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Marrying Decorating Styles

May 29, 2011

{Image: Trophy Cupcakes}

How do two people with very different tastes find a style that they both like?

Thank you again, Astrid, for bringing up some really great questions! Today, I am looking at the last of the dilemma’s she brought up in an e-mail.

So, I’ve been putting some thought into this. I can’t say I’ve figured it out, but I do have some thoughts.

Ben and I have gone through what seems like a long process so far. We’ve been together for 10 years and in that time, there have been things that came easy and that we agreed on right away, while other things took more time. I think that if you find yourself on quite different sides in the discussion of how to decorate your home, it’s good to start of with remembering that part of the fun of being with someone is getting pushed outside of your comfort zone and learning to see the world through each others eyes…

It seems that in most couples. there is usually one of the two that cares more about home decor than the other. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the other person’s tastes don’t matter. So, where to go from there?

Talk about it, get inspired together.

It can be easy to feel resigned to the status quo, but talking about it and really laying it all out in the open can sometimes be the start to a great conversation. It can be helpful to go through photos of interiors together and each tag the ones that you like. You’ll get a better idea of what the other person loves and what’s important to them, and it will be a good starting point for negotiating your needs and wants. Making a list of the elements in the photos that you each like can give you food for thought of how to incorporate them into our home in a harmonious way.

For example, Ben and I looked through a stash of photos a while ago and while in conversations we didn’t seem to be able to agree on certain things, we found to our surprise that we both picked the same photo as our favorite. The thing we both loved about it was that it had an airy feel to it and there was contrast between light and dark elements in the room. It was a good starting off point for us.

Analyze your needs, set priorities.

I don’t know about you, but when we’re having a difference in opinion about anything, emotions can get in the way of us finding a workable solution. This is where a bit of left-brain, analytical action can definitely come in handy. Looking very matter-of-factly at what your needs are in terms of functionality, what you can afford at the moment, what needs to be tackled first and determining a reasonable time-frame can help in working together to figure it out rather than getting tangled up in a battle of the will.

Give each other the right to veto.

Nobody should have to live with what they truly dislike. Hence, why I will never paint our walls teal, even though I love that look (Ben does not like teal). I do dislike Ben’s comfy chair quite a bit, but that brings me to my next point.

Designate spaces.

Something that works for us in our current home is each having a bit of space where we have more of a say. Ben’s is the family/media room (where his comfy chair resides), mine is my study (which is where I painted my desk with turquoise drawers). I can see how this might not work for everyone, but even having a nook or a few shelves that you can decorate in a way that you absolutely love, might be helpful.

Accentuate the good, eliminate or disguise the bad.

This is a good rule of thumb to follow when decorating in general, but also when it comes to figuring out a way to decorate your home that pleases both of you. Focus on what you can agree on and on making a beautiful room and home with those elements, let go of what won’t work for you as a couple.

Enjoy the journey.

Have fun. Remember the bigger picture: You’re building your life together and learning together.

I hope this is helpful!

Ps. If you have any questions/dilemma’s that you’d like me to have a go at, let me know!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 29, 2011 1:54 am

    It is not easy when your man approves only of what will reproduce something in his mother’s home, whose taste is the only good taste! How insecure can a man be? So I gave up decorating since I didn’t want a copy of my mother-in-law’s …ending with very ugly, cold, unwelcoming rooms. Now that I live on my own, my flat is full of nice objects, colour and warmth.
    I love the photo of the cupcakes!

  2. May 29, 2011 9:42 am

    Such a dilemma! I love your clean, clear practical solutions. No doubt your home is a lovely example. Happy weekend Jadyn.

  3. May 29, 2011 5:29 pm

    Another great post and topic nobody else tackles – thank you! We always have to talk A LOT. In an effort to establish if it is something my husband does not think he will like (period) vs. something he isn’t able to visualize.

    The best part is when I find him in the tucked away corners that I have dedicated for my decorating taste, reading a book or something… when I ask what he is doing there… he always says… I like your spaces. Men! :)

  4. May 31, 2011 3:20 pm

    Another thoughtful answer — thank you! Yes, veto power is very useful, (I can’t stand the feel of leather sofas which stick to bare skin!) and one day, perhaps there’ll be room for Justin to have a room of his own, decked out in all the dark wood and leather recliners he could dream of! We found, though, while walking around IKEA, that we do agree on a lot of things, and that as long as we focus on the similarities, there’s plenty to inspire us.

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