As far as we’re concerned, New York–based dating expert Lindsey Metselaar of We Met at Acme (named after the buzzy restaurant-bar in Manhattan) is a modern-day Carrie Bradshaw, who takes a good look at the dating world and critiques it down to every last detail. On her podcast and Instagram feed, she discusses rules such as never sending the “thank-you text” following a first date; shares tips, from how to play it cool at the beginning of a relationship to dealing with a friend’s partner you can’t stand; and explores topics like what it means to truly put yourself out there.
But she also knows a thing or two about interiors. A poll once came into her 60,000-strong Instagram account that was something along the lines of: “Red flag or deal breaker: The guy I’m dating invited me over and he didn’t have a fitted sheet on his mattress…it was just bare.” As well as: “My boyfriend of two years is signing a lease for a studio apartment. Should I bring up moving in together or just let him sign the lease?”
And so Metselaar has rules for navigating your home, too (she recently moved in with her boyfriend). We asked her how to make your personal space date-friendly and how to function when you’re living with (and working from home with!) a partner. Here’s what she said.
Make Your Space Personal
Your home is a window into your lifestyle, values, and passions, which can make the first time a date comes over intimate in more ways than one. Metselaar suggests using your apartment as a tool to let someone get to know you a little better. For her that has meant displaying her love of baking by keeping a favorite cake stand on the countertop and leaving out an in-progress puzzle or game to show that she doesn’t take herself too seriously.
Let Them Know You’re Cultured
The art you choose says a lot about you, and Metselaar notes that a tasteful nude piece (not of yourself, necessarily) hanging in your space can be a good thing. “I think it’s great for a woman to have, because it says she isn’t shy about loving the female body,” she explains. In her apartment, art and books about New York City show her appreciation for her hometown. Also, keeping books on display signals you’re curious about learning.
Your Bed Is a Temple
First things first: Metselaar says having a headboard is an easy way to make your bed feel more adult. And while you may not notice, it can be pretty obvious to someone else when your sheets haven’t been washed recently, so taking the time to freshen up the linens with a spray is a smart move. While Metselaar always goes for white sheets, even she agrees that color and style are less important than good hygiene.
Create Your Own Zones
Working from home has made cohabitating a little trickier. Rather than floating around the house throughout the day, creating separate zones can help keep things functional. Anything additionally separating, like a room divider or noise-canceling headphones, will keep you independently productive. When it comes to sharing spaces like closets, Metselaar and her partner worked with organizer Leah Mari to uncover the best organizing cubes. And for those spaces where sharing is a must and you’re trying to agree on furniture choices, it’s best to find a middle ground and steer clear of stubbornness.
Your Bathroom Can Be Sexy, Too
No, really. The secret? Candles. Metselaar collects matchbooks from her favorite New York City restaurants and displays them in a glass container to help reinforce the ritual of lighting a match after using the bathroom. And storing your cotton swabs and face serums in concealed cabinets rather than open shelving is a great way to keep everything tucked away. That way your date will be focused on you, not your clutter.