When two become one
When you and your partner make the decision to start living together, you are making a commitment to each other that you will be together for at least the term of your lease. This may have some folks thinking about marriage, babies and college savings, and it may leave others overwhelmed at the thought of fitting all of their clothing into a shared closet. With all of these changes in your relationship and possibly your zip code happening in a relatively short time, it’s not hard to feel overwhelmed or exasperated at the thought of finding a home to spend your life in.
Here are a few tips on how to make moving in together stress free, fun and even romantic.
1. Go on “open house dates” to decide what you like (and dislike)
Photo by: Sposto Photography
Before you and your significant other sign up to be on House Hunters, you two should spend a Saturday going on open house dates. You should bring a camera and a notebook (or use the apps for both on your phones) and take photos and notes of what each of you likes and dislikes. This can help give you both tangible examples of what you’re looking for in a home, and an idea of what you two might be able to afford. To look for open houses in your area, check out Zillow’s Open House map.
2. Set a budget – and stick to it
After you two have window shopped for homes or apartments in your area, you’ll probably have a list of your living must-haves and deal-breakers. But, it is important to know how much these must haves will cost. Budgeting your expenses, incomes, spending habits, debts and luxuries will help you two see what each month’s rent or mortgage will do to your current lifestyle and it may also help you two see areas where you could be cutting costs.
3. Go through your existing furniture and get a storage unit for doubles and items that won’t fit in your new space
Photo by: Sposto Photography
If you two are moving in together for the first time, it is very likely that you will have doubles of many things. Coffee pots, blenders, couches, beds and even microwaves will take up excess space in your new home, which may be smaller than your previous dwelling if you were living with roommates. The least painful way of deciding whose furniture and appliances makes the cut for the new home is to get a storage unit to house all of the duplicates and items that will not fit in your new home. There are even services that will allow you to pack your storage unit at your house and they will move it away for you once it is full.
4. Use an app to make a mockup of your new space
Photo by: Rachel McCauley Photography
If you are buying new furniture for your home, it can be hard to visualize how each piece will look once it is out of a showroom. On home remodel shows, interior designers typically show clients and viewers a personalized mockup of what the finished space will look like. While that once seemed like television magic, the app Design Home now offer users the ability to create digital versions of their homes and place furniture currently available at many retailers in each room to see how it will look when completed. So, if you are planning to redo your dining room, you can decorate it using pieces featured on the app and then purchase the actual dining room furniture from your design.
5. Add personal touches with decor and accent pieces
While many couples would prefer to use paint color and custom hardwood floors to express their personal taste in their homes, most rental properties do not allow painting and not everyone can afford brand new flooring throughout their entire house. A cost-efficient way to reflect personal style and add color is to decorate with your interests in mind. Sites like Pier 1 Imports or even Ikea have decor for every room of your new home in a variety of colors, materials, patterns and price points to showcase your individuality.
Enjoy the process friends and cheers to new chapters of life!