Living & Designing a Space Together

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Josh and I have lived together for over a year now, and I've received so many questions from my readers about how we make it work and how we designed our space together. Living with a man is no easy task, but I really lucked out with Josh -- he's so easy to live with. I have a few tips and tricks I've picked up in the past year+ that should help you build a place to live with your friends or significant others. 1. Define your style. I'm lucky that Josh is really tidy and has a similar style to mine, so we did this pretty easily and didn't disagree on much. We both like modern, clean pieces and similar colors, so we picked a few (white, navy, brown, grey) to go off of. Find a few colors that work for both of you and go off of that. This is also a time to define the stores you want to start looking at, so that you're narrowing your search to just a few key places that have a style similar to yours. Ours were CB2, West Elm and Room & Board.

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2. Give options. I owned our design project, mainly because I'm more interested in design than Josh is and I proactively seek new designs and stores. My most successful tactic when designing was to give Josh two or three options that I liked, and let him pick from there. This way, you already like all three pieces, and you're incorporating his feedback as well. Many people (looking at you, boys) can get really overwhelmed if you just drop them into the middle of a Crate & Barrel and ask what they like, so by keeping things curated, you'll have a better chance of getting your man to give the green light.

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3. Find a balance. I'm not an overly girly girl, and Josh isn't an overly masculine man (thank god he has great style!), so we actually met in the middle about most things in our apartment. I never wanted anything pink, and he never rolled his eyes (at least in front of my face) about design decisions. We agreed on white walls, a navy couch, wooden accessories and orange as a pop color, and most things in our apartment match both of our styles perfectly.

There were a few things, however, that we had to compromise on. For example, I had a few pieces like a peonies print, a Chanel No. 5 drawing and my collection of Vogue's that I didn't want to let go. Josh found a few baseball prints and a whiskey drawing that he really loved. Mixing both of these in one space is easy, as long as you're going tit for tat (i.e. we each got to pick three that we loved) and are incorporating them in a way that makes sense with your overall design and style.

Then, I've built up a few rules over time in terms of living together and making sure we don't fight about who's making dinner that night:

1. Don't sweat the small stuff. Most of the things that couples fight about at home, I've found, are useless fights about nothing. If you ever find yourself having this little quibbles about nothing, give it a rest and take some time in different parts of your place, or get out and go do something fun together. Just be cautious and don't let these arguments get out of hand, because you'll feel dumb waking up after a fight about nothing.

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2. Don't assume you have to be together 24/7. For the first few months of Josh and I living together, I think we both assumed we had to eat the same thing for dinner, at the same time, and had to spend all night together. I love Josh, and he's probably the only person I could spend that much time with, but sometimes I want to come home from work, drink a glass of wine in bed, and work on my blog or watch Scream Queens (best show ever, BTW). Have a conversation early on about how this type of behavior isn't rude or worth a fight, it's just crucial to keep you both sane.

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3. Try to do something once a week that's different. To keep things fun and interesting, plan a date night (that doesn't include takeout and your couch) and do something fun together. Josh and I will have a date night at the Kabuki and see a new movie or go to a new restaurant we've been wanting to try. Even something as simple as getting out of the apartment, getting dressed up and going to get a cocktail can make a world of difference and prevent things from getting too safe.

Emily Piskulick