Who calls the decorating shots in your house?
I came to my marriage with the notion that my video gaming cerebral husband would be happy to fix broken things and revel in home improvement. It would be so blissful to work hand in hand, side by side, tiling and grouting as we looked lovingly at each other, teaming up all weekend long to increase the value of our home.
After an entire day of tension, bloody knuckles, and a muddy bathtub filled with debris and a tile saw, it was all I could do to get the heck out of there, pick up some take-out and pray that he would be able to finish by the time I got home so we could end our misery.
The reason that people don't fight much on decorating shows on TV is because someone else is doing the work and the network is paying for it. Did I mention skilled teams of laborers and an artisan craftsman at the ready? The really good ones send them to a hotel.
In real life renovation requires hard manual labor, causes unexpected problems, and takes longer than you think it will. Husbands and wives have to hash out what to do and how to do it while trying to stay nice to each other. If you really do work well together in this way you should count your blessings!
Here are my tips for finding the middle ground at home when it comes to design.
- Learn the non negotiable needs your spouse has and learn to work with them.
My husband insists on the television being exactly across from the sofa. When considering the furniture layout in the living area, I let him choose the TV spot, and then work around it to make it look nice, conceal wires and soften the harsh look of our large TV.
You can do a lot to soften a TV with nice baskets, lamps on either side, or a nice piece of furniture to use as a media unit.
- Don't fall into typical gender roles.
Each spouse should do what they are good at. Since my husband has an electronics background I make him do minor electrical things like outlets and ceiling fans. I do pretty much everything else.
- If possible, try to find designated areas for each person to have ownership of.
This could be a small corner for hobbies or sewing, or maybe a large shelf or cabinet to display a large collection. Tuck a small desk and chair into a guest room closet for a hideaway office. Then each person has an area to retreat to right at home. This is especially important when you have small children.
- Find out what your spouse actually cares about the most.
My husband will give an opinion if I ask, but the truth is, he really is not that concerned about 95 percent of our decor at the end of the day. I have learned to only ask his opinion if it is something he will actually use a lot, or a major piece of furniture. Generally he likes what I pick because he knows I know him and what he likes.
If you have a spouse who likes to be more involved in the decor, make sure you consider what they like and need and try to compromise. The best designs blend more than one style together into one cohesive look.
- Narrow down your options when it's time to make purchases.
Instead of dragging your entire family to the IKEA, figure out what you are looking for, and pick a few things that will work. Only bring your spouse to a store if they are required to see it or sit on it to make the final decision (unless you really enjoy family outings to very crowded stores)
- Hire someone to help you.
My marriage survived the tiling project, and it also taught me a lot about who I am and am not and who my husband is and isn't. Don't let unrealistic expectations cause problems in your relationship. Compromise, know your strengths, hire some outside help.
Or apply for an HGTV show.