You’ve done it: braved the first date, revelled in months of loved-up adventures, and come to the conclusion that moving in together is the logical –and incredibly exciting – next step. Surely, his penchant for animal prints, chintzy cushions and faux-fur throws will subside now you’ve got to share everything… Won’t it? Should you be in any doubt, here’s our top five tips for cohabiting successfully and compromising on style, without compromising your relationship…
1. Keep things simple
However contrasting your tastes, diluted versions of even the most outlandish styles can work surprisingly well together. Pick out a few items you simply ‘can’t live without’ and see how they can work alongside the ones he’s devoted too as well. Alternatively, seek out statement items that combine both your tastes, such as the Kartell Bourgie Lamp above, a traditional Baroque design crafted from Perspex for a cutting-edge, modern slant (£211, housingunits.co.uk).
2. Be accommodating
If he’s moving into yours, or vice versa, it’s going to be tricky to accommodate both partners’ tastes without someone’s nose getting out of joint. Ideally, you’ll be shacking up in a brand-new city-centre apartment ready for you to make your own, but – this being the real world and not Made in Chelsea – we’ll assume someone will already be ‘in situ’. If that’s you, create a little more space for his personal bits and bobs (a line can be drawn at those posed family portraits though, which are unforgivable at the best of times). Similarly, in the bedroom, create ample space to ensure you don’t step out of bed and straight onto his Tom Ford belt buckle. If you’re moving into his, remember that – until now – it’s been his space, and your childhood collection of money boxes may not be top on his interiors hot list. You’ve got to make it yours, but perhaps leave that teddy bear off the bed. For now… This living room set-up from Marks & Spencer is a great example of how you can successfully display lots of items without over-crowding a room.
His idea of interiors nirvana is a room of sleek modern lines and gleaming white surfaces, whilst you favour period pieces and a touch of retro charm. Don’t panic, because there’s always a way to combine even the most contrasting of tastes, whilst avoiding living in a home that resembles a jumble sale. The most important thing is that the space reflects both of you, so consider creating a mood board that incorporates both of your styles to give you an idea of how they can work harmoniously. You can easily do it online at gomoodboard.com, or head down to your local armed with a stack of interiors mags, scissors and a pritt-stick (don’t hold us responsible for the resulting vodka-fuelled interior ‘look’ though…). We like how Raft have combined rustic materials with ultra-modern touches to create a look that demonstrates contrast at its best.
4. Start from scratch
If you’re moving into a pad that’s new for both of you, you’ll be in the lucky position where you can truly make it your own. So – even if you’ve favoured contrasting styles up until now – you can create a look that’s all about you as a couple. Instead of trawling interiors websites or stores, head to a design exhibition together to seek inspiration and you may discover an array of styles you never knew you loved. Try Decorex in Syon Park from 20-23 September.
5. Go back to basics
It’s a well-known fact that a trip to IKEA can either make or breake a relationship. Whether that’s down to the ‘inspirational’ surroundings of Purley Way Croydon or the panic-inducing labyrinthine nature of the store itself we’re not at liberty to say, but what we do believe is if you make it round and are still together by the time you reach the room full of picture frames at the end, you’ve definitely found ‘THE ONE’. It may not be the epitome of creativity, but the Swedish interior haven is phenomenally popular for a reason, and a joint trip to get the essentials – sofa, dining table, chairs and, er, a couple of those hot dogs – will mean you’re off to a good start with all the key pieces, and should ensure you have a base look that you’re both happy with. The Slahult/Dalshult table and chairs set provides the perfect simple centrepiece to build your kitchen around.
Words by VICTORIA SMITH