Battle of the Sexes | Tips for Decorating with Your Spouse

Our guide will help you make sense of the Mars-Venus decorating dilemma once and for all.

Battle of the Sexes

Illustration by Shennen Bersani.

When it comes to decorating, guys and gals don't always see eye to eye. Simply put, women tend to be all about form, while men go for function. With such different perspectives, it may seem impossible to create spaces that appeal to both sexes. But there's a way to find a happy medium. Our guide will help you make sense of the Mars-Venus decorating dilemma once and for all. Simplicity is another theme men abide by. Contemporary furnishings with clean, straight lines coincide with a desire for uncluttered decor. Men may not understand their wives' need for so many accessories, but some are guilty of the same "collecting" crime — albeit in a different form. In lieu of pillows and other accents, men have treasures in the form of trophies, collectible sports figurines and shot glasses.

What Women Want

Sure, women value function, but aesthetics are far more important. While decorating style varies from woman to woman, color, pattern and detailing are usually of the utmost importance. And the more layers, the better! A couch covered with throw pillows is an ideal feminine retreat. Color is also crucial in female-oriented decor, and the color palette is often determined by the home's overall decorating style. For example, romantic pastels and floral patterns are ideal for an English country look, while bold terra cotta and rich burgundy may be better suited for an Italian villa theme.

The Art of Compromise

Every partnership has its share of give and take, and the decorating relationship is no different. If you want to create a setting that feels like home for both you and your spouse, you need to make compromises. If your husband acquiesces to displaying your vintage book collection in the bedroom, don't deny him the opportunity to show off his prized sports memorabilia on a shelf in the den.

Common Ground

Sure, opposites attract, but chances are you and your spouse wouldn't be married right now if you didn't have at least a few things in common. Use these shared interests to come up with decorating solutions that appeal to both of you. For example, if you both love to travel, consider infusing your decor with a globetrotting theme.

Stake Your Claim

While compromise is great in some situations, it's not always the best solution. Sometimes it's better just to divide and conquer and let each person have free rein over the decorating in certain rooms. To be fair, only claim rooms that are very important to you or ones you use the most. If there's a room both of you use equally, such as the great room, create "his" and "hers" areas so neither of you feels left out.