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7 Design Secrets to Happy Cohabitation

By: Charlotte Beach

February 11, 2017

via Illinois Criminal Defense

Cohabitation. No one said it was easy. Even the word itself is overly complicated. But when moving in with a SO, it’s important to have some design tricks up your sleeve. With these hacks you’ll protect those nightly cuddle sessions on the couch while eliminating the screaming matches and thrown plates. From compromising to open communication, here are the design rules for living better together.

Related: Adventures in Cohabitation: A Move that Made a Happy Home 

Start Fresh

Revamp your space together, treating each room like a blank slate you’ll transform as a team. Think of the home you share as a representation of your relationship, weaving your tastes together. Honor both of your perspectives but be wary of clashing aesthetics. Your styles don’t need to be identical so long as you find ways for them to compliment one another.

Take Stock

Starting from scratch can do wonders for your burgeoning relationship, but we all have that statement lamp we just can’t seem to let go of or even family heirlooms we most certainly won’t toss (lest we get an earful from Mom when she visits). Be sure to take inventory of the items you’ll be lugging along in order to coordinate and budget.

Choose Your Design Battles

Designing as a team is easier said than done — just because you love him doesn’t mean you love his affinity for heavy oak bedside tables. But it’s important to compromise and let certain things go, as difficult as that might sound. While the “Man Cave” solution might have worked for your parents, exiling your boyfriend to some remote corner of your home doesn’t really strike a loving, inclusive tone. We’re not saying you need to hang his framed Tom Brady jersey over the mantle, but letting him leave his mark on your space will represent your complete acceptance of his authentic self.

Talk it Out

When living with anyone, whether they be a boyfriend, a friend, or even a sassy cat, communication is key. This is no exception when designing a space together. “Nagging and passive aggression is so cute!” said no one ever. Have open, honest dialogues about that pink velvet couch you’re envisioning for the living room, or what color you’ve always wanted to paint the kitchen.

Minimize the Mess

Messy isn’t sexy. At least not on the long term. So cultivate good habits of tidying up to minimize chaos in your home and in your relationship. Dirty dishes in the sink have been the kiss of death for many a cohabitation situation, so beware. Try incorporating shelves and other means of storage in each room to make putting items away just as easy as throwing them on the ground.

Preserve Some Personal Space

While we don’t endorse the “Man Cave” concept wholeheartedly, we have to admit it is healthy in any relationship to preserve alone time and space. Setting up a cozy reading nook for yourself or understanding that someone’s desk is completely their own domain can be small yet relationship-saving strategies to retaining your sense of individuality while still living with someone else.

Slow it Down

When diving into these co-designing waters headfirst, the water can be a lot colder and choppier than expected. If you and your bae keep arguing about rugs and throw pillows, there’s no shame in hitting the pause button for a while. Take a break and just enjoy each other’s company, remembering why you wanted to live together in the first place. With time, the water will settle, you’ll adjust to the temperature and that’s when you should gear up for your next dive.

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