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spousal decor wars

sillyberry

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
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1,792
So my brand-spanking-new husband and I are starting the process of figuring out how to furnish our future home. Which we don't have yet, but ignore that for the moment. We're doing lots of envisioning anyway.

And wow we don't agree.

I've always known we have different decor preferences, but now that these preferences aren't theoretical anymore, it's a matter of making it work! So, my question:

For those of you who have successfully navigated furnishing and decorating a house with someone who has totally different taste...how did you do it? Did you compromise on the stuff you buy? Compromise on who got to furnish which rooms? Secretly buy furniture in the night and then say "too bad" when the other complains?

We both want to love our future home and are trying to figure out how to make that happen!!! :))

Also - can anyone recommend good design inspiration websites featuring a fairly traditional aesthetic? I guess I need something new since I've retired most my wedding blogs...

Thank you!
 

JewelFreak

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
7,768
Secretly buy furniture in the night and then say "too bad" when the other complains?
LOL. It's been tempting.

DH has always been interested in decor, unfortunately. I envy women whose SOs don't notice anything! He & I aren't poles apart but we do have our differences. He HATES pattern & likes only subdued colors. Drives me into a blue funk! We disagree on some furniture -- something I love, he may say, "It's HORRIBLE." (Tact is not a Dutch talent.)

In furnishing 5 houses, we negotiate. "Okay, we'll put your painting there if I can have the mirror here." And compromise. Each of us has endured this or that piece or carpet, whatever, that we don't like much. We also cross off things if one of us really can't stand it. Eventually we arrive at stuff we both like pretty well; it's a process, though.

Good luck! It isn't easy -- but in time you'll figure out ways to work around it. One of the MOST important hints is, don't ask unless he shows an interest. Men seem to feel that if you ask, they have to be in charge even if they don't know or care: that means saying NO if you said YES. It's a case of learning to sail around the wind.

--- Laurie
 

Hera

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 12, 2007
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2,401
I'm an Interior Designer so I might vary from what some people do but here's what I do:

For major furniture purchases like a bed and sofas that my husband will use, I first go shopping and narrow down the choices. I think about what he likes: comfortable, not flimsy, not too girly etc and then combine that with what I like and what I can live with. Then, I take him to see all of them and we make a decision together.

Unfortunately, that's not how it works, 100% of the time. I just went and bought a sofa he doesn't love but can live with in exchange for ownership rights over our home office. Marriage is about compromise and we both came out winners.

For other smaller furniture, art and accessories, I select them. I still take into account what he doesn't like and try to mix in some things he will like. For example, he's in the military, so I found an old history print that included all of my decor colors AND was a subject matter he likes. I'm lucky because he's not terribly particular about the smaller stuff.

I also show him everything that's going into the room so there isn't anything he hates and so he'll feel like he's part of the process.

If your husband's style is vastly different and you like traditional and he likes Contemporary, you might want to look towards a transitional or perhaps an eclectic style (you can google for definitions).

I look at Houzz for inspiration. There is a traditional option.

If that's too much, then you can remember the quote, "It's easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to get permission."
 

Circe

Ideal_Rock
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Apr 26, 2007
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My husband's idea of nice decor is Ikea.

My idea of nice decor is if a dragon had a bordello.

Yeah.

It took us a while, but even at those two extremes, we managed to find a happy medium that we're both okay with. After some trial and error shopping, where both of us recoiled and said "UGH!" we discovered we both like Asian-inspired decor: that I could put up with clean lines in furniture, so long as I was allowed to go wild on the soft furnishings; that he could deal with most of my art, though he got final veto on some (sadly, my delightfully tacky "Cockatoo Made of Rough Precious Gems" portrait has been banished to the attic - poor cockatoo!).

We did consider the alternative of having, like, alternate rooms, but decided it would just feel too strange. This way means that shopping takes longer, and neither of us necessarily gets THE perfect thing (I am still sighing wistfully over the spikey cast-iron bedstead shaped like a tree), but, hey. Compromise. :devil:
 

zoebartlett

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Dec 29, 2006
Messages
12,450
My husband's style is more contemporary than mine, although over the years, we have agreed on the decor of our home. The good thing is that neither one of us likes heavy, ornate furniture. We tend to agree on shaker-style and transitional pieces, and we tend to choose mostly solid colors over anything with a pattern (although I'd like to branch out a little).

The entertainment center he used to have had glass shelves and metal framing/legs. That's not my style at all. I prefer wood over metal, typically (although I have seen some metal and glass tables at EA that I love). My husband values function over form, and I prefer to focus on asthetics.

It took a while to agree on things, and it took lots of trips to various furniture stores to figure out how to make it work. I'd say that we're mostly on the same page now. Except for our guest bedroom. He HATES the lamps I bought one day but I love them and they're staying. They pushed my comfort zone a bit because they're not plain-Jane at all. I won't return them and he just has to get used to them. :bigsmile:
 

HollyS

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Jul 18, 2007
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6,099
We compromise. We have generally the same tastes, but he's much more. . . deadly dull than I am. No imagination whatsoever. I talk him into things. But, I've not yet convinced him that a round table would be perfect for our rather small dining room.
 

Circe

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HollyS|1308099443|2946112 said:
We compromise. We have generally the same tastes, but he's much more. . . deadly dull than I am. No imagination whatsoever. I talk him into things. But, I've not yet convinced him that a round table would be perfect for our rather small dining room.
Mm. I wanted a round table. He wanted a square table.

I like wood. He hates the color brown. In his head, that includes wood.

We got incredibly lucky, and found an octagonal ebony table. What're the odds?

Like I said, makes shopping into a challenge.
 

sillyberry

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Messages
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Circe|1308097520|2946090 said:
::snip:: My husband's idea of nice decor is Ikea.

My idea of nice decor is if a dragon had a bordello. ::snip::
SNORT. Maybe I don't have it so bad?

heraanderson, I just looked up some definitions, and think I'm transitional. (also - wow I don't know anything about design) My preferences are fairly neutral, although right now I'm obsessed with having upholstered chairs in colorful patterns to offset that. DH would like a very masculine decor, lots of dark heavy wood and leather. With maps and images of the compass rose inlaid into tables.

:rolleyes:

Mancave?
 

Selkie

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
2,876
"My idea of nice decor is if a dragon had a bordello."
Ha! Love it. I'm picturing lots of red and black drapey things and ornate furnishings.

Houzz.com is great! Tons of ideas and photos that you can filter by style.
 

NovemberBride

Brilliant_Rock
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Jun 26, 2006
Messages
962
Check out young house love - it's a blog. It's written by a young couple that chronicled their complete renovation of their first house. They recently sold that house and now are doing the same thing to another house. They tell you where they got everything as well as prices, so it's great for inspiration. They also provide step by step details of their DIY projects. Their style is more modern than transitional, but even if that's not you it is a really fun blog.
 

fieryred33143

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 18, 2008
Messages
6,689
Well. We took the compromise approach. Each gave in to what we weren't passionate about.

What we ended up with is three shades of beige that hurts my eyes in the living room and dining room, a blue bedroom with gold furniture, a random purple room (well not random, it's my kid's room), and a green bathroom. The living room has this classic feel to it while the bathroom is modern and the bedroom is a hot mess.

For our first official house we are hiring a decorator, giving them lots of money, and closing our eyes.
 

suchende

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
1,001
BF's mother is an interior designer. She did his place and I like it fine so when we combine this Fall, I will probably sell all of my furniture. My stuff is nice enough- lots of chocolate leather and dark woods with blue and taupe accents- but I guess I am not too attached to any specific pieces. Come to think of it, our color schemes and textures are already very similar. The only thing I plan to change is upgrading the linens.
 

Hera

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 12, 2007
Messages
2,401
sillyberry|1308100569|2946128 said:
Circe|1308097520|2946090 said:
::snip:: My husband's idea of nice decor is Ikea.

My idea of nice decor is if a dragon had a bordello. ::snip::
SNORT. Maybe I don't have it so bad?

heraanderson, I just looked up some definitions, and think I'm transitional. (also - wow I don't know anything about design) My preferences are fairly neutral, although right now I'm obsessed with having upholstered chairs in colorful patterns to offset that. DH would like a very masculine decor, lots of dark heavy wood and leather. With maps and images of the compass rose inlaid into tables.

:rolleyes:

Mancave?
Not necessarily, because I think that combination sounds like it could work and be quite lively. Perhaps you do a neutral tannish or a gray paint color with a leather sofa and colorful upholstered chairs. You could also do a solid print for the chairs and then add colorful pillows, that way you can change them out if you tire of the pattern. Just be sure that if you pick some brighter colors, place them around the room, it will be more pleasing to the eye that way. You could also find maps to frame and put on the walls, in a more contemporary manner (like framing them in simple black or metal frames or by placing them on the wall in a gallery style). That way, you could skip the map and rose inlay.
 

texaskj

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 31, 2010
Messages
1,196
God, picking out a sofa with my ex-husband was an hours-long ordeal. Peace talks for wars probably didn't take as long. I hate, hate, hate modern and he wanted chrome, glass and leather everything. I got practical and told him there weren't going to be any glass tops unless he paid for a maid and then I got mean and told him he'd have to pay for all of something if I hated it. Two major things to never forget no matter what style: How comfortable is it? How practical is it?
I was in Pottery Barn about five years ago and this woman just couldn't decide on dining room chairs. I asked her which ones sat better. She looked at me like I was speaking Swahili. "Which ones feel better?" She got this horrified look on her face and confessed she had never bothered to sit in any of them. Which led me to the realization that people will spend thousands of dollars on furniture they've never bothered to try out.
 

KimberlyH

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 15, 2006
Messages
7,485
My husband came into our marriage with enough inherited antique furniture to fill 3 houses, plus some of his own odds and ends that he loves; I had much less furniture but I love my couch and a few other pieces. COMPROMISE, COMPROMISE and then do so some more. We're remodeling a house right now that's going to be our permanent home. It will be a mish mash. I like clean lines, simple, modern, bright. He likes being surrounded by stuff, the older and curvier the better, he likes tan and pale green. So it will go as follows:

Living Room: Sofas we purchased together for the family room in our first home (their too big for our current home and we only have a living room here, no family room), a painting we picked together from my favorite local artist
Dining Room: His inherited oak table and chairs, I get to pick the fabric as the chairs are in desperate need of reupholstery
Family Room: My old sofa, new
Our Bedroom: Tan, with white a green accents, a painting that has been in his family forever that I actually love (Asian river scene, muted colors)
Paint: I get to choose, within reason. He's already approved of a yellow/pale turquise living room, green and yellow dining room, yellow family room, tangerine (it's really peach but I don't want to call it that) kitchen. The outside of the house will be black and white
Garden: As long as it's not too desert-like it's his baby to do with as he pleases.

Our house will never be in House Beautiful. But it's part of the deal of being married, we have to mesh sometimes and make odds and ends work together.
 

Circe

Ideal_Rock
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Selkie|1308100593|2946129 said:
"My idea of nice decor is if a dragon had a bordello."
Ha! Love it. I'm picturing lots of red and black drapey things and ornate furnishings.

Houzz.com is great! Tons of ideas and photos that you can filter by style.
Yep. And gilt. Lots of gilt. Gilt, everywhere. It's like my genetic code is aware that, as a Jew, I should have lots of the homophone, but suffers dyslexia.

When I was poor and in grad school, I went through a phase of buying the cheapest possible furniture at flea markets, dragging it home, and painting it gold. It looked surprisingly respectable that way, but friends were afraid I'd gild the cat.

(I maintain she would have liked it - like a little statuette of Bast!)

Even more surprisingly, my husband discourages me from this habit. Pourquoi?
 

merilenda

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 20, 2010
Messages
816
Hera, will you come decorate my future house, too? :)

SB, have you ever seen some of the shows on HGTV where they do the decor to find a compromise between the two peoples' varying styles? On one of them, the designer figures out each person's design style. She then decorates a room with just the wife's style and then later on adds the husband to it. I hope that makes sense because my brain is completely fried after today (it was a long day!). Maybe you could get some ideas! I'm obsessed with HGTV despite the fact that we don't own a home yet.
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Jan 11, 2006
Messages
55,805
sillyberry|1308100569|2946128 said:
Circe|1308097520|2946090 said:
::snip:: My husband's idea of nice decor is Ikea.

My idea of nice decor is if a dragon had a bordello. ::snip::
SNORT. Maybe I don't have it so bad?

heraanderson, I just looked up some definitions, and think I'm transitional. (also - wow I don't know anything about design) My preferences are fairly neutral, although right now I'm obsessed with having upholstered chairs in colorful patterns to offset that. DH would like a very masculine decor, lots of dark heavy wood and leather. With maps and images of the compass rose inlaid into tables.

:rolleyes:

Mancave?
Yes, let him have that in a study, then you get to decorate the rest of the house! That is my philosophy!
 

Haven

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
Messages
13,166
Ohhhhh girl, I know what you're going through.

DH and I disagree on everything when it comes to decor and furnishings. Buying a house together was a practice in prolonged torture. (I think I started a PS thread titled something like "We are incompatible!" because really, we were.)

We do not share an aesthetic sense, and we definitely don't share priorities when it comes to purchasing furniture pieces. DH grew up in a family that owned furniture stores, which is a mixed blessing. He knows what a well-made piece of furniture looks like, and he therefore refuses to spend money on pieces that aren't well-made. He also has eight thousand considerations for how to protect and prolong each piece, and sometimes a tiny little element will be a deal-breaker for him.

ANYWAY, we ultimately usually end up getting whatever I think is best for the house, with the caveat that all furniture passes DH's inspection. I'll show him what I like, he'll say he doesn't like it, I'll bring it up casually in conversation over the next few weeks, and if he doesn't relent I'll show him something really hideous and structurally unsound and POOF! My original choice suddenly looks really good. :devil:

The only thing I haven't been able to coerce, I mean convince, DH into agreeing with me about are the paint colors for our walls. We've been planning to repaint since we moved in. Three years ago.
No worries. I'm slowly wearing him down. He'll come around eventually.
 

sillyberry

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haven, all I can think of right now is - COASTERS!!! :lol:

merilenda, I used to be a huge design-show addict, but they were crappy design shows and I haven't watched in years. (oh, Trading Spaces...the cause of many a late night). I really should DVR some!

diamondseeker, DH seems to think he gets a say. My mom is totally bewildered by that. "but..but...women decorate the houses and men smile and nod!"

hera, I'm definitely going to have to think more about your ideas. I could be okay with a leather sofa, as long as it was a tailored look and not that sloppy squishy leather that reeks "bachelor pad." That just won't work!
 

Haven

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Messages
13,166
:bigsmile: :lol:
Oh, man. He does has his bizarre quirks.
I'm impressed that you remembered that. My mom *just* gave him a just because gift of a set of coasters. :rodent:

Maybe you could start out by asking your DH if he'll just go with your ideas for one room and see how they work. I do this with DH when he's really resistant. He always relents in the end and says he really likes what I chose.
 

Maria D

Brilliant_Rock
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I talked my husband into painting the kitchen Granny Smith Apple Green (Glidden). He just finished painting it last weekend. He did an awesome job, as he always does. I'm rethinking my color choice. It looks cheery where the cabinets/countertops are. On the full wall it looks like Shrek. He liked a different green better. I should have compromised.

There, I feel better admitting this somewhere because I'm sure as hell not going to tell him!
 

princesss

Ideal_Rock
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Mar 18, 2007
Messages
8,035
Circe|1308105377|2946216 said:
Selkie|1308100593|2946129 said:
"My idea of nice decor is if a dragon had a bordello."
Ha! Love it. I'm picturing lots of red and black drapey things and ornate furnishings.

Houzz.com is great! Tons of ideas and photos that you can filter by style.
Yep. And gilt. Lots of gilt. Gilt, everywhere. It's like my genetic code is aware that, as a Jew, I should have lots of the homophone, but suffers dyslexia.

When I was poor and in grad school, I went through a phase of buying the cheapest possible furniture at flea markets, dragging it home, and painting it gold. It looked surprisingly respectable that way, but friends were afraid I'd gild the cat.

(I maintain she would have liked it - like a little statuette of Bast!)

Even more surprisingly, my husband discourages me from this habit. Pourquoi?
Circe. I choked on my tea reading this post. I feel like I need to print it out and save it somewhere for the days when things are really bad, because between your dyslexic Jewish gilt, the dragon bordello, and the cat....oh, the cat....I honestly don't think I could stay in a bad mood.
 

princesss

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Joined
Mar 18, 2007
Messages
8,035
Maria D|1308106618|2946234 said:
I talked my husband into painting the kitchen Granny Smith Apple Green (Glidden). He just finished painting it last weekend. He did an awesome job, as he always does. I'm rethinking my color choice. It looks cheery where the cabinets/countertops are. On the full wall it looks like Shrek. He liked a different green better. I should have compromised.

There, I feel better admitting this somewhere because I'm sure as hell not going to tell him!
Maria, my ex used to make fun of my paint choices all the time. What can I say? I like bright, cheerful colours. He would look pointedly at me anytime this commercial came on.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAxxv8JmI5c
 

packrat

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Joined
Dec 12, 2008
Messages
10,615
We kind of like the same things. We both like brown, both like wood. Medium-dark wood. When we first got married we did every room in a different shade of off white b/c that's how I grew up. And then I realized I have to have some color and it's been trial and error finding it-he makes comments about the walls closing in b/c there are so many paint layers and I give him the narrow eye..So the kitchen's been painted 5 soon to be 6 times in not quite 10 years pffft what?

He doesn't always trust what I ask for-like the burnt orange living room walls-but he shrugs and goes along w/it.

I told him he could have a room in the basement as his Man Room. I bought him a little rustic sign to hang up too, that says "JD'S MAN ROOM", and told him he could decorate it however he wanted. So, when we went to get paint, I tried to talk him out of the color he wanted b/c I knew it wasn't right. "It's MY ROOM!" says he. Whatever, paint that pastel orange push up sherbet on your man room walls, see if I care. He hated it. Now, the joke has become "You can decorate *your* man room however you want, so long as *I* like it." And that's how it is. He's lucky he made the brilliant decision to marry me-I like camouflage and decorating w/antlers, so it's best to let the wife decorate the man room.

SB, just start doing stuff and see what happens..talk w/an air of authority and knowledge, that works for me.
 

Hera

Ideal_Rock
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Messages
2,401
Sillyberry, I like your style, it must be be tailored! Here's one from Thomasville that you both might agree on because it's leather, tailored and transitional. The price is probably not that friendly though. As an alternative, you could also have a fabric sofa and the two side chairs in leather as well. Then you can hide the leather with pillows:)

HS704113_60907S_08.jpg
 

Maria D

Brilliant_Rock
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1,897
haha, thanks Princess -- I hadn't seen that commercial! I'm hoping the Shrek wall looks better after the shelves go back up.
 

lliang_chi

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Mar 13, 2008
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Haven, I have to ask since I know you're in Chicago-land, where does you DH approve of buying furniture. If it's not crazy, I might check it out.

Maria_D, Can you do the full wall in a complementing color so it's not so "shrek" like? Or add large artwork or something to break up the green?

Thanks,
LC
 

sillyberry

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oooh, me likee hera! That's exactly the type of sofa I would be up for!

::saves to inspiration folder::

(btw - I didn't thank you before - thank you!)
 

Haven

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Messages
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lliang_chi|1308108286|2946263 said:
Haven, I have to ask since I know you're in Chicago-land, where does you DH approve of buying furniture. If it's not crazy, I might check it out.

Maria_D, Can you do the full wall in a complementing color so it's not so "shrek" like? Or add large artwork or something to break up the green?

Thanks,
LC
Hmmm . . . the only stores I've been able to convince DH to buy from are Crate and Barrel and a few pieces from, believe it or not, World Market. Some of our Crate and Barrels pieces are what DH calls "temporary furniture" :cheeky: , but they're mine now! He does love our Big Sur dining room table and buffet and hutch from C & B. Those pieces are SOLID.

The World Market pieces are a very narrow foyer table (which DH reinforced with tiny wood pieces at various joints once we had it at home) and two sofa tables. Oh, and our awesome ottoman! He hated it, but I fell in love with it and basically told him we were buying the ottoman, no questions. He took all the feet off of it and reattached them as soon as he had it at home, and he put something inside each corner on the bottom of it, as well. He's so weird.

Our other pieces are things that DH ordered straight from manufacturers using his father's connections from the furniture store. I'll ask if he has any good recommendations for retail furniture stores, though, or good brand names. I know he usually says that you have to look at each individual piece and can't trust a line on the whole, anymore. He also says that you usually get what you pay for with furniture.

Seriously, though--who needs furniture that will last a lifetime? I plan on changing things up in a few years, anyway.

ETA: We are NOT big spenders, so we definitely don't buy pricey furniture! I guess you could say DH is doing the best he can with our budget.
 
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