Moving in together is an exciting leap in any relationship, but decorating your new shared space can turn the most lovesick couples into bitter opponents. Add budget limitations into the mix, and it can feel nearly impossible to create a living space that makes you both happy.
That doesn’t mean living apart is the only solution, however. These tips will help cohabiting couples decorate their new space affordably and amicably, no couples therapy or sky-high credit card bills required.
Start with an honest conversation about money
Before stepping foot in a store, make sure you’re on the same page about what you can afford to spend. “Affordable” doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone, and failing to discuss finances upfront is a recipe for disagreements down the line. Plus, talking about how much to spend on a couch is a smart entry point for bigger conversations about money.
Then, decide how to split the bill
Sharing the cost isn’t a must. If one person has more disposable income, they might choose to pay more of the furnishing and decorating expenses. Or if you each have your own space, like an office or hobby room, you might pay those costs yourself. Either way, you’ll want to discuss the details before shopping.
Share your vision
There’s one more step to take before beginning to furnish your home. You need to create a shared vision for how your space will look. Start by creating individual vision boards to reflect your decorating tastes. Pinterest is a great free tool for this. Once that’s complete, identify shared and complementary elements between your two styles, then make a third vision board with ideas for how you can combine the two.
Look secondhand first
Shopping for secondhand furniture isn’t just cheaper and more eco-friendly than buying new items. It’s also the best way to get unique, high-quality pieces on a low budget. That’s because the most affordable new furniture often lacks durability, whereas vintage pieces have stood the test of time. For the best deals, shop locally at used furniture and furniture consignment stores as well as through local marketplaces like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. While it’s possible to buy vintage furniture online, shipping could add hundreds to the final cost.
Find ways to save
There are some things you shouldn’t buy secondhand. For bedding, bath towels, mattresses, and mattress toppers, and other household must-haves, look to budget-friendly department stores. Some saving tips include taking advantage of stackable coupons, discounted Power Hours, and store Cash promotions. Since most carry everything from vacuum cleaners to bedspreads, you can get everything you need in one go.
Buy your basics in bulk
Furniture and decorations aren’t the only things on your shopping list when moving in together. it would help if you also stocked up on household basics like toilet paper and cleaning supplies. If you want to get the best deals on these must-have items, skip the supermarket and get a membership to a store like Sam’s Club or Costco. Here’s another tip: Costco is also a great place to get mattresses, TVs, and other furnishings at a low price.
Build your collection over time
Don’t worry about fully decorating your new space right away. Not only does putting off some decorating choices save money, but it also lets you get a better feel for each other’s tastes. That way, when you spend money, you do it knowing you’re buying something you both will love.
Finally, remember that decorating a home together is all about compromise. The important thing isn’t creating a space that looks exactly like you imagined, but rather, building a place you both love. As long as you work through decorating decisions as a team, you’ll create a stylish space that you’re proud to call home.
About the Author: Natalie and her husband found the homebuying process to be incredibly overwhelming, but definitely a learning experience. Natalie hopes to help other first-time buyers by sharing her knowledge. She can be reached at homeownerbliss.info.
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