I wish someone had told me is a series of posts that feed into our inquisitive nature at CN&CO. Each week we hear from someone in our network about something interesting or surprising that has recently happened or occurred to them – or lessons they learnt. These blogs are a way to pay it forward and form part of CN&CO’s belief that the world can be a better place – and we all have a responsibility to make it so. This week’s post is by Keshia Wylie (found of The Homing Pigeon) who shares her tips about moving in with a partner.

Moving in with a significant other, a roommate or any other situation you may find yourself in, can be a really exciting experience. The dream of coming home to a space you love, cooking with a glass of wine in hand, while playing some Ed Sheeran music in the background is the fantasy right? 

You can’t stop thinking about how you will relax on your dream sofa after work and flick through all the movies on Netflix (and occasionally find one before you fall asleep! Does this happen to other people?)

Ah, yes, this is often the pipe dream, but when reality hits, you find there may be all sorts of misalignments between you and those you live with like 

  • One person earning more than the other, so budget becomes an issue
  • Style clashes are a real thing! One person likes bohemian frills while you may like contemporary modern

How on earth will you ever get this new place that was meant to be a haven to start resembling a home, and not a battleground between cohabiters?

I recently moved in with my boyfriend, and I have lived with other people in my student years. As a student, we had no money to afford two minute noodles, let alone the luxuries of choosing our ultimate décor. Now I can talk from experience from with moving in with my partner. We have money to decorate but don’t want to go overboard while haemorrhaging money.

Luckily, we were on the same page regarding many things. He is Italian, so style comes naturally to him. The fact that I am an interior designer made the process easier to.

There were some little speed bumps which we managed to navigate that I believe are worth sharing. These will hopefully assist others who are considering or taking on this exciting adventure:


I come from a rather conservative family, where my dad fixes his own shoes with cable ties and glue on the principle that it is wasting money to buy new ones if the old ones still have legs in the them (excuse the pun). 

In many ways, this process of thinking has rubbed off on me, where as my boyfriend prefers new and quality items. Here are some ways on how we managed our different ways of purchasing items that were very helpful;

  1.  Make a list of the essentials you will need in the house. Items such as couches, utensils, bed, linen, appliances. The next step is that each of you go through the list and make a note of the items you may have had from previous living arrangements. My boyfriend had heaps of kitchen stuff we could use, whilst I was given a dishwasher and washing machine from my parents. Then discuss it with your partner, and see whether you would like to bring them to the new house
  2. Next, decide on a budget that each of you can afford. One person may be earning more than the other, or one person has more expensive taste than the other. Remember, no one is right or wrong (unless you are acting like Scrooge McDuck or going completely OTT – then maybe reassess)
  3. From the list of your essential items, each of you put in the amount you are REALISTICALLY prepared to contribute towards each item on the list. When you put the list together, add the two amounts together and you can see what you can afford on the various essentials in the house
  4. Remember, this isn’t 100% foolproof as furniture may be more expensive than both of your budgeted amounts, or you forgot to budget for other items. But decorate your home slowly, room by room and don’t go into unnecessary debt just to get the furniture you think is fashionable
  5. Interior designers, such as The Homing Pigeon, can assist in designing your dream home, according to your allocated budget, and will assist in avoiding costly mistakes. We have had customers order couches that can’t even fit through the door, let alone their room. Or the plasma unit doesn’t match the rest of the room. All these mistakes are avoided when you use a professional designer. We know where to get items that are great value for money and can work to get your dream home ready within your budget. Designers can act as the mediators between partners to avoid any arguments. You can bounce your idea off the professional, and everyone can be happy.

Clash of the Style

So you know exactly what style you like. But your partner has the quirky taste and wants to include the old school posters on the wall, with the neon lights reminiscent of a bachelor pad with major hints of a downtown alley pub…

I was very lucky, my boyfriend has great style, and when in doubt, we would run our options passed his Nonna (“granny” in South African lingo), and she would help. She has impeccable taste so we knew we couldn’t go wrong with her input.

If you don’t want to ask for a third party’s advice, Pinterest is a great avenue. I would suggest creating a board per room that you want to tackle.

Make each other joint collaborators on the board and spend a few hours adding pins of the rooms and setting you LOVE.

If you have items you don’t really like, and your partner sees it, then they will get mixed messages on your style and you will land up with a room you aren’t obsessed with. Rather have less pins, but quality ones that are true reflections of your style.

You may even land up having your partner like your style better once they see your pins and you’re ever so sophisticated choice in pins and start letting you make the final decisions. If this is not the case, then you need to choose elements of each other’s style that you both like. Choose one person’s style to be about 70-80% of the base of the design and then find elements you like for the other 20-30% from the other person’s style.

The Homing Pigeon can assist with all of this. We have an online interior design quiz that you and your partner can do which analyses your style and assists with understanding both your design styles. We then assist with putting the design together, considering both elements of each person’s style. We always hit the nail on the head, with a well-balanced design of both persons style, and everyone is happy.

Contact us if you need some design advice  or need to understand your personal design style. We take away all the stress and add all the fun to creating your dream space.