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Cohabiting: Interior Design Tips for New Couples Moving in Together

Moving in with your partner is a major step towards building your life together. Living with the person you love is certainly rewarding, but you need to be ready to adjust to your partner’s habits and preferences. You’re likely to come across some of the first challenges when furnishing and decorating your new home. Aside from making certain compromises, you should aim for a design that will incorporate both of your personal styles and try to maximise the functionality of your home.

Introduce plenty of storage units 

Whether you and your partner are moving into a completely new home or one of your current apartments, you’ll still have significantly more items. This means that you’ll need to introduce more storage compartments, too. Aside from allowing you to keep everything in its own place and minimise the mess in your home, storage units will provide both of you with enough space for your personal belongings.
When adding more storage units to your home, make sure to pick functional solutions that will help you make the most of your space. Floating shelves and other wall-mounted compartments can be added to almost any wall, helping you free some of your floor space. Finally, if you decide to buy some new shelves, bookcases, closets or some other storage units, make sure to pick a style that will fit into your overall home design and create a cohesive look.

Pick a colour scheme that you’ll love 

Even the most like-minded couples can have completely different tastes. It’s important that you find a middle ground and pick a design that you’ll both love. And choosing a colour scheme for your new home is a great place to start. To avoid disagreements, you can choose one neutral colour for the backdrop and one or two hues for visual interest. This way, you’ll be able to introduce shades that you both like and create a cohesive, stylish look. You should make sure that your accent colours are complementary and harmonious when used together. Using these hues throughout your home will help you establish a colour theme and create a balanced atmosphere.

Choose blinds instead of curtains 

You and your partner should aim at creating a functional environment in your new home. A simple way to achieve this is to pick low-maintenance elements such as window blinds. Blinds will provide you with greater light control and more privacy, enabling you to adjust the general home atmosphere. Furthermore, window blinds are easier to maintain than curtains because you can just wipe them with a cloth instead of washing them. What’s more, blinds are quite a popular form of window treatments in Australia. In fact, chic and practical venetian blinds in Melbourne come in different styles, colours and materials, so Aussie couples can easily find a design that fits into their home décor. Therefore, you and your partner should definitely consider getting this practical and trendy solution for your new home.

Keep your space clutter-free 

This part can be a bit tricky, but decluttering and organising your home is essential when you move in with your partner. Both of you will have plenty of clothes and personal items that can easily clutter up your space and make it seem small and overwhelming. So, instead of postponing this dreary task, you should get rid of the items that you don’t want and need in your new home. However, be understanding towards your partner if they want to keep an item or two due to sentimental reasons. However, neither of you should keep a pile of things that you never use. Afterwards, try to maintain a clutter-free environment for a chic and comfy atmosphere.

Mix and match your furniture 

Both of you will have your own furniture that you’ll want to bring into your new home. Mixing and matching different pieces can actually help you create an enchanting, eclectic look that will include your favourite items. However, when combining your furniture pieces, make sure to pick those that have certain features in common, such as a colour, finish, texture or style. This will help you introduce a sense of balance and harmony while still creating visual interest.

Although you and your partner will have to make certain compromises when decorating your new home, remember that you’ll finally be able to be by each other’s side.   

5 Challenges of Intercultural Marriage

Even though we live in a world which sends robots to Mars, sometimes technological advancement is all there is from humankind. While we aim for the stars to give us a better future, we forget that there are still certain issues that should be addressed here on Earth. Intercultural marriage is one of the numerous things we should discuss and resolve, as a testament to positive human evolution for our posterity.

Marriage is a challenge. It requires work and compromise between partners, no matter how much they love each other. However, marriage also requires strength to overcome the stressors surrounding the relationship. And that is what challenges of intercultural marriage mean for the partners – endurance of bigotry, racism, class differences and all the things that come out of petty minds.

In a way, these couples have to work on their marriage at the same time they’re working on showing the world that love is the most valuable feeling in the world. Unfortunately, sometimes that is simply not enough and these couples face a lifelong battle with issues that don’t belong in the civilized, modern society that wants to spread across the universe.

  1. Interracial marriages

Racism is, sadly, still a serious issue that exists in even the most modern countries in the world like the USA. Judging people by their skin color shouldn’t be discussed any more at all since it shouldn’t exist in the first place. But we all know that the world is more complicated and challenging than that.

But people are not judged for their interracial marriages only by strangers. The worst impact on their relationship is made by their peers, family, and friends. This is something that has been present in society for centuries, and will undoubtedly be here in the future.

Thus, the pressure on the interracial marriage is like carrying a heavy load which just got heavier because someone set on it instead of helping you carry it. Racism won’t go away if we turn our heads the other way, but only if we join the ranks of brave men and women who fight it all their lives. This is a complex problem that needs to be addressed from all the social, political and cultural points in order to eradicate it.

  1. Class differences and challenges

You’ve probably read Jane Austen or at least seen some of the movie adaptations to know how class difference works. Even The Great Gatsby deals with this issue from a different, but equally important point of view. Marriage between rich and poor has so much scrutiny surrounding it that Pandora had a pretty big box where all those evils came from.

Sometimes, the couple or one of the partners, usually the less economically situated one, are forced to sign a prenuptial agreement. This can be the initiator of marital problems and even cause the cancelation of marriage altogether. Here lie many challenges and prejudice that a couple must face in order to have a healthy marriage and keep the family safe.

Popular culture often depicts these relationships either as cautionary tales or true love stories. In reality, the matter is not so easy to fight off and the reputation follows some couples throughout their marriage. This issue is, thus, resolved, with firm attitude rather than constant justifying oneself to everyone, and as an underlying stressor, it’s an ever-present challenge for the couple.

  1. Educational backgrounds and careers

Love is blind, they say, but for how long? This is a fitting question that perfectly fits the challenges of a marriage between two people with different educational backgrounds. Some even didn’t see this as a challenge until women were given the same opportunity at education as men.

Just remember Mad Men TV show for the easiest reference and women there being perfect housewives, while men did all the important work. Nowadays, the society may have allowed women to have the education they rightfully deserve, but not that Mad Men ideal of perfect marriage is hard to destroy. But the things swing the other way as well, so this educational gap is not only the gender issue anymore.

The lack of communication in marriage and understanding from a partner are often the causes of discord. While some tend to put in the effort to understand each other completely, others forget about it and it turns into an issue fast. However, the true way of dealing with this is for partners to include one another in each other’s lives, and not feed the monster.

  1. Overcoming legal issues

The main legal issue when it comes to intercultural marriage is visa and citizenship for one of the partners. Every country has its own set of laws and regulations governing this field and some are really complex to handle by yourself, like the UK’s or Australia’s. Therefore, hiring immigration solicitors is necessary to complete the paperwork and avoid serious repercussions such as deportation.

Of course, every couple entering into an intercultural marriage is aware of this issue when one is not the citizen of the other’s country. If prepared for this bureaucratic entanglement in time, couples won’t even feel this period in their lives. Otherwise, the problems arising from untimely tackling of this issue can lead to serious legal consequences and divorce.

  1. Statistics show a high divorce rate

Couples today face the fact that the divorce rate is high. In a way, if a marriage doesn’t work than it’s right to get the divorce. However, doing your best to overcome the problems should be the first course of action and not calling it quits. Intercultural marriages have a high divorce rate and that is why they need more work and attention.

Different religious backgrounds can be overcome with one partner accepting the religion of the other. Certain customs can undergo small changes to fit both partners, while different cultural backgrounds carry diverse behaviors and perspectives. So, while high divorce rate of these marriages may speak against them, couples shouldn’t focus on that but on methods to overcome these problems and love each other.

In the end

Every relationship is a challenge and needs work to succeed. Intercultural marriage is a perfect example of what a relationship between two people needs to endure and how much we have to further evolve to be worthy of the stars.

Tips for Couples When Moving into a New Apartment

Moving into a new living space is always an exhausting process. There are so many things to keep in mind and so much physical work, it’s easy to become stressed out. Luckily, moving does become a bit easier when you’re not doing it alone, but even then, there’s still quite a lot of work to do. So, if you and your significant other are moving into your new nest, here are a couple of things that should help you keep everything under control.

Give yourself time

If both you and your partner are employed, if you have children, or if you simply lead a busy lifestyle, give yourself time. It’s very hard to move in a day, especially when there are other things you need to think about. Plus, there’s always that issue of possibly forgetting things and having to go back for them, which is why it might be best to move things gradually. Of course, this might not be possible if you’re moving far away. However, if your new home is still within the same country, designate a couple of moving dates, decide which things you’ll move on which date, and inform the proper parties (your boss, children’s school, doctors, etc.).

Start saving on time

Moving costs not just time but money as well. You might need to rent a temporary storage unit, hire a moving company, or pay for extra gas if you decide to move on your own. Moreover, you should also have a bit extra money in case of any financial surprises. This is why you should start saving up at least a few months before the move so you don’t have to think about it later.

Get some help

As mentioned, if you or your partner own a car and have the extra time, you can do the move yourself. However, hiring professional help might be best simply because it would be faster and more efficient. After all, professionals know how to handle everything from fragile kitchenware to sturdier furniture items. For example, there are also companies that can help you with moving house utilities such as MyConnect. So, do your research, look at reviews, ask around for references, and there shouldn’t be any problems.

Take care of the essentials

The first thing you should do as soon as you get your keys is – get new ones. More precisely, you should change the locks. Of course, this depends on whether you’re the owner of the apartment or the renter (some landlords still allow their renters to change the locks). Next, you should take care of the details – set up the internet, change your address at the post office, and change your mail address if you’ve subscribed to any delivery services. This would ensure that your stuff is safe during the moving process Moreover, if you or your partner work from home, your online work wouldn’t suffer during the transition.

Prepare your new home

While your home is still empty, take the opportunity to decorate it. Paint the walls, install new cabinets and shelves, polish the doors and closets, refinish the floors, etc. In short, if there is anything that needs to be repainted, sprayed, waxed, or in any other way restored, it should be done while there aren’t any physical obstacles.

Figure out the layout

One of the more fun parts of moving is figuring out the new layouts. Before you start bringing in the items, measure each room, and decide on the purpose. A good idea would be to draw the rooms on paper, so you can visualize them more easily. If you’ve done an inventory of your possessions, this would also help you decide where you want to place your furniture. Once you put everything on paper, you will have one less thing to worry about when your items arrive.

Get moving boxes

Big empty boxes are an inevitable part of moving, but most people don’t think about them until they start needing them. Luckily, they are fairly easy to find if you know where to look. Most grocery stores, clothing stores, and supermarkets have a lot of empty boxes that they don’t need. They can sell you the boxes for a low price, but if you ask politely, you might even get them for free.

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Use hangers for clothes

If you and your partner have a lot of clothes, and you probably do, plastic wrap might become your best friend. Instead of wasting time on removing the clothes from the hangers and folding them, wrap them together with the hangers and pack them like that. It would take up much less space, and it would be easier to “unpack” later.

Mark boxes with colors

Organization is extremely important when moving, but staying organized can sometimes be hard when there are so many different boxes and things to pack in them. Not to mention the chaos of trying to find what you need after you arrive at the new apartment. Therefore, consider labeling different boxes by using different colors. Come up with a color-coding system, and use markers, post-it notes, colored tapes, or any other colored means of marking your boxes.

Make use of linens

Towels, pillows, throws, and other linens usually take up a significant amount of space, which is why you should use that space wisely. So, wrap the more fragile objects into your sheets, towels, and other soft fabrics. This way, you’d keep your fragile items safe, and you’d save some money on bubble wrap.

Declutter

Assuming that you won’t be moving again any time soon, you should use this chance to declutter. While packing, go through your things, and put aside everything you don’t need. You can sell or donate those things, and you’d save yourself some packing room. Think about what you want your new home to look like, and get rid of everything that doesn’t fit into that image. It’s a unique opportunity to restart your living space, so don’t waste it.

woman carryng the box

Moving into a new apartment can be a drag, even when you’re not doing it alone. So, give yourself enough time, plan things ahead, use the opportunity to prepare your new place and do some decluttering, and your new home will be ready for your fresh start.

A Guide to Planning a Backyard Wedding at Home

A Guide to Planning a Backyard Wedding at Home

“A copy is worse than nothing,” Frank Herbert wrote, and his words have never rung more true. Today, being original has become the ultimate challenge. While it’s definitely easier to go with, than against the stream, there is also the fact that we are immersed in trends to the point of sensory overload.

It is no wonder then that most couples decide to go for the obvious – a generic wedding: renting a venue, deciding on a menu and sending invitations sounds like a no-brainer. But if you’re one of those lucky people with a nice garden or a backyard and would prefer your wedding to have a more intimate, more romantic feel, organising a backyard wedding might be a great idea.

Think of the possibilities

Having a wedding at home has many advantages, but most importantly, it will give you the freedom of being in control of every single detail, from picking the date and creating a fully customised menu to decorating and using the space to its full potential.

Since it offers a lot of convenience and flexibility, this could be a perfect solution for couples on a budget who are feeling creative and like to be in control of things.

Plan well beforehand

You will need to start planning at least six months in advance, the most obvious reason being thorough preparation of your backyard. If your backyard is already in great shape, all the better, but if not, you will want to consider preparing the lawn: sowing grass and planting takes time. Flooring one part of your backyard might also be a good idea – it will even the terrain and prevent sticky situations in case of rain.

Also, you will need to check your insurance coverage, obtain a party permit if necessary, consider parking capacities for your guests, and, of course, check with the neighbours to see if they’d object to the noise.

Be prepared for anything

Once you’ve made sure your backyard will be able to accommodate your guests, carefully consider the furniture and the amenities that you plan to use and make an outline of where to place them. You will have to provide an adequate number of tables, chairs, benches, lounges and other seating to make everyone comfortable.

Portable bathrooms or toilets and washing stations are a must. Since at least one toilet for every thirty or so guests will be necessary, you might want to check the plumbing beforehand so as to avoid unpleasant accidents. Provide generators for powering the lights, the music, outdoor refrigerators, and other electricity-dependant equipment.

The weather is also an important factor in planning, as no matter the forecast, surprises are always possible. To protect your guests from both the sun and the rain, think about renting a quick-assembly tent or canopies, umbrellas, and parasols. Depending on the time of the year, try and include fans or outdoor heaters and blankets, especially if you’re planning to party far into the night.

Get personal

Probably one of the biggest advantages of having a wedding at home is the ability to decide on the decorations in detail. Once you’ve picked a theme, you can start your search for decorations and other objects to give a personal touch to the setting.

For example, trees can be used to hang banners, string lights, lanterns or glass jars with candles. Walls can be painted or, even better, covered with amazing outdoor wall art which is more durable, more weather-resistant, and easier to apply. The best thing is, it can grace your walls for many years to come.

Rustic-style wooden tables are a great choice if you don’t want to worry about dirtying the linens. Use tree stumps to place all the extra lightning, food or tableware that otherwise wouldn’t fit on the tables. And, to make it easier for your guests, you can put up signposts to point them in the direction of the amenities.

Reconsider your options

Making full use of the setting will require some well-thought-out planning. On one hand, you will want to include all that is necessary to accommodate your guests, store the food and drinks and provide maximum comfort. On the other hand, you will also want to avoid the space getting overcrowded and people being unable to move freely.

If your space allows it, having a bar would be a great idea, and if you’re keen on preparing the food by yourself, you can also include grills and roasters, or even a small outdoor kitchen. Otherwise, you will have to rely on caterers, in which case you’ll need to carefully plan the timing – you don’t want your wedding cake and other desserts to melt into a puddle of goo in the heat.

Enjoy the benefits

Organising a backyard wedding can be demanding, but it’s also very rewarding. In addition to the intimate, relaxed feel, it will also give you the opportunity to get exactly what you want at a relatively small expense. From chairs and tables to grills, tableware and decorations, you can use what you have, and what you don’t, you can always borrow or rent. Food can be prepared at home or catered, and if you don’t want to hire staff, you can ask your family and friends for help.

Finally, and I’m sure you’ll agree, there’s no better way to start a life together than bonding over organising your own wedding with a joint effort.