Moving in with a significant other is a great opportunity to take your relationship to the next level. However, it comes with its challenges, and one area that often causes tension among couples is home decor. The good news is that even if you have extremely different tastes, working together on your home’s interior design can result in a more interesting and appealing home, save you money, and strengthen your relationship in the process. If you and your partner are taking the step of moving in together, here are five budget-friendly tips to keep in mind when decorating.

Meet in the Middle

Many couples start their decorating process with the philosophy that they’ll just combine each other’s styles and items; that way, everyone’s happy and you have a cool, eclectic style, right? However, this can lead to a home interior that lacks cohesiveness. Instead of combining everything you have, explore different ideas and try to find a middle ground with your tastes. Then you can establish a new “together” style to base your design around, and you’ll know which items to keep, which ones to sell, and what you need to buy. Having direction will keep you from wasting time and money on projects.

Choose a Color Palette

One of the simplest and least expensive home improvement projects is painting. You want to choose a color scheme before you begin — either for a room or the whole home, depending on how much you’re decorating at one time. For instance, are you thinking of painting a loud and vibrant red-gold scheme in the game room or perhaps a calming blue-green in the living room? Having a color palette to work from helps your interior look good even if you have several different styles present. No matter what kind of theme you choose for your space, it’s important not to rely too much on a single color. Many professional designers, for example, suggest balancing the palette by painting each area 60 percent with the dominant color, 30 percent with the secondary, and 10 percent with the accent.

Discuss the Most Important Aspects

Compromising is a big part of decorating a home with your significant other, but you also need to be honest about aspects of the home that are essential to you. For instance, do you envision having friends and family over to watch sporting events or hosting movie nights? An entertainment center in the living room may be worth investing in. Does your partner like to wind down with a book at the end of the day? Maybe converting a space into a reading nook is necessary. You can often find online deals to help you create wonderful spaces.

Incorporate Masculine and Feminine

A balance of masculine and feminine aspects in your decor can make for the most appealing home. For instance, leather furniture that has a feminine shape is a great balance. Also, adding textiles with rich fabrics to the mix (e.g., blankets, throw pillows, area rugs) can bring a touch of femininity to a set of straight-line furniture. Retailers such as TJ Maxx, JoAnn, and Target are great places to get textiles on a budget.

Have Fun with It

Last but not least: don’t forget to have fun! Celebrate the fact that you’re moving in together, and enjoy the process of decorating. And remember that you can always change something down the road if you decide that you don’t like it.

Decorating your new home as a couple can be — and should be — a great experience. Explore different styles and find common ground to create your own style. Choose a color scheme before you start painting, and talk about the most important parts of the home for each of you. Create a good mix of masculine and feminine throughout the design, and have fun in the process. Following these tips can help you save money and create a cozy home together!

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