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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,

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!


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