Sharing the Decorating Without Destroying Your Relationship

Sharing the Decorating Without Destroying Your Relationship

Abby Stone
Feb 1, 2010

There's been a lot of moving going on amongst the LA team these past few weeks; Beth and Laure have both moved with their boyfriends, Laure to a new house and Beth for the first time. In our parents and grandparents generation, it was often the woman who took hold of the decorating reins. (Though, personally, in my home, my dad held them.) But now couples are co-decorating. Here are some tips we discovered on how to do it without destroying your relationship.

  • Talk before you buy: Discuss spaces you both find appealing whether you find them in magazines, restaurants, hotels or other people's homes (scroll through our house tours together to see what you like).
  • Set priorities: Agree, not just on a budget, but on what each room will be used for and how much money will be allocated to each item. Is it a great dining table? A comfy couch or a bitchin' home entertainment system (don't answer that). You can further divy up your space into joint, neutral and individual areas. Our bathroom, his den, the dining room.
  • Memories: The things you've bought together as a couple -- that shot glass collection from each of the 50 states, the rug you picked up in Morocco -- and that you love and enjoy should take precedence over any one else's idea of good taste. A commemorative plate from The Wilshire Ebell takes pride of place in the home of friends who got married there.
  • Divy up the tasks: Maybe one person leads the search for the couch while the other person's responsible for narrowing down the end table picks. He does the research on televisions; she makes the final choice as to which one will look best above the fireplace.
  • Mix and match: His mid-century modern desk with her Thonet chair; her Eileen Gray tables with his leather club chairs; his antique Chesterfield with her Eames Lounger and Ottoman. These seemingly disparate mixes can create some of the most exciting rooms. And, if you have enough space, let each person have one room they can decorate as they want.
  • Compromise on colour: Grey and green are considered the most gender neutral colours as are some shades of violet and blue. Dark rooms add a masculine note to feminine colours and patterns.

[image from Jonathan!'s Flickr, with a Creative Commons License, some rights reserved]

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