6 Habits to Adopt When Decorating Your First Home (Without Breaking Up)
Courtesy of JoJo Fletcher
From the moment Jordan Rodgers stepped out of a black limo in front of The Bachelor mansion, we felt an undeniable spark between the sports commentator and the young bachelorette, JoJo Fletcher. Week after week, we waited every Monday with bated breath, secretly hoping she would hand her final rose to the one who caught her eye from the first moment. The whirlwind experience of The Bachelorette may be a recipe for love with a capital L—helicopter rides, the exotic locales, and swarms of good-looking men—but the true test stands after the final rose: when the newly engaged couple steps out into the real world.
These two Bachelor alums wasted no time in shacking up after the show ended—Fletcher was busy shopping for homes while they were still in hiding prior to the finale airing. When she found the perfect home for two in her hometown of Dallas, she was ready to move in. One thing she hadn't anticipated was that she and Rodgers would be eating dinner on the floor if she didn't shift their decorating plans into third gear. With a very supportive fiancé, a little elbow grease (and a helpful partnership with Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams) she whipped the two-bedroom-two-bath house into a cozy love nest in no time—but not without compromise and deal breakers. We chatted with the bachelorette about what she learned from furnishing her first home with Rodgers in record time. Shacking up soon? This bachelorette and her beau passed the true life test—here's how you can too.
Start the Process Early
Fletcher learned first-hand the importance of starting your decorating process well ahead of your move-in date: "For the first month that we lived in our house together we had no furniture," she tells us. "We hadn’t bought anything—and you know it takes a while for pieces to come in, so we were just sitting on the floor in our living room for a good month."
The newly engaged bachelorette was already looking at houses in Dallas while the couple was still in hiding prior to the finale airing: "I knew that we wanted to live together as soon as we were able to, so I was back home looking at houses by myself, and I was texting him pictures. I ended up finding this cute little house that I fell in love with. So we decided on that."
Being in hiding the first few months made it difficult for the couple to go out and shop for furniture, so she highly recommends identifying your combined style early and shopping well ahead of the move-in date. "When we were able to get together publicly, we would just go to furniture stores and pick different things that we liked. I think we wanted to see what we both naturally gravitated toward, but it was definitely a long process of looking for a while before we started buying."
The takeaway: Start gathering inspiration and ordering larger pieces a few months before your move-in date. Sitting on the floor is no fun (unless you enjoy a good picnic).
Establish Your Roles
Courtesy of DISC Interiors
"This house in itself has a very retro vibe to it," says Fletcher. "When we got it, there was this wallpaper in our kitchen nook that was this fun palm tree print. Most people would have probably wiped that out and done something different, but I kind of fell in love with it. So for this house, I think I was more drawn to this retro-chic look, but I also wanted to make sure that we had the rustic element that Jordan loves. We kind of played around with both of those styles."
While the bachelorette acknowledges that she took the reins over the design process, she stressed the importance of checking in with her fiancé at every step: "I realized that at every step of the way you have to check in with the other person you’re going to be living with. Anytime I would find pieces that I liked or saw a style that I was drawn to, I would always send Jordan a picture or have him look at it."
The takeaway: Appoint a "project manager" to take the lead and keep the progress in check, but make every large decision together.
List Your Non-Negotiables
Everyone has deal-breakers at home—so while the young couple had a pretty seamless decorating experience, Fletcher stresses the importance of making a list of non-negotiables. "For the most part, anytime we went to a furniture store we both agreed on the safe stuff," she says. "Jordan was always drawn toward the rustic theme. I love that style, but I was also drawn to a more chic and sophisticated look. We had our differences but we also liked what each other picked out so it was pretty easy for the most part."
Rodgers was accommodating throughout the whole decorating process, but he did have one request: "Our sectional was the first thing we bought—that was Jordan’s non-negotiable," explains the bachelorette. "He said: 'If we’re going to get a couch, it has to be the most comfortable one that we can have for the TV room.' Sometimes I’m drawn to the sofa that looks amazing and is a statement piece, but I also wanted to be sitting on something that’s very comfortable."
The takeaway: Make a list of your non-negotiables before starting to shop, and find solutions around those deal breakers. Everyone's allowed to have a wish list.
Compromise on Style Differences
One of Fletcher's three commandments for decorating this house was to compromise: "Of course we want to have it look exactly like we want it, but when you’re living with somebody, you want them to have what they want too, so compromising is huge" she says.
"I was really into velvet when we were looking at furniture—I wanted a velvet sofa and a velvet chair a velvet headboard. Velvet was just set in my head. And I realized that that’s probably a style that’s a little more feminine so I was questioning how I can incorporate velvet and still keep it neutral for the both of us. We decided on this amazing velvet sofa for our formal living area, but instead of doing a white or colored velvet, I chose plain black. I feel like making it dark neutralized it a bit. That way I got what I wanted while keeping things gender neutral. The sofa is curved so it was so perfect for that retro theme."
The takeaway: Find ways to blend styles in larger pieces by incorporating one's color preference with the other's style.
Talk About Budget
"When you’re a couple and you decided to renovate or redecorate, you want to talk about having a budget," says the bachelorette. "You want to stay within a budget that you’re both comfortable with. Once you’ve established what your budget is, it makes it much easier to go out and look for those pieces, and it makes you a little more comfortable picking things out that way."
Having a clear budget helped Fletcher and Rodgers make decisions on specific pieces more easily and agree on the price of individual items. "There were pieces that were a little out of our budget that one of us wanted more than the other—that’s when the compromising came into place. We would say 'Okay we’re going to spend a little extra in this section, but then we’re going to have to minimize it in a different area.' It’s definitely important to set that budget because it’s very easy to get carried away. Furniture is not cheap, and when money gets involved, that’s where it can get really stressful."
The takeaway: Set a budget for the whole project before looking at specific pieces to get a better understanding of what you can splurge on and where you should save.
Think Function First
While Fletcher and Rodgers have been living a whirlwind romance post–final rose, they've been adjusting to cohabitation like every normal couple. "It’s been amazing and it’s so fun being with each other, but I think if there were to be a pressure point it would be space," says Fletcher. "We’re in a smaller home, and we’re both used to having more closet and storage space. We had to find pieces that were going to create more storage."
Any Bachelorette fan would attest that contestants have a large wardrobe, and these two are no exception: "I’ve taken over the master closet—and Jordan’s been really great about that. He’s taken over the guest bedroom closet. Our side tables have storage and we have two dressers that have a ton of space, but the one thing we got that really helped was in our guest bedroom—the bed actually lifts up and the entire bottom is storage. We were able to find pieces that were very aesthetically pleasing and looked great but they also served a purpose."
The takeaway: Don't let storage space become a pressure point. Find versatile pieces that can play double-duty, and take the stress of your limited closet space.
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