If you are moving in with your partner, and are wondering where to begin as far as making it a home you both will enjoy here's my number one tip:Design your life, not just your home.
Start the conversation
Are you the entertaining types? Do you lean towards a particular style: masculine, feminine, formal, casual, modern, etc. ? What are your lives like on a daily basis? Are you laid back? Busy? What are your hobbies? Perfectionists? Ok with messy? Do you enjoy color? Who needs a lot of closet space? Do you need separate areas: for quiet alone time? How do you imagine yourself, is your partner quietly reading while you are talking on the phone?
What are your goals? Get talking!
Think of the stages you will enjoy your home in. Morning, evening, night. As well as week, and week end, and long term stages like the goals and dreams you both have. Leave room for possibilities: such as hoping to entertain more, or storage for new hobbies. The thing you don't want to do is limit yourselves. Think of the day to day practicalities and merge those with your dreams. Find the compromise if you are very different in style. An Interior Designer can come up with creative ways to merge styles.
Close Old Chapters
Each of you should edit some of the past, don't get me wrong the past is what made you into the fine person reading my blog today! But let go of that chair you've had through college that your girlfriend hates. Or a print that won't go with your new combined style, but you've enjoyed and can now let go of. Be sensitive, but also ready to move forward together.
I don't think of a home as ever "done" and now it's time to celebrate! I think of a home as a living space that changes and grows. Pick up something from a trip you take together, or buy a new set of dishes because you enjoy cooking together. It would always be transforming a little, this cannot be faked. This is the total of your lives together, and as a designer I try to always be sensitive to a couples favorite things and work them in to the design for their home. That doesn't mean you shouldn't celebrate your new place together right away, have a housewarming party and crack open the Champagne!
Create Your Own Reality
If you both enjoy a more "urban" look, who says you can't design that in your home in the suburbs? If you want a fabulous closet but lack space, look into creative options to get what you want. If you want to put southern wicker on your urban balcony, why not? I draw the line at Palm Tree prints hanging in your beach house, though.
Good Taste Can be Learned!
There are plenty of things around us that are pretentious and ugly. Trust what innately feels good for you: color wise, texture wise,etc. This is what is compatible with you and your personality. As a couple, this is your "story". Your spirit as a couple will bind these things together. You and your partner may be out shopping for your home and find that you are both drawn to a sofa or object, that might surprise you! Be true to your tastes, and allow them to grow. Gather what is meaningful and true to your living style. Remember, you will both outgrow your current taste as time goes by and pay attention to that. Like I said, a home is a living thing!!