By Mae Lorraine Rafols Lorenzo
One of the first decisions to be made by new couples starting a life together is figuring out how their first home would turn out. More than just putting a roof above their heads, investing in a new house, apartment, or condo signifies their commitment that they are both in it for the long run—or forever!
After going through the technical details and financial aspect of actually buying a home, the next major decision would be the furnishing and design of a couple’s new place.
Getting to design your house is a personal and fulfilling experience because it symbolizes independence and represents the personality of you and your partner. One wrong move, however, can spell disaster and unneccesary expenses.
So once you get the initial empty shell of a new home, where do you actually start?
Home stylist Julienne Cruz answers some questions to clarify which elements to prioritize in designing
your new home.
What are the first elements that a new couple should consider when designing their new home?
First, both of you should agree on a budget. Planning for your new home as a couple is one of the most exciting milestones of your lives. So before you both get carried away with your Pinterest mood board, agree on a budget first.
If you have a modest budget, you don’t need to fully design or style your new home and burn a hole in your wallets. You can do it per phase!
Next, you need to consider your current lifestyles and needs to guide the functionality of your space. As a new couple, you’re merging two lives together so there’s bound to be differences in needs and preferences especially on how a new home should accommodate all your things and day-to-day activities. Ask yourselves if your new condo is a halfway home from your family house or a primary home where everything you have should fit.
How should a new couple tackle specific areas of the home?
For the kitchen and dining area, consider if you both love to cook and plan to eat home-cooked meals regularly. Are you going to have friends and family over every week, or you prefer to meet them outside?
Knowing what you need in the kitchen and dining areas for your daily needs will guide you in your space essentials like prep space, cooking space, seating capacity, storage, and all the appliances you’d need to purchase.
For the bathroom, a good place to start is knowing how many toiletries, hair, and skincare items you both use daily. Is taking a shower with hot water a non-negotiable? Do you really need a bathtub or not? The bathroom is one of the busiest places in a home and learning what each of you needs is important.
For the bedroom and closet area, if you both enjoy shopping, assigning closet space at the onset will make it easier
to plan. Ask yourselves if one needs more shoe storage over clothes and vice versa.
Before the move, it would be wise to heed advice from the KonMari method and let go of things that no longer spark joy. Donate or sell items you haven’t used for the past three months as chances are you won’t be using them anytime soon.
Now for the living area, ask if one is a movie buff and the other more of a book worm. Are you going to have guests over on a regular? As a new couple, your living area is your new hangout spot to bond together, entertain, or be entertained. Consider your new home’s floor plan to see where that smart LED TV must be and if you can add a nice
How big should an ideal living space for new couples be?
The most ideal space for a new couple (without kids) is no less than 28 square meters for condos. This may seem small for people who own a lot of things but a couple may decide to streamline and simplify their day-to-day essentials.
These days, you really have two options: Get closer to work in the CBD and live in a modest-sized space, or get a spacious house and move away from the CBD. Of course, it’s different if you really have a budget to invest in a large condo or house. But for most who are just starting their lives, it’s really a choice between proximity to work with more time to rest or a bigger home but with longer travel times.
What are the most popular design directions currently being considered by interior designers for new couples?
I’m seeing a lot of modern Scandinavian and tropical-infused themes in homes. You will see this in many home
stores that offer furniture and décor at budget-friendly prices.
Living in a house is no longer the only option as condo living now offers more conveniences and lifestyle amenities for upwardly mobile citizens. So I think that’s why modern Scandi became so popular here because it encourages simplicity and ease of movement with enough room to inject your own character into the space.
The tropical-infused theme, on the other hand, is also well received since busy working professionals want the feel of having a staycation—bringing nature indoors with soothing green hues, natural materials, and indoor plants. I think, generally speaking, interior styles that espouse stress-free, relaxed living with a ton of character will never go out of style.
What is the latest project that you designed that can be an ideal option for new couples?
I recently designed the newest units of Century Properties’ Azure Urban Resort Residences. For that, the unit featured a tropical glam theme. I used different color schemes with white, silver, and shades of blue. I was inspired by beach colors, but I mixed it up with silver or chrome accents for that added glam.
The two-bedroom unit I designed was more airy and minimalist compared to the one-bedroom unit. I started with that tropical print wallpaper in silver, white, and light blue by the dining and kitchen areas. The master bedroom also featured a tropical print wallpaper but in muted gray, white, and silver.
Dark blue was used in drapes and bed covers to make the space feel more luxurious and grown-up. While the second bedroom (planned for a kid) highlighted turquoise blue, lime green colors, and fun pineapple prints to keep the room
What advantages does condo living have for new couples?
Condo living offers numerous advantages, foremost of which are being close to all the conveniences you need, the shorter travel time to work and school (if you need to commute at all), and fewer maintenance costs versus keeping a full-sized home (assuming your condo has a property management system in place). Because they’re mostly working beyond eight hours every day, working couples value quality time together.
Being closer to their workplace and important facilities such as schools, hospitals, daycare, and the supermarket is a big help in managing their daily affairs.
Condos are also lower maintenance because they are typically smaller than homes and are not standalone structures that need more constant roof repairs, repainting, and refurbishing.
With the property management handling the overall upkeep of the building through association dues contributions, most condo dwellers no longer need to get in-house helpers and mostly outsource cleaners and handymen as they need them.
Some condos also have built-in amenities that no longer requires the family to go on out-of-town trips as of-
ten. For example, Azure Urban Resort Residences in Parañaque City has its own wave pool and man-made beach, while Acqua Private Residences in Mandaluyong City has its own country club by the water.
What is the first piece of furniture that the couple should buy?
A good bed frame with a high-quality mattress. You spend one-third of your day in bed, assuming you get eight hours of sleep. So investing in a good quality bed and comfortable mattress will not only look good in your home but it will also make you feel good and stay healthy.
Plus, a good quality bed and mattress will last you for years so the return of investment is felt. Don’t forget to buy a mattress protector.