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Moving in with your significant other is a big step in a relationship, so congratulations! Living with your loved one is such a rewarding experience, especially when made with a plan and input from both partners. From decorating your home the way you’ve always imagined to the not-so-glamorous responsibility of divvying up chores, there are several ways to make the transition to sharing a home as smooth as possible. Watch the video below to see what three real-life couples had to say about successful cohabitation, then read on for advice on how to set up your move for long-term success.

See What these Real-Life Couples Had to Say

Move In For the Right Reasons

Ensure that you’re moving in with your partner for the right reasons. This shouldn’t be because your lease is up, or because homeownership is too expensive for you to afford on your own. While those reasons may be the catalyst for the decision, but have an open and honest discussion about what makes sense for your relationship. Some couples move in together quickly while others need more time; whatever your journey is, ensure that cohabitation is the best next step in your relationship and that you’re not rushing each other for financial or practical reasons.

Decide on a Financial Strategy

All couples are different, and the degree to which you combine or keep your finances separate will be based on your comfort level. It is important to acknowledge, however, that shared household expenses will be difficult to keep completely separate. Larger expenses like your mortgage and property taxes are easy to divide, but household items — from big-ticket purchases like furniture to everyday necessities like laundry detergent — can be harder to keep separate. The best course of action is to find a plan that you both agree with, whether that means a joint bank account for household expenses, or a spreadsheet to keep track of everything you owe.

Compromise on Style Choices

You may be one of those rare (and lucky!) couples that share a similar decor style, but for the vast majority of couples, moving in together means learning how to strike a balance between your individual tastes. This doesn’t mean neutralizing your home, but rather ensuring that both personalities are represented in the decor. Whether you’re shopping for all new furniture or bringing old pieces from past homes, ensure that you’re aware of the pieces that are meaningful and important to your partner, and be equally as transparent about pieces you don’t feel you can work with. “I owned a place before we bought this one together, and I knew it was very bachelor pad,” says Jeff. “When I moved in with Sam, I had no problem deferring to her and letting her put her touch on our home. She’s been great at incorporating pieces of my personality into our space.”

Starting a Pinterest board or searching through home decor blogs and pictures can help you see the similarities in your style, and get ideas for how your designs will look when paired with Quay House’s tasteful finishes.

Find a Way to Divvy Up Chores

When it comes to household chores, don’t assume that they’ll get done without communicating about it first. It’s perfectly okay for one partner to do all the cooking or cleaning if that’s what the prefer, as long as the overall burden is shared by both parties. The early riser may be the one to make coffee or take the dog out, while the person who gets home first may be the one largely in charge of dinner. Problems arise when one person feels a larger burden is being put on them and they are not getting the support they need and may not feel comfortable addressing the matter. Dividing responsibilities, opening up communication lines, having clear expectations and sharing the burden means both parties will have more free time to enjoy. “I try to take care of all the chores that Emma doesn’t like doing, like taking out the garbage,” says Mark. “I hate laundry, and Emma doesn’t mind doing it, so we break it down that way.”

Plan Purposeful Together Time

When you live separately, time spent together always seems special because seeing each other isn’t a given — make a conscious effort not to lose that when you move in together. Despite seeing each other every day, most of your unplanned face time will usually be when you’re winding down from your day, meaning your attention will be divided. Keep the magic of date night strong by planning special outings around town, relaxing outdoors together or whatever you prefer — just be sure that your attention is completely focused on enjoying each other’s company.

Give Each Other Space and Alone Time

The flip side of planning purposeful time together is to also give each other space and alone time. Your relationship is a huge part of both your lives, but it won’t be your lives. It’s best to acknowledge and speak openly about this prior to moving in together, so that neither party feels any guilt about wanting quality time alone or with friends. Carving time out in your schedule to be alone can be purposeful, too — whether it allows for reading that hot new bestseller, browsing online or catching up on emails.

If you and your partner are looking for the perfect condo to call home, explore the 1, 2 and 3 bedroom units available at Empire Quay House from the high $500’s.

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