Don’t you hate the times you and your partner seemingly can’t agree on anything? For just a moment, try to step away and remove your own interests from the situation to better understand theirs. When thinking critically about their interests, are they exclusively beneficial to them, or will you reap mutual benefits as well? Even if the first answer in your head is “no,” consider the psychological power of empathy, or placing one’s self in another’s shoes. When you’re ready to live together, disagreements about on furnishing and decor will come up, so it’s important to implement empathy at every opportunity and dig deep for mutual understanding and compromise. Here are a few ways you can do that when moving in together.


When a couple makes the leap to live together, compromise is the ultimate theme. Major advances in sociopolitical norms have extended the types of relationships we see in society on a regular basis; interracial and same-gender relationships are two of the leading progressions that come to mind. Focusing on the interracial side of things (these principles can apply to all relationships), it’s important for couples to exhibit vast consideration regarding the contents and furnishings of their home decor.

For example, one interracial couple that celebrates Christmas may have different expectations of Christmas decor. In many African American homes, it is common to see a “black Jesus,” “black Santa Claus” or “black Mrs. Claus” during the holidays. In contrast, this might be a totally unfamiliar territory in an all-white household during the holidays. Whether the both of you choose all white figures, all black figures, alternating years or an interracial mix that resembles your real-life relationship, the decision should be made by both of you.

As for other situations, make sure you and your partner are both represented throughout the home with respect to your design aesthetic and preferences. If one person loves a farmhouse style, for instance, while the other is into a contemporary design, consider creating a hybrid style that encompasses both principles with respect to the other. If that doesn’t seem feasible, then designate certain rooms for the farmhouse theme and others for the modern theme. You could also split it up by outside versus inside or by the season. Maybe each of you has designated rooms, or both of you mix the culture up in every room, but in any event, make sure you both derive joy in the process. Style may be trivial in the big scheme of things, but the arguments caused by it are not, so once again, exercise that tool of empathy.


Early in the process of furnishing a shared home, it can be easy to get off track with wants versus needs. Start by creating a hierarchy of needs accompanied by a budget you can both follow.

No other item will have a greater effect on both of your daily lives than a bed. This is why discussing mattress options is paramount. Will you both be comfortable? Will you both achieve optimal sleep? Is it a good fit for the size of the bedroom? Fortunately, it’s easy to research mattress types online. If you’re having a hard time narrowing down which mattress type to get, keep in mind that many options have the ability for individual comfort settings, making compromise a little easier. In your case, a trip to some local mattress stores could also bare results. It’s chance to bond over an important life decision. Once again, keep the compromises going!

Another secondary essential would include living room furniture, but in particular, the shared space of the couch. Don’t waste time bickering over which type to buy — hard surface or soft surface, reclining or standard. Many couches of today allow for individual control of your own section (just like some beds). If you can’t afford this luxury, then simply go for the hard couch, and add pillows and pads to adjust to the appropriate needs of the person who needs it soft. Alternatively, buy some sectionals that fit both needs but are a match in color/theme.


Communication, empathy, and open-mindedness will take your relationship a long way. And in the case of picking home essentials as a couple, they are must-haves. Take the time to think critically about your relationship and the decisions that require mutual input. When both of you are being empathetic, you won’t find yourselves in a disconnect.