Decorating with your Spouse: Design Compromise
We’ve written almost 1,000 blog posts (say what?!!) and there’s one topic we really haven’t covered around here…
As 2 married gals, we get asked how we get our husbands on board with our home decorating plans ALL THE TIME. It is definitely a FAQ around here, and for some reason, we’ve never really addressed it. How do you get past your decor differences to make a space that you both love? How do you combine his style, with her style, to create OUR STYLE? (or his & his, hers & hers…no matter your significant other…it can still be a challenge combining styles!)
Well, the wait is over, we finally compiled a list of our tips for anyone out there who is struggling to create a home with a unified design style. Now we certainly are not relationship gurus, but we do have some tips to combat those decor differences. And to keep it real, we thought it would only be fair to ask our husbands’ take on these FAQs. Needless to say, it’s always fun to hear about the DIY and decor world from their perspectives.
Our Tips to Create a Home you Both Love
- Chat about how you want your home to “feel”: When you start throwing words around like boho, mid-century modern, and traditional…it’s very possible that your husband is going to look at you with a dead stare. Instead of using random words to figure out your style, chat about how you both want your home to FEEL. Do you want it to be comfortable? Quirky? Personal? Minimal? Have a discussion about each room and that will be a good jumping off point for the decorating process.
- Consider your Lifestyle: Of course we ALL love the pretty images on Pinterest or the swoon-worthy spreads in the magazines, but those gorgeous images aren’t always realistic to each of our living situations. When we see inspiration photos we use them as just that — inspiration. We don’t want to do exactly what’s in those pinnable images because those rooms don’t always align with our lifestyles. When making design decisions, consider your lifestyle and what priorities are important to each of you. Do you prioritize a big, comfy couch for lazy Sundays or movie marathons? In that case, maybe that sleek, modern couch is gorgeous but won’t fit your needs. Talk about how each of you use your home so when you start making these design decisions, you know where the other one is coming from.
- Open Communication is Key: Talking, talking and more talking! Communication is key to any relationship and we feel the exact same when it comes to making design decisions. The more you express your needs, your priorities, your wishlist, and even your vision for your someday dream home, the more you will get to know each other’s design style and be excited to make these dreams a reality… together.
- Shop Together: <— If you have a spouse who hates shopping, you’re probably thinking… YEA RIGHT!! We get it because our husbands aren’t always excited (to put it nicely) to go out decor shopping with us either. But we realize that having them there when we make big decisions helps “iron out” any issues before they happen. And because we know that this is not their #1 choice on how they would like to spend their Saturday afternoon, we try to make it as fun as we can. Usually we make a plan in advance of where we want to go so they know exactly what they’re in for. And then at the conclusion of this schedule, we celebrate with dinner/drinks at a place of their choice. This way it’s a little less about the shopping and more about a fun night out together!
- Be Willing to Compromise: We’re guilty of not be amazing at this all the time, but we do feel like we’ve gotten better over time. I think we can both agree that we learn how to be better compromisers by watching those husbands of ours compromise so gracefully. Compromising is obviously a very important part of any relationship and compromising on decor is no different. We try to keep our husbands’ opinions in mind when making decisions and they are really great at being very flexible on their ends too. Framing travel photos is Matt AND Bridget’s favorite home traditions!
- Have your Home Tell your Story: When you see decorating your house as a chance to tell your story and showcase your personality, it’s a lot easier to make design decisions that you both really love. Try to weave your “story” into as much of your home as you can with photos, items from your travels, memories that mean a lot to you, or even symbolic items that remind you of happy times together. We promise that this is the best way to not only get him on board but more importantly, excited! Remember these LED lights that Finn installed behind the TV?
- Know your Strengths & Weaknesses: Finn is really great at electronics while Casey is really great at envisioning a knock-out gallery wall. Matt is really great at landscaping and flowers while Bridget is really great at styling a book shelf. We all have our strengths and we try to highlight these strengths by making our spouses in charge of what they are really great at. Finn is always in charge of hooking up electronics, hiding cords, trying to transition our home into a SMART home whenever possible. Matt is always in charge of choosing flowers, maintaining our landscaping, organizing any projects that need to be done in the yard. Giving everyone a formal “job” is a great way to make everyone feel like their opinions and skills are important!
Design Compromise – Tips from the Boys
Remember when Casey compromised by displaying Finn’s fantasy trophy?
- Treat Every Idea with Respect: Even if it is clearly wrong and not going to happen, be respectful of the ideas brought to the table. Sometimes the less informed (in this case Matt and myself) are unaware of certain things that the Playbook girls take as fact. Sometimes things need to be explained and understood in steps as opposed to laughing in someone’s face.
- Take Strong Opinions Seriously: Be aware of complete opposition to an idea. If someone in the relationship is vehemently opposed to an idea or piece of furniture, it may be best to rework the plan. If someone hates something they have to use everyday like a couch or chair that is not fair, no matter how much YOU love it. Find a better compromise.
This pic was after Matt waited in 2 hours of rush hour traffic to pick up this mirror we wanted to DIY. #husbandoftheyear
- Trust: I like to think I’m pretty coachable. I know who’s in charge of the lineup card, who picks the roster, and who selects where I bat in the order. In other words, I don’t question the skipper. Especially a skipper who has a proven track record of success (in decoration and home design). Fellas (or ladies), my biggest bit of advice is to be a team player. Don’t question the process of decorating, but embrace the process. Trust the fact that you are in good hands….. and please… let the “coaches” coach.
- Think outside the box: There’s no such thing as “junk” anymore. Household appliances and furniture that have made a comfortable home on the edge of a stranger’s driveway are no longer off limits. The girls of The DIY Playbook have taught me that “treasures” come in all shapes and sizes.
- Keep an open mind: Five years ago, if you told me my house would be filled with lanterns, ceramic hands, and pictures of boots/shoes, I would’ve thought you were crazy. Now, I love it all (except for the creepy ceramic hand…don’t tell the skip I said that).
- Delivery is everything: My mom always tells me, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.” When offering suggestions, asking questions, or just complimenting the wonderful things happening in your house, do so with care. We have to remember how lucky we are that we have skippers who want to make our homes a better place.
We also asked them a scary question…how are WE at compromising when it comes to our home decor? #eek
Finn: I think we are both good at compromise, given the fact that I love my home and have made little to no decisions (haha!), but I am aware that I am less skilled and should back off most of the time while providing input when needed.
Matt: Bridget has been an incredible skipper for our house. She is willing to compromise, willing to collaborate, but most importantly, willing to put her foot down when it comes time for decisions to be made. She always keeps an open mind and listens to my ideas (with a polite smile and head nod). I do not question her way of thinking or thought process. I get to sit back, put my feet up and enjoy the end result. What more can I ask for? She is AMAZING at what she does!
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.