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Room Therapy: A Successful Cohabitation?


Dear Casa (and Casa Readers),

My boyfriend of two years and I have been talking about moving in with each other. However, I'm the homeowner, and he would be moving into my space. We've talked about how this would work, treating it as "our" space. But he is still worried about feeling like it would be more my space. I've suggested moving my items out of one room, so he can have a space completely his own, and that we can incorporate his other items into the rest of the house.

Any suggestions on how to make this transition more welcoming to someone moving into a space?

Thanks much,
HelloKittyMini

To see my suggestion for HelloKittyMini, and to leave a suggestion for her, just

.

Dear HelloKittyMini,

I know that DearSugar is answering the more relationship-oriented part of this query, so I'll stick to the interior design portion.

First of all, it's always more difficult to move into a partner's house than for both parties to move into a new house together. I just went through the same experience when I moved into my fiancé's house, which he owns. As this sounds like you're in a serious relationship, it could very well be possible that the house will belong to both of you in the future, in a legal sense. But for now, to make both you and your boyfriend feel good about the situation, you should definitely integrate your boyfriend's ideas, furniture, and sentimental belongings into your home-décor scheme.

One thing that really helped my move in was to switch the rooms around, which helped to make the house feel "new" to both of us. My fiancé and I moved the bedroom and the office around, repainted, and also rearranged the dining room, kitchen, and living room. Projects like this will help your boyfriend feel as if he's invested in his living situation, and not just a tenant living under your roof.

Depending on the size of your house, giving your boyfriend a room of his own may be overly accommodating. Instead, try to make a workspace that both of you can use, but at different times. This way you'll each have a "getaway" if you need it.

One thing that you should definitely be open to is potentially minimizing the girliness of your pad, now that your man will be living there. You're going to have to introduce a more masculine aesthetic into the house. This may mean getting rid of floral bedding (it certainly did for me) or investing in artwork that has bold, primary colors and more man-friendly subject matter (note: cute cartoon creatures rarely cut it).

I know that a lot of other Casa readers who've shacked up also have some great advice for HelloMiniKitty, so leave your comment below!

Thanks,
Casa
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JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 8 years
My husband will let me do whatever I want decorating wise but I know his taste and wouldn't do anything I knew he wouldn't like. Hopefully you're at this place with your boyfriend. I agree that changing the house around would make it feel more new to both of you. If you have the space giving him his own room could be a good idea as long as you're willing to let him furnish and decorate it however he likes. That would be tough for me. Getting things together for the place is a great place to start. Buying new linens, maybe painting a room together, even a new sofa or chair or even a new tv will make it more "our" space and less "my" space.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 8 years
My husband will let me do whatever I want decorating wise but I know his taste and wouldn't do anything I knew he wouldn't like. Hopefully you're at this place with your boyfriend. I agree that changing the house around would make it feel more new to both of you. If you have the space giving him his own room could be a good idea as long as you're willing to let him furnish and decorate it however he likes. That would be tough for me. Getting things together for the place is a great place to start. Buying new linens, maybe painting a room together, even a new sofa or chair or even a new tv will make it more "our" space and less "my" space.
sarlafrock sarlafrock 8 years
I moved into my boyfriend's place and it took a while for it to be " my home". I think it happens over time though, you can't force it. Now that I've lived there for a year we've painted several rooms, bought a bunch of furniture together, etc - and I know a lot of things are at least part mine. It just takes time to get used to where everything is going to go and fitting 2 people's stuff into where 1 person's has been... (we're in a 1 bedroom in DC so there is not a lot of extra space). Just enjoy being together and everything will work itself out. Just make sure that both partners check with one another about "house" decisions and it might take a few "I don't feel like I live here" conversations to sort it all out. I actually liked those because I felt like we grew more together.
sarlafrock sarlafrock 8 years
I moved into my boyfriend's place and it took a while for it to be " my home". I think it happens over time though, you can't force it. Now that I've lived there for a year we've painted several rooms, bought a bunch of furniture together, etc - and I know a lot of things are at least part mine. It just takes time to get used to where everything is going to go and fitting 2 people's stuff into where 1 person's has been... (we're in a 1 bedroom in DC so there is not a lot of extra space). Just enjoy being together and everything will work itself out. Just make sure that both partners check with one another about "house" decisions and it might take a few "I don't feel like I live here" conversations to sort it all out. I actually liked those because I felt like we grew more together.
mayara mayara 8 years
If you have the space for it, I'm all for the room set aside just for him, at least to start out with. As the one who moved into their partner's place, that did a lot of good for me. I no longer have a room that's just mine, as it no longer felt as useful as it once was (a few years ago), but it certainly helped that transition to living together in a place that was his before.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 8 years
That's why I moved out and he moved out and we moved into a BRAND NEW apartment together. I know everyone can't do this...but it did help a ton.
megnmac megnmac 8 years
I agree on the decorating, my husband and I agree on the neutral tones that have taken over, and the fun kitchy stuff from the college days has been replaced with a more quiet adult tone. I don't know if I'd have ever gone through and reevaluated my stuff if he hadn't come along. I also am 100% on needing a separate space. My husband and I lived in a 1 bedroom in DC for 3 years, and it was really hard to be tired, and frustrated, and want to just be alone and unable to get more than 10 feet away from him and the sound of the tv. We did partition to a degree though, so that I could study and he could avoid bothering me, and I really think that is so important to any cohabitation - breathing room!
megnmac megnmac 8 years
I agree on the decorating, my husband and I agree on the neutral tones that have taken over, and the fun kitchy stuff from the college days has been replaced with a more quiet adult tone. I don't know if I'd have ever gone through and reevaluated my stuff if he hadn't come along. I also am 100% on needing a separate space. My husband and I lived in a 1 bedroom in DC for 3 years, and it was really hard to be tired, and frustrated, and want to just be alone and unable to get more than 10 feet away from him and the sound of the tv. We did partition to a degree though, so that I could study and he could avoid bothering me, and I really think that is so important to any cohabitation - breathing room!
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