Q: I'm moving into my boyfriend's house, which is where he once lived with his ex-wife. I love him so much, but I can't stand his furniture or the paint colors the two of them picked out way back when. When would be an appropriate time for me to make some changes?
A: Creating a home together is a major step in any relationship. Even though it's his old house, it's definitely your new place, and it makes sense for you to want to help make it your own. Why not make it a home you both will love?
Use this opportunity to build your new space together. Resist the urge to surprise him. Also, be thinking of how serious your relationship is. The longer you've been together, and the more dedicated you both are to each other, the better the chance he's going to agree to some updates.
Do you already know how he feels about the house? If not, talk before getting anything going. Is he into DIY projects? Would he enjoy shopping for a new cuddle-worthy sofa that's more comfortable and better looking?
Perhaps you can start the conversation by asking about the stories behind his furniture to gauge his interest. He may be ready to purge a little, or a lot, especially if the furniture is worn out or reminds him of less positive times. But it's very likely he'll want to keep a few pieces, just the same as you probably have your own favorites you want to add to the house.
Keep your eyes out for something special on an outing together in your own city or on a trip. Maybe it's an art piece, a vintage sign, small table, accessory, or other treasure, like a stone or found object you both like. Then pull from the object inspiration for colors and a theme. Wood tones, shapes, and even textures are all aspects of style you can build from this one treasure.
Let me know how it goes, and have fun with this.
Jennifer Adams is a designer, author, and TV personality.