By: Faisal Al Gain
Country Marketing Manager at IKEA Saudi Arabia
After experiencing the joys of a wedding made in heaven, many newlyweds slowly discover the angst and anxieties associated with living on earth – especially when it comes to setting up a house. Rest assured you are not alone in wondering just how to navigate these first steps into domestic life. It may sound difficult and even quite daunting at times, but with careful planning, there can be much delight in the process.
Here is a primer on how to tackle things together as a newlywed couple, and make a lovely new home.
Just like it takes two to tango, it will take shared time, space and choices to set up a home that truly belongs to both of you.
If you look upon various tasks – the selection of samples, making mood boards, shopping – as private little adventures that no one else in the world is privy to (except you and your new spouse), you will find yourselves way ahead of the game. If one or both of you are very busy, divide the tasks based on location, duration and convenience.
There may be some elements of compromise, especially when one of you dislikes what the other likes most. But love conquers everything, especially new love, and taking turns at sharing and sacrificing can be a great learning experience.
The quickest and easiest way to decide what your home should look like is to study several pictures of homes you like. Clip pictures from décor magazines and pin or bookmark appealing styles online, and make a dossier of all that appeals to you. Take a tip from hundreds of young brides who begin collecting back issues of IKEA catalogues months before the wedding, and then aim to recreate rooms in the choices they prefer.
When you sit together to compare all your favourite pictures, you will notice what is common in terms of colour, style, light, period and pattern. These should serve as your basic cues.
Of course the two of you will have differing opinions, and it is natural and normal to argue over a few things. Finding out your spouse’s secret likes and dislikes can be enlightening, but finding common ground can be fun as well. Keep a sense of humour and make it go a long way.
Do the count
There is a very high possibility that your first home will not be your last, and this fact must form the foundation of your shopping.
Solid foundation pieces are designed to last you through decades, while a particular piece of bargain furniture may only serve its purpose for mere months. Know the financial and environmental difference between what will look great in a larger home, and what you are likely to be saddled with. Realise that you will not need to live with every small decision you make now, for the rest of your lives.
After you unwrap your wedding gifts, and after the two of you are hosted in family homes, you may easily come to the conclusion that there is no need to buy everything new. Stick with this decision.
Besides the useful gifts and generous offers from family members, there are many ‘pre-loved’ bargains to be had online, at auctions and second-hand depositories, or from people who are selling the contents of their home. If you cannot afford to spend on everything at once, buy some key essentials, and then top it up with older stuff that is either borrowed or found as bargains.
When you decide what pieces you really need to purchase, take stock of what you already have, or have received. You may be able to repurpose some pieces, or simply decide that there are several things you no longer need.
There is no joy like turning the key in the lock at the end of a long, hot day, and walking in to a warm and welcoming space inside. To feel like you are truly home when you walk in through the door, you need to own your space.
Make room for a variety of personal touches that represent both of you as a couple – pictures that showcase your recent wedding, a souvenir from your honeymoon, decor that instantly cheers, mementoes that evoke places, a comfortable chair or a set of quirky cushions. You will find that all these little things put together make a big difference: the combination of experiences and memories can bring great amounts of comfort and familiarity into your home, even if it is brand new.
Just in case you didn’t know, the IKEA website has lots of practical advice on décor, space-saving, gardening, recycling, and other aspects of homemaking that can inspire the two of you, to tackle things together.
Do not forget to have fun. Making a house into a home and getting it perfectly right may take longer than you expect, but this is an opportunity to get to really know each other better. It also makes a great addition to all your memories as newlyweds. Smile and laugh through it.