Congratulations on your new place! Whether you're moving in to a new place with a friend, family member or partner, it's an exciting time. My sister and I moved in together for a year after I graduated from college, and it was different living with her again so many years after our childhood. In that one year, we grew so much individually and together, and we developed a deep bond and much better communication skills from it!
Communication is going to be your top priority during the move-in process. If you both had your own place before moving in together, you probably have a hodgepodge of living room furniture and decor that you're trying to figure out how to sort through. Here is your guide to setting up a living room that you both feel comfortable in. This is your shared space, so you will want to be intentional about putting a little bit of each of you in it.
Measure how much space you have.
It will be super helpful to know the measurements of the walls and floor before you begin. If there is only one wall with a cable outlet, keep in mind that you'll have to put your TV on that side unless you hire someone to put another one in. Speaking of outlets, count how many there and take note of where they are positioned so you know your potential for lamps, speakers, or phone chargers. You can always get power strips, but you'll need a way to hide them. Once you know how much will fit, you can start to go through your stuff.
Take inventory of what you have.
Make a list of everything the two of you have by category. Make columns for sitting (couches, ottomans, chairs, etc.), tables, lighting (table lamps, floor lamps and string lights all included), floor decor (large potted plants, rugs, large pieces of art, telescopes, globes, etc.), wall decor, and decor that sits on something (mantel pieces, serving trays, candles, smaller pieces of art, coffee table books, etc.).
Tip: Don't include items in your list that you would rather put in your bedroom or that you don't feel are worth keeping. This is a new space, so it's OK to get some new things if you're tired of that old loveseat you've been hanging onto for so long. Just write down the things you absolutely want to have in your new home.
Go through your list and find the biggest common denominator with all of your stuff. Maybe the color gray pops up a lot or you both like collecting unique pieces from different countries. If there is no natural connection between anything, talk about if there's something you could buy to piece some things together. Maybe you get a rug that ties in all of the colors you have or some pillows that makes your couch coordinate better with their chairs.
If that doesn't work, and you just have completely polar opposite styles, talk through how you feel about each other's styles and if one of you would be OK with the other's. If you don't mind their color scheme, and you actually think their seating is more comfortable than yours anyway, problem solved! You can put the stuff of yours that doesn't match in storage if you don't want to part ways with it.
Tip: If one of you is OK with changing your furniture to match the other's, you can always repaint furniture! It could be a fun bonding activity for you to do together.
Pick out some new decorations together.
Whether the things you choose to place in your living room are a mixture of both of yours or you decided to lean more heavily toward one person's stuff, you can still make sure everyone feels represented by picking out some things together. Browse through some of your favorite sites online and send each other links of things you find. Once you narrow down what you want to add to your space, order it all and enjoy the anticipation of new packages arriving!
Make memories and display them.
One of my favorite decorations I had in my living room with my sister was a framed picture we took at a rooftop yoga event. It's just a selfie of our faces, but I put it in a cute frame that matched the rest of our decor, and made our living room feel even more united to have the two of us in the same picture.
If you don't have any pictures together that you want to display, take some new ones! Or if you both enjoy painting or DIY crafts, maybe make something that you can have in your living room as a memory of the time you spent being creative together.