Moving in with your partner is exciting. It’s fun! However, it can also be frustrating when you realize your interior design preferences don’t quite match up as well as your personalities…Where you might imagine placing a lovely antique armchair, your significant other may envision a green leather recliner (cup holder included). Needless to say, couples won’t always see eye-to-eye on every design decision and compromise is key.
As a woman it can be difficult to let go of your natural inclination to lean toward more feminine touches when putting together a home. If you’re like me, you just can’t help yourself when it comes to throw pillows (the more the merrier!), dust ruffles, and scented candles (vanilla and peony, please!). Also pink. Nevertheless, there is a happy balance that can be achieved—one that isn’t too girly or too manly—and I am going to share a few of my best pointers with you along with some inspiring photos of man-friendly interiors…

Take an inventory

Before you go shopping or decide on a collective “look,” it’s a good idea to know exactly what you’re working with and what you might want to get rid of.

Find inspiration

When I first moved in with my guy I created a board on Pinterest where I pinned images of rooms that I really liked (and thought my husband might like, too). I included furniture items that I was drawn to as well as color schemes. Then I presented this board to my other half and had him explain why he did and didn’t like each pin (at the time I only had about 20 items pinned). This was a really useful exercise because it helped me understand which things he could tolerate (colored sheets) and which things he couldn’t stand (tufted couches—tear). It also helped us uncover a mutually agreed upon aesthetic that we could use as the base to build our home around.

Go shopping together

To make the shopping process fun we would scope out local antique stores and flea markets (in Sweden & Denmark) to ensure that everything we added to our home felt authentic. We also found that we could make more levelheaded decisions about furniture purchases when we were both present (this also helps to avoid arguments down the line). Definitely, definitely go shopping together. You might be surprised to learn that your guy has a very discerning eye…

Buy a sturdy coffee table

I was set on getting a Lucite coffee table when we first moved in together. Hell bent, as some might say. However, after an enlightening afternoon with one of my girlfriends (who happens to be an interior designer herself), I learned that having a sturdy coffee table in the living room is important to a guy because as my friend put it, “he needs to feel like he can kick up his feet when he’s at home.” Naturally the thought of my guy with his feet propped up on my Lucite coffee table brushed through my mind…Terror. I finally folded and we ended up getting a really cool aged metal table that he doesn’t need to tiptoe around. I think he really appreciated my ability to recognize his needs and accommodate. The moral? Be practical and considerate, it will always pay off. Oh, and get a sturdy coffee table!

Make it personal

While the idea of living in a Pottery Barn catalogue is alluring, the fact of the matter is that “home” should feel like your home. Think about the things that are special to you as a couple and individually and figure out how to work those elements into your new place. For example, my husband and I love music so we purchased a vintage turntable and now have a wonderful little nook dedicated to our favorite records. Either way, it will create something special and unique along with a few memories to boot.
And now for some divine design inspiration…

In addition to Pinterest, some of my favorite websites to find interior inspiration include Apartment Therapy, decor8, houzz, and Design*Sponge.

What are yours? Do you have any pointers for decorating your home as a couple?

XO Natasha