This may be a controversial post, but perhaps not. Regardless, I’m not here to be politically correct; I’m here to help you transform your home — for your sake AND your family’s! (And that, of course, could potentially include a male significant other!) So, here we go.
Here’s my take on home design AS a couple (I’ve been married to an opinionated man for 19 years!) or FOR a couple (my dozens of clients!):
On a few of occasions, I’ve had male clients who really had strong opinions about what they wanted. But most just want to make sure that we ladies don’t overlook them. 🙂 Men want to be heard and have input in the overall direction of their home’s feel & look, but for the most part, they don’t want to know about particulars per se …
… Until they DO …
… And then there is the potential for them to muck-up your design, if you haven’t properly prepared for their involvement. 🙂
Carrie Fisher: “Everybody thinks they have good taste and a sense of humor but they couldn’t possibly all have good taste AND a sense of humor.”
Best movie, ever. ANYWHO! To minimize the possibility of men mucking things up, here’s a little primer about how to decorate in a way that will make your man feel involved & considered while still ending up with a successful decorating transformation!
8 Dos & Don’ts to Secure Your Husband’s Decorating Blessing
1. DO show him inspiration images that ALREADY could work with your Forever Home style.
THEN ask for his thoughts about them. Ask him what he likes specifically about certain spaces, and what he doesn’t. You may find it’s the wall color, or the style of recliner, or a particular pattern that he’s averse to. He probably doesn’t know what he likes and doesn’t until he sees it, and he probably won’t think about how to verbalize it until you make him drill down a bit.
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2. DON’T say “pink.” Choose your words wisely. Semantics are KEY to getting him on board with certain things that may, at first blush, seem feminine. For example, almost every man who isn’t Southern hates the color “pink.” But “coral” or “salmon” don’t seem to create such feelings of repulsion! Same goes for “purple.” Use “eggplant,” “plum,” or “aubergine” for dark shades, and “lavender” for light shades of purple.
And don’t try to sell him on florals in your shared master bedroom! He doesn’t really want a bed of roses. But use the work “botanicals“….? That’s a winner every time! Botanicals are earthy, botanicals are outdoorsy! Most men will go for botanicals!!
Here’s a fun post from the past about rooms in “aubergine.”
3. DO recognize how he wants to FEEL in his favorite chair & on the TV sofa. Different seat depths, back heights, seat & back cushions all create different lounging experiences. You’ll have a better chance of selling him on that super funky accent chair you’re coveting if he knows he’ll have a comfortable place to sit elsewhere.
Need to know more about how measurements affect how upholstery “sits?” Check out this guide.
4. DON’T ask him one-off design decisions like, “what do you think of this rug?” You’re likely to get a negative. He may be reacting to the color, to the pattern, who knows what. If you want his buy-in, you gotta show him the WHOLE vision, how every piece works together and WHY. Pieces that may be more challenging for him to like solo will look great and make sense when alongside everything else!
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5. DO give him a couple options for certain design elements. (Psssst: give him options that already work with your plan!) For example, you might choose 2-3 different chandeliers that could be interchanged in your plan. Or sofa arms styles. Or art in the same color palette. Or coffee tables.
I gave MY handsome husband the choice of 3 chandeliers for the sitting area of our unfitted kitchen/converted porch. He chose the one that, in his own words, was the most “optimistic!” — like a dandelion our boys would make fly!
6. DO know his favorite colors & incorporate them. Let me guess — blue, beige, & gray. That’s what nearly EVERY man tells me. Fine. But guess what??? If I incorporate a lot of blue, I might be able to get some splashes of orange in there in small happy ways. Or purple. Or red.
See this room transformation for a couple with a color shy husband.
7. DON’T ask him to choose between specific shades of a color. Oh gosh, especially NOT WHITE!!! Did you know that men can see fewer shades of color than women can? I’ve always felt this, but it’s actually true!
My son loves to watch “Brain Games,” and in this quick Youtube video, Brain Games shows how men see fewer shades of color than women do. So, what lesson does that teach you? Yes, your man likes blue, but if you show him 6 shades of blue on a wall, he’s going to get frustrated and overwhelmed. YOU choose a color he likes in a shade that works with your plan (i.e. fabrics, art, etc.) … he’ll love it!
How many shades of red do YOU see? Now, ask your male S.O.
8. DO give him visuals. Men tend to have difficulty visualizing. Less-artistically inclined women have this problem, too, but it’s almost universal for men. This is where, if you come up with a great design plan, having a rendering artist from a place like Fiverr (or by hiring an interior designer that provides renderings!) can be very helpful.
See this post about how design renderings can help secure your man’s design blessing!
Here’s another post about how I used Fiverr to visualize our exterior paint job. We ended up choosing a completely different palette than I thought we would … and it was my husband’s favorite!
I’d love to know your thoughts about these practical “tips!” Yes, I’m speaking from my very general experience and not to every exception. But I’ve found that they work in 4 cases out of 5 to create a sense of understanding, excitement, and feeling “heard” for all involved! What do you think? Do YOU have any insights to share?
A pin to remember this post!
‘Til next time!
3 thoughts on “8 Practical Tips for Decorating Harmony in Your Marriage”
This is so helpful! I love that makeover with the TV space and built in…very inspiring
Thank you, Tracy! Glad to be of help! You can find a sneak peek of that project here.. It’s never been professionally photographed (not every project is), but my iPhone pics aren’t horrendous. We’re moving on to the kitchen!
This husband/decorating issue is definitely a sad spot in my life these last 10 years! We have a new home to fix up and I’m going to work at moodboards and pinboards that I can try to get him to weigh in on this time around. In the past he hasn’t wanted to participate in my decorating method, and resists the importance of a plan/big picture vision. Under the circumstances I’m not sure how to include him. Even though my style is simple and clean and calm, more masculine than feminine- neutrals and texture with a dash of blue, green, black, terra cotta, he has confessed under questioning that it feels like my house and not his. Couples therapy please!! If only there was a switch to turn him into one of those hubbys who just appreciates their wife’s amazing homemaking abilities 😀
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