The search for a good roommate isn’t always easy. After all, you’ve likely heard countless roommate horror stories or experienced similar situations firsthand. So how do you find, win over and keep a quality roommate? Here are some tips to consider.

Pick Someone Who Feels Right

Ultimately, you’ll want to find someone who feels right and with whom you’ll enjoy spending considerable time together. While that person could be from your immediate social circle, remember great friends don’t always make awesome roommates. It’s true: Oftentimes, it’s the people we know best who we easily find fault with and who can get on our nerves the most. 

Of course, when you look outside your social circle, you’re inviting a relative stranger into your space. Can they be trusted? Will we get along and be able to live together without too many issues? These are questions to consider. Now, if you decide on a complete and random stranger from, say, Craigslist, make sure to have one or more phone conversations or meet them in-person to see if he or she would be an ideal fit.

After all, it’s best you learn early on whether a potential new roommate is down to earth and trustworthy and whose ethics and values align with yours.

Blend Your Styles

No matter who you select as a new roommate, you’ll likely have a difference of opinion about the style and feel of any shared living spaces. Of course, this will be amplified if your roommate is of the opposite sex. Knowing this, take steps to liven up your space with plants and natural décor, such as live-wood wall mounts and shelves. 

In a masculine setting, having the right furniture goes a long way with regard to space utilization and also softens the vibe. On the flip side, farmhouse quaintness feels more rugged with prints of mountain vistas, wilderness, and city and machine schematics. Of course, this is only in shared spaces. Your respective bedrooms are yours to decorate.

Be Aware of Opposite-Sex Roommate Rules

Living with a roommate of the opposite sex isn’t always easy, and there are some definite ground rules you should set from the get-go. First off, don’t move in with someone you’re attracted to, especially if you want to form a lasting relationship together. If that’s the case, it’s best you walk away from that deal and look elsewhere for a roommate.

Now, if this is the farthest thing from your mind, you should still be clear about your relationships. Are you or your potential roommate dating someone? If so, will this create an awkward situation regarding noise, clutter or merely another person’s presence when he or she visits? Having another person at your place for hours or days on end can impact comfort and create tension. For some people, it can be hard to feel at home when a stranger is in your house.

Lastly, nail down the logistics. This includes knowing and respecting each person’s daily schedule and habits; how rent and utility bills will be paid, and deciding who cleans what or who takes out the garbage and when. Overuse of shared spaces, such as the bathroom or living room, can also be a dealbreaker. So, if these and other issues do come up, communicate to your new roommate when it bothers you and why.

The Rewards are Worth It

When you find the right roommate — of the same or opposite sex and with someone you can trust and hopefully get along with — the payoff and rewards are endless. As part of your search, explore all your options and consider if a close friend, acquaintance or complete stranger will serve as your ideal roommate. 

While you shouldn’t overlook someone based on a few faults or perceived misconceptions, be sure your ethics, values and overall lifestyles match up. Additionally, blend different styles and décor together for any shared spaces, and, lastly, lay down some ground rules for your home.