Q: Please, please tell me, you darling darlings, that you disagree on decor once in a while. Please. My hubby to be is lovely & supportive but not terribly interested in design and remodeling (he’s a grad student right now, mostly he is interested in sleep/school). However, he doesn’t like what I pick out most of the time! It drives me BATTY! If you are feeling up to it, do you think you could maybe blog about times when you didn’t see eye to eye? Any tips on how to compromise in these design situations? I’d really appreciate it! Thanks for a lovely blog, you do an amazing job! -Summer
A: With all the decorating projects that Sherry and I take on around here, you’ll probably be relieved to learn that we don’t always see eye to eye on everything. Goodness knows that just because we’re married doesn’t mean we’re always in agreement…
But we’ve ironed out a pretty good system for overcoming our decorating disputes: we don’t spend a penny or lift a paint brush until we’re both on the same page (so if we start on different ones, there’s a fair amount of begging and compromising to meet in the middle). Which means we’ve both become pretty good at pleading our case to one another.
Usually it’s Sherry who does the pleading because, even as involved as I like to be in the design of our home, I still fit some classic husband stereotypes: I’m generally resistant to change, I’m stingy when it comes to spending on decor, and sometimes I feel too distracted by work, life, whatever to give my full attention to Sherry’s latest project. So here are some tactics- many of which have been used on me- to help win over the husband who may be resisting your new design ideas, no eyelash batting required (well, maybe a little).
1. The Passionate Pitch: Detail your vision with enthusiasm, energy and excitement. Show pictures or sketches to bring things to life for your man (pictures can help men feel more in control because they’re more definitive than a bunch of words). Tell him why your latest decorating idea will improve his life (softer pillows for enjoying the game, a place to put his feet up, etc) and lay your heart on the table (showing him that his support and/or participation is important to you can help him feel valued). PRO: If you’re a good salesperson you’ll hopefully get the “if it’s important to you, then I’ll trust you” response. CON: If the project seems too big and overwhelming, it could scare him off due to the perceived time or money investment.
To further demonstrate this approach, Sherry showed me an inspiration picture when she wanted to convince me to forgo typical dining room seating and bring in a padded bench. Of course she assured me that our space would be a bit less fru-fru than the one in the magazine (and the bench would hail from Target or Bed Bath & Beyond so it wouldn’t break the bank) – so that helped too.
2. The Baby Step: If big design projects scare your man into decision paralysis, spare him the big picture and get his sign off on one piece at a time – a pillow here, a new rug there – ’til your vision eventually comes to fruition. PRO: He won’t realize he’s been helping with a complete room makeover ’til the very end. CON: You’ve denied your partner a chance to help shape your vision and sometimes a healthy debate (or three) can breed better results.
3. The Multiple Choice: Ask your husband to help find new curtains and just watch his eyes glaze over. But ask your husband to pick between your top 2 or 3 choices and you’ll find a guy with an actual opinion. PRO: You’ve gotten him involved without letting him steer your design plan off course. CON: Digging up a few options that you can live with requires a bit more homework.
4. The Give And Take: Get around his stonewalling by offering to give in on something else that you’ve been resisting in return. Want him to approve your dream couch? Let him splurge on that Blu-ray player he’s been eying. PRO: You can get to the decision you want in a flash and without much risk of him backtracking. CON: It’s gonna take some compromise on your part (and a bit more moolah).
5. The Exit Strategy: If your husband has trouble picturing the finished project, sometimes the ask-for-forgiveness-not-permission approach can work. Just make sure you’ve planned how to undo the things he may hate, even if it means repainting the entire room or returning certain items (save those receipts!). PRO: No guy can deny a project that has turned out well, especially if he didn’t have to lift a finger. CON: It may require undoing certain things and apologizing profusely for anything that’s irreversible (“sorry I demo’d the bathroom honey”).
For example, I went to work right after we moved into our house and when I returned home this crazy wooden divider was no longer in our living room. Luckily I was super excited that my wife took matters into her own sledgehammer-loving hands, but it could have gone the other way if she accidentally ripped up the floor while she was at it…
Now what about you? We know we’re not the only ones out there who are married and decorating. Do you guys have any other tricks or tactics for settling design disagreements around your house? Spill the beans!
Go ahead, submit your very own email question. Please note that while we can’t address them all individually, we will try to select the ones that commonly come up and answer them for all to see.
Oh boy, can I relate to this one!! Love my hubby, wouldn’t trade him for anything, but he is a little skittish when it comes to color and change. (For example, when we met his entire apartment was decorated in shades of tan. Seriously). Only recently has he begun to let go a little and trust me, and I think it’s because we developed a little “design bond” when we recently renovated our entire house. I love all of the approaches that you’ve come up with, and I think that 2, 3 and 5 have served me well. :)
The hubs and I have similar decorating style, yet I’m very opinionated when it comes to particular pieces to finish out a room, or I may have a vision of what I want and try like mad to get our space there. For me, multiple choice works best. And I don’t have to dupe him on it…he genuinely appreciates that I’ve narrowed it down and have asked for his input, and I appreciate that he trusts me with the overall vision to make our home look great for both of us.
my husband mainly has veto power on the decorating side of things. i do all the work and he can veto items if he really hates them. he lets me pretty much do what i want on the inside anyway since he loves what i’ve done so far and he takes care of the outside with his awesome landscaping abilities!
My husband loves to use tools. So, I have found that any projects that involve procurement of a new tool helps a lot!!
Compromise ends up working out the best because then we are both happy with the outcome. In our bathroom, my husband wanted a faux finish on the wall and I was oh-so-opposed to that idea. We ended up finding a Ralph Lauren “finish” called linen… faux enough for him… subtle enough for me. We both LOVED the final product!
We are currently working through the comfort/design balance while shopping for new living room chairs :-) It might take a while to find the perfect chairs, but it will be worth it!
I can totally relate…we recently bought a house and it’s been tough not choosing everything, considering I have a bery modern aesthetic and my partener Jennifer has more of a traditional approach to decor. We have learned to compromise a lot.
Jenny R says
#3 is definitely a big winner in our house. And it works for anything! When we were putting together our wedding registry, I picked out 3 or 4 different patterns of china, silverware, duvet cover, you name it! And all he had to do was pick out of those. That way, you get one of the ones you want, and he feels like he picked it out. I think the key is probably to make him think he had the great idea and that he makes the decisions, even though secretly you know you did both. =0)
I’m so glad you’ve posted on this topic! My husband and I rarely see eye-to-eye on decorating. He likes BIG DARK HEAVY elements and I like the lighter…more purple…side. Can’t I just have one purple thing!?! ONE!?!
Anyway, I’ll definitely be taking so of your advice, particularly the one about multiple choice. If my husband’s really honest with himself he doesn’t care THAT MUCH about the decorations in the house, but he does like to feel like he has a say. I think this option will solve a lot of that.
My husband is a nut. A sweet, loving, keeper but still a nut. If it were up to him our whole house would be painted red with black furniture. He likes big fluffy couches, chairs with those built in rolls, and nothing in a light shade! But you see I pull “Here honey which one of these two do you like? You always know what will work best.” And then voila! I have light colors, air furniture, and even a little toile! Sshhh don’t tell him my secret.
This post cracks me up! I use the “give and take” and “the multiple choice” quite often. :) Thanks for the other suggestions!
Sam & Jacci says
Wow, guys – I’m impressed. How long have you been married??? You’ve given some excellent advice. I think you can boil it all down to “honest, open conversation” coupled with a LOT of ***respect***. Respect is so key.
John, my Sam sounds a ton like you. He definitely takes an interest in my ideas and the style/design of our (future) rooms, but his eyes can glaze over at times – and he can definitely freeze up when I start talking about projects that require a lot of moolah. I think he’ll really enjoy reading your perspective :)
One thing – if you don’t mind. IN reading some of the comments, I just want to pipe up and say there is a really important, (but sometimes subtle) line between pleading your case and flat out *manipulating* your man. Manipulation is always going to be a losing game. I get the idea from what you’ve written that you and Sherry have a genuine respect for the other’s ideas and preferences. She’s trying to convince, *but* not backhandedly, and she’s not trying to fool you into playing along with something that’s purely *her* agenda. Like you said, you don’t lift a paint brush until you are both completely on board. Sam and I like to call it being “one mind” :)
Again, great advice, guys :) Keep talking and loving each other!
Stephanie B says
I use the multiple choice tactic all the time. It works well but I find it’s still hard to give up the one I like best when he doesn’t pick that one.
A good one also is to try to get him think it was his idea.
Sam & Jacci says
Oops – didn’t mean to shout when I typed the word “in” up above. Typo. And, I wanted to say that I think it’s sweet to read how other couples are working on getting to the same place in their decision making process, too. This is a very encouraging “build up your marriage” type post – not just about decor! :)
When it comes to big decisions (anything that costs more than $50), I do all the legwork – visiting stores online and in person, wandering through antique stores, etc. – identify 2 or 3 objects I like, and then call him in for his opinion. So, multiple choice.
For small decisions (the el cheapo ones), I just take them myself. He trusts me completely, and he knows that by the time I’ve bought something, I’ve carefully considered whether it’s something we ‘want’ or ‘need’, and where/how it will be used. Several times now, when he’s away on a business trip, he comes back to find new curtains or frames or cushions. He’s always pleasantly surprised.
A couple of years ago, we remodeled our Powder Room. He wanted a wall of DARK brown glass tile behind the pedestal sink. This certainly wasn’t what I was thinking (really didn’t work well with the house or our style). So I said “Honey, what about this do you like?”. I realized it wasn’t the glass tiles that he really wanted, but that we put tile behind the sink. Which I thought was a GREAT idea. So I found some marble mosaic tile (in a herringbone pattern) and had it installed on the wall. It looks absolutely amazing and we can’t both be happier.
So I think it’s important to understand what’s motivating both of your decisions and the statement “honey, what about this do you like” works all the time. For both him and me.
Hearing you say this, “I’m generally resistant to change, I’m stingy when it comes to spending on decor, and sometimes I feel too distracted by work, life, whatever to give my full attention to Sherry’s latest project,” just gave me all the hope in the world.
I’m recently married and am still adjusting to what’s it’s like to share my life with a member of the opposite sex, especially one who thinks cardboard boxes are acceptable home decor!
Great post, John! Multiple Choice is definitely key — Dave can only handle so many options.
To be honest, when my husband and I first moved into our place three years ago I pretty much ignored his wishes/tastes and decorated on my own. Sure, he had an ultimate veto, but his total disinterest in the process coupled with his very tight wallet made him very frustrating to work with. So generally, my tactic was buy first, ask questions later. If he threw a fit, I took it back. Perhaps not the best strategy for decorating together, but it (mostly) worked.
These days, Dave has learned he better take more interest in the process if he wants a voice in the decorating front. Accordingly, we’re working together more now and to be honest I like it better. Sure, sometimes I wish he’d just “yes ma’am” anything I suggest, but the end result has been a house that’s a lot more “us” and a lot less “just me”. And it turns out that’s what I wanted all along (not to sound cheesy or anything).
I feel that i’m in a pretty lucky boat when it comes to my husband. He typically doesn’t care how I decorate. Now he has voiced his opinions a few times and i’ll either make a compromise to change it or persuade him with the give and take. He has a expensive hobby so just a few words about getting a new piece of equipment for him can usually do the trick. I think the one thing he expresses his opinion about the most is that he hates clutter and knick-knack everywhere. When I bring something in he wants it to have a home and not just a “i’ll figure out where to place it eventually.” I use the “I promise I won’t clutter the house approach” when i’m trying to get my way but ssshh what he doesn’t know is that I equally hate clutter. haha! Nah! He does know that i’m not a knick knack person so it all works out in the end. As far as buying stuff for the house though, if it is under $50 i’ll buy it if I have a home for it but over $50 and i’ll wait and see if the hubby likes the home for it as well.
Alex and I at least agree on an overall aesthetic, so we don’t agree on major stuff. He has trouble with the big picture, so photos/drawings help me a lot when I’m batting my eyelashes. Also, it is helpful if I can show how it will improve how we use the house or increase the value at resell. With projects that he is iffy on, I’ve had good success bringing in a 3rd party opinion b/c he will listen to my mom, our neighbors, and our friend that is a decorator. Most recently, he balked at repainting the living room and hall b/c we painted last year. The color turned out too light, so we need to change it. I used a combination of the 3rd party opinion and am getting a quote from a painter so he won’t have to do it himself or help me. Will let y’all know how that pans out!
When my husband and I first got married, we moved into an apartment and he fought me on everything I wanted to do decor wise. It was just a tiny apartment but I still wanted it to reflect me, instead it was boring and bare. By our second apartment, my husband learned that I would not do anything overly fru-fru (like his mother’s house with flowers everywhere) and that our decorating ideas were similar. I still have to plead my case for some things and after a while, he gets tired of my begging and gives in. Of course, there are also times that I say ok and step back (like painting the spare bathroom pink). It is all about give and take.
I must admit, I do practice the forgiveness rather than permission many times when I can’t get him to listen to my ideas, usually things like rugs and curtains.
Great post! Very timely to our home decorating timeline :-) I have two related questions I’d love input on (from you guys or other posters!)
First, I moved in with my fiance a few months ago. He already owned a home when we met, and my lease was up, so it made the most sense. However, there are a few decorating decisions he’s already made that I am particularly not fond of (ahem-paintcolorinthemasterbedroom-ahem). How can I approach it without sounding like I’m insulting his taste (which is generally very agreeable)?
Second, when I show him photos, as you suggest, in magazines or websites, he gets frustrated and says he has to see it “in real life”, but it seems impossible to get our schedules together to go shopping for things like curtains (which isn’t particularly an exciting venture for either of us). Help!
These are really great tips! My fiance is really supportive of my decorating addiction, and he usually really likes what I do to our house. But, these ideas are true. He likes a solid picture and baby steps. Often I just go for something if I don’t need another opinion. He will be on board when he sees the finished product! (hopefully!:)
see our design dilemmas and projects here:
My husband and I dont agree on things alot either. I have learned to stop really asking because in the end, once I have the room done he loves it! But if we are out shopping and I say “Babe what do you think”…he will say “Its alright”….and I think to myself…well when I bring stuff home you dont say that..he probably just doesnt want to shop..
Sammy Jenkins says
In getting my house ready to sell, we were forced to decorate it (finally) — decisions HAD to be made.
What helped was getting rid of stuff. My husband was more than happy to install closet systems. Once everything was put away and we had lots of lovely space — it made decorating easier, because now even the smallest things made a big impact. Take a look at J&S’s living room — something as ‘small’ as a new pillow makes a big statement because it is not overwhelmed by clutter and too much furniture. Less is more. And it it easier to agree on a few things – new curtains, a new pillow, etc. than it is to come to agreement on a suite of furniture. A great idea (from YHL) is to shop your home. I was able to redecorate mainly by removing and re-purposing/repainting and the difference was amazing.
I think my girlfriend has tried every single one of these on me but has mostly settled for #5. She kept talking about how she wanted to paint the bedroom and went so far as to get paint chips and tape them up, etc. I knew that any day she was gonna demand that we spend the weekend painting the room. Then one day I came home from work and she had done the entire room, start to finish, and put all the furniture back in place. The room looked great and I didn’t have to help, so as you can imagine, I was quite pleased.
I can relate to this one. I had no idea that my boyfriend would care about paint colors, couches or rugs. But he does… and his taste is beige and boring!
I am so envious of my mom and dad. My mom decorates and my dad goes with the flow! Gotta love that!
This is a great post! My husband and I pretty much have the same decorating taste. I am more of the creative vision and he is better at the execution of big projects :)
My husband is usually the voice of reason (“do we really need this?”). So I usually come to him with a full plan, all the low-cost options, and a list of exactly how much effort it will take on his part. He usually relents because it makes me happy.
This weekend, while sanding our cupboards to be repainted, he actually commented that he didn’t mind doing these projects because I helped out. If I just expected him to do all the work, it’d be a different story, so I think that helps. I think most guys assume that they will get stuck doing the dirty work, so pitching in really helps pursuade them.
I love this post.
I am pretty lucky in that J isn’t incredibly opinionated on decorating matters. He knows I’m not going to come home with anything floral, pink, or ruffley. Beyond that, he just says “whatever you want!”
I actually *want* his opinion, however. I don’t want him to feel like our house is a place where he sleeps and eats, but mostly houses MY STUFF. So, he’s kind of taken over the basement- he got to pick the couches and colors and such to compliment his true love- his giant tv, stereo system, and Playstation. I get to work around it all to make it feel slightly home-y, but it’s his room, and he loves it. :)
Denise T. says
Moving into a 100 year old house that wasn’t designed for a 21st century family will teach you some valuable lessons about yourself and your husband. We’ve spent a lot of time evaluating “how we live” in our home as opposed to “how it looks”. We’re putting function before form with this old house as we plan a new addition with the help of an architect. It will include a master suite, a master bathroom, closets and a walk-in laundry room. I never considered closets a luxury, until I lived without them.
Thanks to wonderful blogs like Young House Love, our old/new farmhouse can have practical function and beautiful form at the same time.
I’ve learned over the last 5 years that my husband is interested in decorating, but he wants me to ask him how he would like to incoporate his style into our house. His style is very different from mine: he’s into modern/modern vintage inspired, colorful, artistic, but doesn’t realy decorate so much as put random things in random places (why is Ang the avatar in my flower pot?). He is very talented with design, but doesn’t really implement his talent into “home design”
I’m sorta shabby chic/country, with lots of natural colors and very organized. It’s been tough to combine the two, but when we compromise (or I should say I compromise) and find a way to bring both of our preferences into our house tastefully things come out pretty nicely!
Thank you so much for posting this! It seems like I am ALWAYS begging my boyfriend to steer away from the plain and simple! I am definitely going to use your tactics!
Great post, John and Sherry!
My husband and I have different tastes — he’s an enthusiast of modern design and I favor a transitional look — but we have made it work during our renovation. For big, statement items like cabinets, rugs, etc., I gave him a couple of choices (mostly from catalogs, magazines, etc.) and we made a decision based on his feedback. So far it has worked well!
Another approach that has worked for us is asking trusted others for opinions (not having them make a decision but offer input). This may not work for everyone, but we have appreciated the feedback of siblings and close friends.
I so relate! I love to paint wood–hubby thinks it’s a mortal sin. We’ve compromised quite a bit in our house thus far, and while sometimes it drives me crazy, it is OUR house, not just mine.
My mother-in-law told me once that her husband was VERY interested in decorating at first, and later stopped caring. Am I a terrible wife for hoping that he stops caring about wood?!
I totally feel your pain! John was actually afraid to paint the dark and soot stained fireplaces in our living room and den so I had to gently persuade him with lots of pictures of rooms that we loved (none of which had dark red brick in them). Hopefully your hubby will come around on the wood painting thing. And once he does he might just want to paint everything like my hubby of mine. Ha!
Oh and Megan, ink blue chairs sound LOVELY. Be sure to keep us posted on that. My fingers are crossed for ya…
Great imput and at perfect timing! The hubby and I are currently at a disagreement on what color to paint our chairs. I want ink blue, he doesn’t. And so the discussion begins. :)
Summer Smith says
Hey! That’s me!
I am a younghouselove groupie. Fo’ Sho.
These are fantastic tips! I pretty much use all of these tactics to get my way with my fiance on all different topics including decorating. I usually emphasize how it will make his life easier, save him money, or benefit him. I negotiate for a living so I guess it’s just natural for me.
Erin K. says
Love this post. I love it even more that it was posted by John. I often wondered the same thing about you two. My husband and I do this funny thing where we want different things and try to sell the other on our ideas. Then, we both change our mind and go with the other one’s original idea and end up where we started. Ha!
Rachel- I wanted just one purple room too… that took a LOT of convincing, but I ended up with a silvery/purple w/white accents laundry room. I guess my husband figured he’d never see it….
I could have written Summer’s letter, so your response and lot of the comments have been super helpful to me. I think there is nothing worse, though, in a couple’s home when it seems like one of the couple is not represented, so thanks for helping us remember it’s not all about those of us who are decor-obsessed.
I was just thinking how nice it was for Sherry that she had a husband that was so into home projects with her. But it’s refreshing to hear that you’re not always in complete agreement. On another note since I’m leaving a comment I just wanted to tell Sherry that ever since I’ve been reading your blog I’ve thought Sherry reminded me of someone but couldn’t put my finger on it, then it hit me yesterday, she looks like Rachel McAdams, I bet you get that a lot. Love your blog, thanks for inspiring me!
I do get it a lot, and I take it as a compliment every time. So thanks! I used to get it a lot more back when I lived in NYC (getting into cabs, on the subway, on the elevator, etc). Someone actually told me they loved me in The Notebook and didn’t believe me when I swore up and down that wasn’t me. I’m only 5’2″ so sometimes that helps me prove my case. Like “oh you look so much like Rachael McAdams but you’re soooo much shorter, maybe you’re her squat sister?”. Flattering one minute, cutting the next…
I wish my husband was interested enough in home decor to disagree with me! Instead, I usually get an apathetic shrug, a “whatever you want to do is fine,” or a “I trust your taste.”
One of the only things I can think of him ever suggesting was painting one of our bedroom walls entirely in whiteboard dry-erase paint so that we could “write messages to each other.” Cute, but not exactly what I had in mind, ya know?
It’s funny because I just had this conversation with my sister. I told her to decorate as girlie and fun as you want now, because once you are married, girlie is out. :)
We definitely don’t have the same taste. Being in a more creative job industry, I’ve learned to not get too attached to anything. The more attached you are it really feels personal. The multiple options sometimes works, but I like him to have an opinion not a choice. So I usually take him in a few stores to see what he likes and show him what I like, then I pick something I like within his “taste range” and get his approval. But if he doesn’t like it I just let go – and that has always worked out better in the long run. Turning down things we didn’t both love actually ended up with us finding something we both loved.
Occasionally, if one of us loves something we try not to be too critical and see if we can negotiate a different color or paint or a new fabric on something.
While we do argue about many things, we tend to not argue about decorating. You have to both love with what you live in, and as impossible as it may seem there are things out there.
I want to know who does the cleaning of your house. Everything I ever see is maticulously clean. I’m sure this is not necessarily the case, as a room can be cleaned pre-photo op. But even at that….you guys are clean clean. So who does the clean cleaning? ;-)
I do every stitch of the cleaning (bathrooms, vacuuming, windows, dusting… everything). But John does all the cooking and the dishes and the laundry and the mowing so I actually feel like I have it good. Just don’t tell him!
I believe in cleaning as you go, and because I work from home I can do a bit of dusting, organizing, folding, vacuuming, and scrubbing every day or two to keep things from ever getting to the point that I’ll dread doing the cleaning. It’s all about prevention! And thanks to my little Kurv I really am much faster at dust-bunny-hunting (since we have all wood floors and that used to be the thing that took the most time). Who knew I’d ever love a glorified dust-buster so much?!
Anna See says
What a great post! It sounds like a lot of women take the multiple choice approach, which is also what I do. I keep an idea file to show him magazine clippings and let the photos, not me, do the talking.
I’m a pretty big fan of asking for forgiveness, not permission. It’s kinda my personal mantra. If it’s something crazy huge, I wouldn’t do it. But, I usually know when the hubs would be happy with something once it happened. So, I just get to the point for him. So far, it hasn’t bit me in the butt.
Good post. I’ve often been curious about this same thing.
Sorry for the late response everyone – did I mention boys get distracted sometimes? But I’m glad to hear that everyone’s enjoying the discussion!
I wanted to chime in specifically on DCKate’s comment asking about how to change/undo design decisions that their man has already made. My suggestion would be to approach it not as “your taste is bad,” but as “this paint color doesn’t feel like me and I’d love to make this room feel like us now that I live here too.” Let him know (gently) that it’s important that you see pieces of you in your new home, so it’s not about undoing a “mistake” that he made, but about making it feel like a true home for both of you. That does mean you can’t go and change everything that he’s done… but small changes here and there can really add up to something you can both appreciate.
And if you guys can’t coordinate a time to see things together in real life, you can always pick things up yourself as you see them and bring ’em home for “approval” (just hang on to that receipt in case it doesn’t work for both of you). Also try web sites (like Target.com or Amazon.com) that show products in rooms and alone, from multiple angles and give technical specs (size, materials, etc). That’s about as real as you’ll get without being in the store together. Forward a few links to your man and check your inbox a little later for his thoughts. Hopefully that’s easy enough to make shopping “together” a newfound hobby!
Good luck with everything…
I think I have a little more difficulty in this area. My guys is on his second go round. And we aren’t married yet. We are at the “move-in-with-marriage-goal” stage, in my house. His first didn’t let him make any decisions, but he was expected to pay for everything. I have very strong ideas, but don’t want to railroad him into anything he won’t like. And I make enough on my own that I am not asking him to buy a pillow. Landscaping is a different story, a little help would be great!
It is like pulling teeth to get him to give me an opinion on anything! He isn’t used to it. And for himself, he doesn’t even notice his surroundings most of the time. We are trying to work on it. I have discussed what I see happening in certain areas and I ask what he thinks, does he like the sound of if, all of that. I want this to be “our house” so I don’t want to push too far too fast. The idea is that if he still feels like it is “my” house and not “ours” in a year or two, then we sell and buy together. But I really like my house! So far we are in good shape. Still, I always keep receipts and, if we are out together shopping, ask if he likes this or that.
Great post John–I liked the “pros & cons” you listed. I’m going to have to try numbers 1-4 a little more often, but I’ve mastered #5. I typically wait until G is out of town for work, completely re-do a room, and then “surprise” him when he comes home. So far it hasn’t failed me! One year while he was in Phoenix for 2 weeks he came home to a brand new built-in (and fully stocked!) bar in the Man Room (in our first house). That pretty much won him over to my way of doing things for life, lol!
I think that, as a newlywed, I was in a bit of a trap. I wanted to create a home that reflected both of us, so I kept asking his opinions on the littlest of things. Looking back, I can see that he didn’t really have an opinion on a lot of that, and I was essentually forcing him to form an opinion. But then I didn’t like his choice, so I was frustrated at that point. We were kind of at a standstill, and were just in an apartment, so we couldn’t do *that* much decorating, so I just started focusing on function and getting the basics in place. Eventually I figured out how we needed to work things and I started taking more of an “approval” tactic. I would shop for things and find something that I thought we might both like. I would bring it home and put it in place and then let him approve it. If he really objected, I was happy to return it to the store and look for something else. He almost always likes what I bring home and I think is just happy not to have to make the decision. For big things like furniture, he likes to go sit on things and approve an overall shape and feel, but he’s fine with me choosing the upholstery or color.
So I guess my advice is don’t force your guy to have an opinion on everything. Otherwise you might end up with an entirely beige house because beige is safe! LOL
bridget b. says
just catching up on the blog. thanks so much for this article!! i can totally relate. tactic #5 usually works when purchasing items, but when it comes time for the placement my husband usually has different ideas than me on what looks good. my rebuttal usually starts with “but on younghouselove.com they said…..”.
he’s usually pretty good about letting me have my way most of the time if i incorporate some of his ideas as well.
My husband (of nearly 2 years) has a really hard time envisioning things. I totally agree that a picture goes a LONG way! He could not stand a rug I wanted for our living room, but I knew it was because he was looking at black and white stripes on a table at IKEA… not in our living room. I brought it home and he loves the way it brings balance to our room.
Seeing the end product is a huge part of getting my husband on board (he is one who really doesn’t have an opinion, except that he wants it to look good). It is so much fun to see how excited he gets when we have the finished product in place… it’s like watching a puppy explore his new house!