices will reflect that.