Dos and Don’ts of Decorating Your First Home as a Couple

Daxiao Productions/Shutterstock

An interior designer shares how to navigate decorating your first home with a significant other.

The thought of decorating your first home together as a couple can be one of the most exciting things about moving in with your partner. On the other hand, it can also be the most stressful. Decorating as a couple can be a difficult feat for people that have been married for decades. After all, creating a cohesive oasis both people are happy to call home takes a lot of time and careful consideration. This is why we asked interior decorator Jane Lockhart to share her golden rules for decorating together as a couple.

Don’t Let One Person Make All the Decorating Decisions

“Before you move in together, take the time to talk about your goals and priorities for how you want to live,” says Lockhart. It can be tempting for one partner who may be passionate about design and décor to start shopping right away, but there are many benefits in waiting and seeing how your styles and current furniture work together. Just know that when doing so, there will be a few clashes in your décor, Lockhart warns. “I’ve seen many over-stuffed, black leather sofas covered in sparkly pillows and glass and chrome coffee tables laden with vases of flowers and candles,” she says.

There are many benefits of waiting on decorating and trying out each other’s styles. First of all, it’s a great way to save money when you first move in together. Secondly, it helps you to prioritize which pieces you want to purchase next and gives you enough time to find what works for your space. This can make decorating your home a longer process, but there’s no need to rush if you’re in it for the long-haul, Lockhart explains.

What You Should Do: Make Decorating a Team Effort   

When you’re decorating as a couple, it’s important to openly communicate your style preferences with your partner. Give the other person a chance to express why their style is important to them, says Lockhart. From there, look for a common thread that works for both of your preferences, she says. For instance, agreeing on a colour palette you both love is a great jumping point for deciding the rest of your décor.

Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Don’t Skimp on Furniture

 One of the biggest design mistakes couples make is buying pieces of furniture too hastily, Lockhart explains. “Buying or repurposing well-used pieces that can be reupholstered is better than buying, and then re-buying cheap furniture,” she says. Think of furniture as an investment and opt for high-quality classic pieces that can be used for years to come.    

What You Should Do: Invest in a Couch

“A great, custom-made sofa is a fantastic investment,” says Lockhart. “You don’t have to buy a matching set of anything, just one well-made piece.”

Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Professional Help  

If you can’t happily agree on how to mesh your styles together, interior designers can help get you there or even create an entirely new style together, says Lockhart. Interior designers are trained to make your space functional and beautiful and can help you stay on budget with their industry prices on materials and products, she explains. “We’re not trained therapists but we’ve been known to settle an argument or two!” she says.

“Sometimes it takes a designer to help articulate what your style is and that can lead to great solutions that can’t always be seen when you’re in the middle of a discussion,” Lockhart explains. “Many couples are more closely aligned in what they like then they thought they were.”

What You Should Also Do: Add Meaningful Touches to Your Home

Personal touches are the best way to make a house feel like a home. Take time to curate meaningful objects and details that tell the story of your time together as a couple. A map of the city you met in, a gallery wall featuring your favourite photos together, or picking up special pieces such as vase from your anniversary date to the art gallery are some of the many ways you can personalize your home together.