Sometimes moving in together can make a relationship seem more real than even a wedding can. When you are taking that big step, it is important to use the opportunity to acknowledge the duality and importance of your relationship without discounting your individuality. Here are some things to keep in mind when you go about decorating your first house.
1. Clean house
Before you combine households, both you and your partner should go through your things and get rid of things you don't need. You also may want to get rid of things that remind you of past relationships or that don't fit in the relationship you have now or the future you want to make together. Hold a garage sale or take unwanted things to thrift stores. Make room for each other in your belongings.
2. Find out what you want
Get ideas of what you want for your new space. This could mean gathering paint chips and drawer pulls, cutting pictures out of magazines, or writing down what you like about friends' houses. Sit down with your partner and see where your two styles mesh and where they differ. In some rooms, you may want to make room for both styles of decorating. In other areas, one spouse may win out and make most of the decorating decisions. This is an opportunity to have fun dreaming about the new home you're making together.
3. Consider the space
Think about what each living area is designed for in your home and arrange the decor around the space's functionality. You might want to decorate your bedroom in sexy or tranquil colors, for example, or decorate your bathroom in greens and blues. You can also have fun with the Asian tradition of Feng Shui while decorating. It is a system of organizing elements in the home to promote harmony and good energy. Feng shui directs you to arrange furniture in specific arrangements to promote the flow of energy throughout the house. Each living space corresponds to its own quality, depending on where it is located in the house. For the area corresponding to wealth and prosperity, you could put a fountain with running water, valuable possessions, or the colors green or orange. For the area corresponding to fame and reputation, you can decorate with diplomas and other representations of your achievements or those you want to cultivate.
You don't have to use the energy center aspect of Feng Shui to enjoy its benefits. Use running water to bring more of something into an area and to clean the energy. Use red colors for passion, blue for tranquility, grey for subduing, yellow for energizing. Many people decorate their bedroom in blues or other cool colors. If you are interested in increasing or accentuating the passion in your relationship, though, reds, purples, and oranges would be better colors. You needn't have a bedroom that looks like a brothel to enjoy these colors. Use them as accents and play with textures: use sheets that feel good to the touch. Display elements of your togetherness in the room, and keep work and stress outside of its walls.
Once you know what you're looking for, hit the stores running. You might want to utilize thrift and discount stores like Goodwill, TJ Maxx, or Overstock.com. Try out Craigslist and the newspaper's classified ads, as well as antique stores to find good deals on interesting pieces for your new home.
You'll never have another first home together. Remember, even if it is a one-bedroom apartment in an undesirable area of town, it is the home you are creating together. Make it your haven from the outside world, and make it something you can cherish together. That's a good early step in any marriage.