Living Together: 5 Decorating Tips for Couples

Living Together: 5 Decorating Tips for Couples

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. (I should know, I just moved in with my guy.)

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…

5 Tips for Decorating Your Home Together

  1. 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.
  2. 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 guy 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 (chevron stripes) 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.
  3. Go shopping together.
    To make the shopping process fun we would scope out local antique stores and flea markets 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…
  4. 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 my mother (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 mother 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!
  5. 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 guy and I love music so we purchased a vintage turntable and now have a wonderful little nook dedicated to our favorite records. Or if you’re particularly inspired, give one of those off-the-wall DIYs you saw online a try together as a team (Or perhaps one of Lauren’s Crafty Creations). 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?

If you have any helpful online resources for furnishing your place, share them below—I am sure your fellow readers will appreciate it!

Xx Alex
Team LC

Photo Source: Houzz, Breakfast Toast, Cupcakes and Cashmere, Mood Board, Pinterest, Architecture Digest, Blogspot, What You Fancy, Sacramento Street, The Elegant Bode, Flickr, Decor8
Categories: Alex Gariano, Decorate, Relationships
Share This
  • Monica_in_Heels

    Sooooo pretty! I am motivated to re-decorate now!

  • AnnalisaP.

    Love this post. I love decoring and creating, but unfortunately My boyfriend and I live in different cities. We see each other once a month and it is very difficult. But our love is very strong. Next year he will move to Milan (were I live) to study here, can’t wait!!!

  • Amanda Kretchmer

    This is a great article! Before my husband and I got married, he moved into what would become “”our”” home, and we started decorating it together. The best piece ofadivce is go shopping TOGETHER. You’ll get a sense of what each person likes and dislikes. Also, neautral color schemes with pops of color seem to work really well too.

  • Rachel Trampel

    These are great tips! I’ve been living with my man for 2 years and we decorated together… it was so fun! He actually enjoys that kind of stuff :-p but now we are redecorating, so I’m excited to go through the process again. I am a little bit more modern in my tastes than him, so we’ll see how it turns out :)

  • Emily Geaman

    I’m actually moving in with my brother in the fall– so this is just as helpful for that! Thanks for sharing! xx

  • Marianne Jarvis

    I found these tips really useful!! I have recently move into my new home and I am moving in with a friend so tips like this are really helpful. Even though I am single, these tips will be useful in the future when I move in with a future boyfriend! I love the decor inspiration pics! :) Xx

  • PeachyKeen

    My boyfriend and I moved in together last June, and we agreed on dark, contemporary furniture. But since he got to decorate the bathroom with his favorite college football team in mind, I got to decorate the walls and living room with my fav owl vase with pink peonies and candles everywhere.

  • Kate Noto

    For some of the stuff I got was from Kmart before it closed and the candles he found at his house and his other bedroom wall are two pictures of flowers he got from his dads friend and his wife and the other item is from Walmart.

  • JenLR

    Good tips, but I think it’s funny that 4/ pictures with furniture had feminine tufted pieces.. Tufted leather is a good compromise! Think Chesterfields :)

  • JenLR

    Good tips, but I think it’s funny that 4/9 pictures with furniture had feminine tufted pieces… Tufted leather (or faux) is a good compromise! Think Chesterfields :) Masculine and classic.

  • Ashley McDougall

    This is such a great post! My boyfriend and I recently moved into a new place and while trying to decorate, I’m always worried that my suggestions may feel a little too “”girly”” for him. I will definitely be referring to these tips and pics!

  • NoHandStand

    Hello Xx Alex,

    I am a current college student in Indy and decorating is ME. I luv your blog with limited tips on Living Together: 5 Decorating Tips For Couples… I will admit to NOT HAVING favorite websites, but network makes the space a home not just the couple…



  • Sunflower85

    love this article it brought back memories of our move!

  • Sunflower85

    Ross, Marshalls, TJMAXX, and Home Goods were definitely my stores!

  • JMR

    I’m so lucky that my partner and I have grown together, so in a sense so has our style. We don’t always agree on individual pieces, but the overall style of our house is a unique blend of the two of us and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • Paige M

    I love this post! My boyfriend and I don’t have a place of our own just yet (currently rooming at college with three others).. but I took him into Pottery Barn a couple weeks ago after he told me he had never even heard of it. It was fun to look around and we both pointed out things we liked for our hopeful future home together :)

  • Funfundate

    Great pictures! Very inspiring. :) I’m going to “”pin”” some pictures from here. I also recommend that you decorate the house so that it reflects the interests and preferences of both parties, not just one! Also, light up a little bit, buy lots of candles to enhance romance.:D

    FFD( )

  • superholly

    great tips! My BF and i recently put together our first wall and are still working out all the logistics for the rest of the bedroom…
    But definitely, as long as both are aware that the other person’s tastes are different than their own, a happy medium can be reached.

  • S

    I’m pretty sure I have all those pictures pinned on pinterest and my boyfriend approves too!

  • pinkberry0522

    my bf and i are planning to move in together when he comes home from navy boot camp (reserves) so i’ve been looking at apts and homes for rent for our little family of 3, and this article (complete with pics!) was sooo helpful, thank you so much for helping me realize how much compromise is required as well as some things that he can help me with! the pinterest board was very inspiring.

  • tinsol

    I find this article to be ridiculously sexist. I am not sure why women in general (there are exceptions) think they are better than men at designing and need to hold men’s hands and initiate. I have always designed our apartments together because well she just cannot see the bigger visual picture and always likes the first thing she sees or is driven by the market. apparently you are as well- Pottery Barn? Really? I cant respect anyone who calls themselves a design expert and shops in the mall for furniture.

    • Michael

      What ^ he said. Geez!

      • Jaz

        The exact words were, “while the idea of living in a Pottery Barn catalogue is alluring, home should feel like your home.” This quote infers that one should collect items from places that add personality to their homes to make them feel like home-whether it’s Pottery Barn, a flea market or wherever is up to the individual. Maybe if you read more carefully and read the context around this quote, you would have caught that. And you say she’s sexist? Look in the mirror, buddy.

    • Jess

      I just feel the need to say that this article and entire blog in general is targeted mainly toward WOMEN. I don’t believe it to be sexist or stating that ALL women are “better than men at designing,” however I think the article DOES apply to a majority of women. I’ve found in my experience with my husband, brothers, father, stepfather, friends, etc, etc, etc. that typically men are a bit more indifferent toward home decor. As you stated, there are plenty of exceptions to this, however, the entire article is simply about how to compromise and find a style that matches both personalities. If this blog’s target market was men, this could easily be flipped to read how men want certain things women don’t in a home, & how to work around that. Compromise, buddy. Not sexism.

    • Jess

      ALSO. As Jaz mentions below, it’s about creating a “home [that] should feel like your home.” This goes both directions. You are simply looking for reasons this is sexist.

    • denimsunflower

      There is nothing at all that says she thinks she’s better at decorating than her man. Nothing whatsoever. She never said anything about holding a guy’s hand and initiating (btw, I’d hold my guy’s hand, but that’s just because I like holding his hand :) ). Both men and women need to initiate certain things in their relationships and how that happens is different in every relationship. ALL people prefer what they like to what everyone else likes, which is fine, and the part of the point she’s trying to make. She’s actually trying to help women be LESS sexist in their opinions and making a home by telling them they need to compromise with their significant other, rather than choose everything without consideration to the other person’s wishes. Stop trying to cause drama. You obviously have the issues you claim this blog has, sexism and no consideration for what other people’s opinions are.

  • jrams89

    When we got married I moved into his bachelorhood house. Nothing wrong with it other than uniform sand colored walls (he bought a new build house) and furniture to match the boringness. The house lacked efficiency due to him simply having purchased what he needed and didnt put much thought into the flow. Needless to say, I felt like I am drowning in a sea of boring and it continued to feel like “”his house”” rather than “”our house””. It took a little bit of convincing but we have begun redecorating a few months later. I dont buy anything without him, save for a few minor detail type things. Now we can say everything in this house is what we both love and wanted. And I learned that the boy who had very few opinion the first time around actually has a lot of opinion and likes being a part of the decision. This is a good little article.

  • mindcrew

    Design ideas for your new living room: give your living room an overhaul with our design ideas arranged by style and theme. Using our medium of high strength specialty concrete, we create furniture, countertops, sculptures, etc. All in the name of art, but specific to your function.

  • Salokb

    Anyone know where that wooden bed is from in the second to last picture? I love it and can’t seem to find out where I might be able to get it.

    • m3l1

      Try Ikea I swear I have seen it there

  • Nicole Smith

    I love these ideas!

  • Vida Abreu

    Creating a board on Pinterest is brilliant, thanks for that tip! My guy and I are in the process of renovating his home and he is really making sure that my style and tastes are being injected into the redesign of the home. Well he better, I am a designer! I think it’s important that couples take a selfless approach to design and allow each other to express themselves by infusing both styles to create a totally unique one. Not everything has to be mutually decided upon or be matchy matchy. As long as it feels like home in the end, everyone wins. :)

  • Anthony

    The Bed: The bed should be a strong piece in your bedroom, not too dainty or lacy. The frame should be a square and strong shape. Neutral patterns, like faint stripes or batik print, are a gender safe option over floral.

    Room Accessories: Keep colors in a neutral color family, like orange, red and yellows or greens and blues. Accents like throws, pillows and rugs should stay within the same color family.

    Customize Lighting: Get furniture with clean lines, like the simple and modern styles at IKEA, and use modern and minimalist lamps and lighting to keep the vibe of the room au courant.

    Cozy Extras: a papizan chair with a comfy pillow & throw are a cozy way to add a comforting aspect to your room without being overwhelmingly girly. Trunks and other accent pieces are also good for providing a little more action to the room.


    • denimsunflower

      For your own house this is great. Other people might prefer it a different way, so maybe try suggesting things that are less specific next time?

  • jessica

    I wish she would of said partner or significant other in the first opening line. Assuming every girl out there reading this is straight isn’t helpful for gay women or men.

  • Ilia Mura

    I did the pinterest thing as well and it helped so much in deciding on a colour scheme and rough style we were going for! We also made an actual board where we could stick different fabric and textures together etc.

  • projectmanager.sayal

    When you are choosing colors for the exterior of your home, think first about how you would like your home to FEEL. If you would like it to feel bold and exciting you may want to use a higher level of contrast.

  • Sofia

    Where is the coffee table with metal legs and wooden top from?!

  • Julia Kristina

    Some GREAT pins for the board here. I especially love the bedroom with the pintuck headboard.


    Julia Kristina

  • Kristina

    Just about to move in to a new house with my partner – so thank you for the tips :) Houzz and Apartment Therapy have definitely helped with the inspiration!

  • The Single Diaries

    Great post! I used a very similar process when my boyfriend and I moved in together this September. First I created a Pinterest board and had him help me edit it until we agreed on the aesthetic we were after. When we were ready to buy the big pieces we shopped together. The small accent pieces I picked out and ran past him before purchasing. And, just like you’ve said we tried to pick out a few things that were really personal to us. For example, we love to ride bikes together so we are looking for a big art print of a bicycle to hang on our wall. I have to agree that making it work is all about collaboration– a little of his and a little of hers!

    XO Jen | The Single Diaries

  • Karen Farber

    Love the idea of having your S.O. check out your inspiration board on Pinterest! I think that is super helpful in beginning to understand each other’s wants & needs for the home.

  • Sugar & Roses

    Wonderful post, Lauren! It is a delicate balance between making a room feel well designed and making people feel comfortable in your home, especially your husband. You have given me inspiration to possibly upgrade our glass coffee table to something sturdier!

    Your design aesthetic and clean, simple decor is gorgeous!

    XOXO – Sugar & Roses

  • Andrea Bakti

    What can be the dimensions of the table on the third picture from below (with Chanel book)?

  • LadyRigg87

    What if your boyfriend’s “style” is to hang anime posters on the wall?



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