A Newlyweds’ Guide to Designing Your First Home (Part I)

 

You’ve made it this far — past the wedding, the festivities, and onto your new life as a couple. Now, you’re ready to design your first home together without compromising the bank… or the honeymoon phase!

This guide will help steer you into safe waters, taking you through all the big decisions and steps needed to bring your perfect home to life.

 
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Step 1: Find Your Individual Styles

I’ve worked with many couples where the husband or wife knew how they wanted to decorate and the other was perfectly content to go along for the ride. That’s great, but fast-forward a few years and you might have a partner who isn’t so gung-ho about the space anymore.

I really encourage both of you to research design inspiration online, and separately, so you have the time and space to really ask yourself what brings you joy. Find some photos that speak to you on a visceral level, even if you aren’t sure exactly why.

And, remember ladies, if you tell hubby to look for “design inspiration” and set him free, you may find him lost in Netflix an hour later. (The poor, misguided soul.)

I leave it to you to open his eyes to the big, wide world of Pinterest. ;)

 
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Step 2: Think About Colors You Might Want in Your Home

For a first home, it’s a great idea to stick with a neutral foundation and introduce colors as textiles and accessories, mainly because your preferences can change — and pillows are much easier to swap out than that big sofa!

Together, look at just the COLORS in the inspirational images you each picked out and ask yourselves:

  • Is there an underlying mood or feeling to the images? (Fresh, lively, mellow, etc.)

  • Are the tones light vs. dark? Warm vs. cool?

  • Is there one color you both definitely agree on?

  • Is there any color that either of you really, truly can’t stand?

  • What neutral tones complement the colors that are present?

Once you’ve picked out some colors you both like — even if they feel contradictory! — you can find a palette that embraces them. I suggest using Design-Seeds’ Search by Color feature for your palette hunt.

 
Pro Tip: If you’ll be painting your space, be sure to read our    Color Q&A and avoid the most common mistakes!

Pro Tip: If you’ll be painting your space, be sure to read our Color Q&A and avoid the most common mistakes!

 

Step 3: Discuss How to Blend Your Favorite Design Styles

Alright, so you’ve both found some interiors that speak to your heart, you’ve agreed on a palette… but now your “better half” wants a handsome leather man cave where you want a soft and cozy reading nook!

This is where compromise comes in — and yes, if you get a little creative, you can have the best of both worlds. After all, who’s to say that cozy reading nook chair can’t be clad in baby-soft leather and accompanied by a knit blanket? Exactly.

First, look at the STYLES of the images you each picked, and note which of the following you see:

  • Clean, modern lines or traditional curves?

  • Organic, natural materials or engineered metals?

  • Intricate details or simple designs?

  • Open, minimally furnished spaces or a cozy, more packed ones?

Once you’ve identified some design themes, you can start thinking about blending pieces from each. This is an area where you might want to bring in a designer for a consultation — it’s a low-cost investment that is sure to land you with a gorgeous compromise.

 
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Step 4: How to (Tactfully) Say Bye to Those College Relics

We don’t want feelings to get hurt, but some things are best left in the past — especially if they’re survivors of the good ol’ college days... I’m looking at you, weathered bean bag chair.

Instead of playing tug-o-war with each other’s things, answer (honestly) this list of questions:

  • Does this piece fit in with the styles you’ve discussed and agreed upon?

  • Does it fit in with your desired color palette?

  • Is there a way you can fix it up in a way you’d both like, such as reupholstering or repainting?

  • Does either of you have a very strong objection to the piece? (You probably don’t want things in your home that make you irritated every time they see them!)

  • Is it beyond repair or can someone else enjoy it more than you?

Now that you know which of your possessions will be finding new homes and which will be staying, we can keep on climbing to the next step.

 
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Step 5: Create a Room-by-Room Plan

This is the final step in the planning phase — knowing what you’ll be assembling in your space. It’s very easy to get lost in the decor aisles (or webpages) of your favorite home shop and forget all about the items you actually need.

Make a list of furniture essentials by room. Here’s a basic list to get you started:

  • Furniture (sofas, bookcases, side tables, movable kitchen island, dressers, etc.)

  • Do you need storage space? Which items can fulfill that need?

  • Accessories (pillows, mirrors, coasters, plants, etc.)

  • Lighting (check out this post here!)

Your list will give you a good idea for the budget you’ll need — and will help you decide where you might need to adjust it.

This is also a good time to bring in an interior designer for an e-design consultation. A few quick hours can help you better plan your space and save hundreds of dollars on unnecessary items!

 
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Alright, I’ll leave with those steps for now. It’s a lot of decision-making, but with a strategy, you should be able to make some smart and happy decisions that will continue the marital bliss. ;)

In Part II of this guide, we’ll be talking about the action steps for bringing your space together. See you then!

Warmly,
Tammy