3 Rules for Budget-Friendly Decorating When You First Move in Together

Article courtesy of Suzie Wilson:

When you and your significant other decide to move in together, there are lots of decisions to make. One of the biggest is figuring out how to decorate your new home on a budget. You have to determine what goes, what stays, and what new items to add — all while finding your couple style. Use these “rules” to do all of that and keep the peace for a smooth and happy transition.

Rule #1 – Keep Things Equal

You may have a decorating style that’s completely in sync, or you may be polar opposites. Either way, when you’re moving in with someone, it can be difficult deciding which items to take to your new home. The best course of action is to be equal — both about what each of you gets rid of and keeps. Start by looking at what you own and really consider what works best in your new space.The blog Modsy recommends using this approach to purging for both big items and the smaller knicknacks.

Purging and sorting your home can be overwhelming, and you don’t want to rush the process. If there are a few items the two of you can’t agree on, put them in storage until you can decide. The overall average price of a self-storage unit booked in New York, New York over the past 180 days is $93.24.

Rule #2: Make a Plan

Before you jump into furniture shopping, it’s important to come to an agreement about how much money should go into decorating. According to home design expert Kathy Kuo, the total average cost of a high-end living room project can be as much as $49,000, compared to a standard living room project of $14,000. Even if these numbers are nowhere near your budget, they demonstrate how drastically furniture costs vary — and the importance of establishing expectations ahead of time.

Once you have some numbers in mind, there are other ways you can plan ahead to ensure decorating your new place is a success, such as the following:

  • Go shopping together. Before buying anything new, start by browsing stores together. This can be an inexpensive date night, either out on the town or online. It will help you get a sense of a style that fits you both, and it will also help you set a budget.
  • Find a focal point. One of the best ways to bring your style together is to pick one thing in each room to be a focal point. This can be something practical like the sofa in the living room or a bedroom suite, or it can be something fun like a piece of artwork you both love.
  • Think about rituals. Decorating isn’t just about style; it’s also about how you use the space on a daily basis. Think about rituals, such as hobbies or sharing meals together, and how to decorate so your home is set up conveniently for these everyday activities.

Rule #3 – Avoid These Mistakes

  • Don’t try to make everything match. You may worry that combining furniture and accessories will mean nothing matches. If you feel this way, resist the temptation to throw it all out and buy matching sets. Combining your styles means your home will look more eclectic, rather than a furniture showroom.
  • Don’t paint right away. Many couples think painting is the quickest way to make a place their “own.” Maybe it is—but you want to make sure to pick the right colors and to match paint to your furniture and decor, not the other way around. The average cost of an interior painting project can be anywhere between $450 and $760, so it’s not a decision you want to make lightly.

Life is about balance — that’s what you want in your relationship, and it’s what you want in your home. To find that balance, look at decorating as a fun challenge to take on together. Adopting this measured approach is the best way to make it all work while staying on budget.


Suzie Wilson is an interior designer with more than 20 years experience. What started as a hobby (and often, a favor to friends) turned into a passion for creating soothing spaces in homes of every size and style. While her goal always includes making homes look beautiful, her true focus is on fashioning them into serene, stress-free environments that inspire tranquility in all who enter. The Ultimate Guide to Prepping Your Home for an Open House is filled with tips, tricks and other advice based on Suzie’s years of experience in interior home design that will set you up for success.

Suzie Wilson ⎸info@happierhome.net  Happier Home

Photo credit: Pexels

Thank you Suzie for writing this article for Peer 2 Peer Real Estate.