Design Battle | How To Resolve Decor Disagreements

Five tips to help you bridge the gap between what you want and what your spouse wants, decor-wise.

design battle of the sexes: decorate with peace of mind in mind When it comes to tastes in home styling and decor, men and women's preferences may contrast as dramatically as war and peace. These tips will help guide you toward less of the former, and much more of the latter.

Research as a couple

Though scrap-booking might not grace your to-do list (especially male parties on the list), this information gathering activity might help jumpstart the vision you each have for your home decor.Perusing newspapers, magazines, stylebooks, catalogs, and friend’s homes for appealing furniture, fabrics and styles will develop your preferences and give you an idea as to how your unique visions can merge together. This also helps to maintain balance in the decorating relationship. Many couples have a decor-diva and a decor-dud – this often ends with an unharmonious household (in more ways than one).

Talk it out

This obvious but oft-overlooked activity establishes goals each person has for the project and sometimes reveals that a few goals are the same. Maybe you both envision a bar-style kitchen (it doesn’t matter that she wants it for the counter space and view of the living room and he wants it for the sports-bar atmosphere and convenience–you both end up getting what you want). Besides, realizing that your partner resents what you relish is a much worse conversation to have when you’re unloading the moving truck than when you’re still in the planning stages.

Choose your battles wisely

Most couples can’t agree on what television channel to watch, so it’s no surprise that picking a television cabinet (or any other piece of furniture) can sometimes lead to someone sleeping on the couch. Sometimes you have to relinquish control (of the remote or a certain part of the décor-decision making process). Just as you sometimes have to sit through that television show your spouse loves and you detest, allowing your partner to make executive decisions in different phases of the designing process may help strike a balance. Besides, you get next pick.

Compromise on everything (but your style)

If you only give the green light to pieces of décor you both only like you might end up with a house full of things neither one of you love. As the saying goes, “a good compromise leaves everyone unhappy.” That may work in politics, but it won’t in your living room.

Map out an action plan

Establish your budget. Decide which areas of your home and potential purchases are first in line for your dollar. Then plot out your shopping expedition. A survey by the American Furniture Manufacturers Association found 79% of women to classify shopping as their favorite activity. Contrast that with 74% of men in the survey stating they’d rather do anything else and you’ll see why an action plan (call it a “battle plan” to boost male morale) is necessary to make the activity as efficient and effective as possible. Oh yeah, and have fun. This is going to be your dream home.
LOG HOME DESIGN exclusive web feature: July 2007
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