How To Decorate When Living with In-Laws

Image #1-Bed

By Sundeep Sandhu @designwali and online at:

Decor Writer, Masalamommas

Been there done that. As strange as it might sound for some of you, a few modern South Asian women still decide to live with their in-laws right after marriage. I would say it’s largely a tradition thing, but these days many young newlyweds couple that with economic necessity. Looking back, I think I did it for the same reasons – part tradition & part student loans. I was lucky to have a couple of rooms just for myself (and my own bathroom thank god). So, the question I have been asked recently is, how do you decorate this ‘temporary space’ without inciting any in-law dramatics?


Here are just a few simple suggestions that can help make this space feel perfect for wedded bliss.


 Get a nice bed

Gently get rid of hubby’s old ‘single day’ beds and associated (likely non-existent) bedding. Invest in a bed and quality mattresses (seriously, don’t cheap out on mattress). Fresh bedding and pillows will immediately transform the space whatever you do, try not to go all matchy-matchy on your bedroom furniture. Take the time to invest in a great bed, unique dresser and lovely end tables. The collection will look great together and you can always split it up when you get your own digs.

Photo Credit: House and Home, photographer Virginia Macdonald















Invest in Art

Chances are that when you live with your in-laws you do it to save some money. Whatever your reason, I would encourage you to budget for some original art if you can. Something you and your husband can do together. I only wish I did that back in the day (I did buy a big Pottery Barn mirror and put it under my bed for my ‘future’ house). You definitely will have some wall space – so get some great pieces that can start your collection. Go to local galleries, online places like Etsy (, Saatchi ( , Soceity6 ( or UGallery ( also continually inspire. If you have some talent yourself…start painting away! I just think every room (however temporary) needs art to bring it to life.


Credit: Katie Lydon Interiors

















Area rugs can work wonders

Whether you have a hardwood floor to cover or not, layer in some gorgeous area rugs (you can go thin with Dhurries & Kilims). Area rugs can bring in great colour, texture and pattern to a room and can help define your space.





















Get an occasional chair

Buy a chair. You can go with a gorgeous upholstered chair or perhaps something more sculptural or maybe even a design classic that you can invest in. A chair can become a statement piece in a room that helps layer and connect the room. Besides, it works great as a hamper too. Practical and pretty- a win-win in my books.


Credit: Designer Emily Henderson



Whatever you do…give your space some thought. Temporary or not, if you take pride in your space it helps you feel more comfortable in your new surroundings. Living with in-laws can be challenging at times and decorating your space can show your enthusiasm in living together.


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There are 3 comments

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  1. Nazneen

    This is a brilliant article! I was facing this situation a few months back (thankfully we’re staying put in our own home for the forseeable future now) but at the time, a condition of mine was that we would HAVE to redecorate the room that would be ours as it would be the only space I would have of my own. Your tips are fabulous and I really think will help anyone facing the challenging prospect!

  2. southasianinlaws

    Even though I decorated the whole house because my inlaws moved in with me and my husband, I still placed effort in building a private, comfortable space in the house that would be just mine and my husbands. I did the same things you suggested, getting a comfortable seat (sofa), a great bed, and artwork. It’s important to have your own space when living in a joint household.thanks for your suggestions.

  3. Jennifer Langan Rollo

    I am an American and live with my in-laws, also in line with the financial aspects of a new marriage. Thank you so much for the wonderful and stylish tips. These are exactly what I needed for a new and stressful time in the midst of marital bliss.

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