Today seems like a good day for a marriage counseling session. Right? Just kidding.
(I’m pretty sure the “which way does the toilet paper roll go?” argument happens on the regular at our house.)
I’ve gotten this one decorating-related question so many times before, “How can I convince my husband to let me _____?” And that blank could be anything from “paint our oak cabinets white” to “decorate with florals”.
But the thing is, I don’t ever make any big changes even to our own home without running it by Robert. Because how he feels in our house matters a lot to me, and I want him to feel comfortable. (I mean, it is his house too.) Just because I’m the one who gets decorating-happy doesn’t mean he should have to put up with things he doesn’t like. It just all happens with some compromise for us. Which brings me to…
How to decorate your house as a couple. It’s all about the balance, baby.
I know everyone’s styles are different; yours might not be the same as ours. And your main squeeze may be into more industrial modern than log cabin in the woods, or you prefer red velvet over vintage lace, but finding a balance between your two styles is what can make your home beautifully and uniquely you as a couple.
These are just a few tips that I find to be true for many couples’ styles 90% of the time.
Balance juxtaposition. If you don’t know what that is (because I’m a total English literature nut and geek out over the term “juxtapose”), it just means “two things being placed close together with contrasting effect.” In decorating, feminine and masculine colors, furnishings, and accents.
4 Tips To Decorate Your House As A Couple:
1. Balance light and dark paint colors.
When choosing colors for a room, I love light and airy spaces with plenty of white. But Robert loves darks.
It’s a very feminine / masculine contrast, but together they can make a space feel just right.
(Paint Colors: Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee and Wrought Iron. More info and sources about our living room here.)
(Paint colors: Sherwin Williams Slate Tile and Benjamin Moore Simply White. More info and sources about our laundry room here.)
2. Balance curves and straight lines in furnishings.
When Robert and I found this bed, it was the best marriage decorating compromise. Because it had that feminine curvy shape in the headboard with the masculine accent of nail head trim. (And the softness of the upholstery coupled with the roughness of the wood complimented each other beautifully.)
And opposite from this curvy bed is this dresser with very straight lines (but that arched mirror and flowers help soften it).
(Paint colors: Benjamin Moore Moonshine and Wrought Iron. More info and sources about our master bedroom here.)
Look for furnishings that have that same balance. Maybe a scalloped table with a raw zinc finish or an industrial wrought iron chandelier with delicate glass accents.
(More info and sources about this bathroom makeover here.)
3. Balance feminine and masculine textures.
I love contrasting masculine and feminine decor with accents. Just categorize textures by “soft” and “hard” or “shiny” and “matte”. Like on a shelf, place a set of rough leather bound books with a vase of fresh flowers. Or on a tabletop, put a concrete statuette beside a shimmering mercury glass lamp. Whatever soft or shiny accent you choose to decorate with, pair it with something hard or matte.
(More info and sources about our foyer here.)
4. Balance stripes and geometrics with floral and lace textiles.
A way to use floral and lace fabrics or a rug in a room without making it feel too frilly is to introduce a geometric or stripe print in pillows or draperies. It’s a great way to make a master bedroom feel cohesive.
In this guest bedroom, the striped throw pillows on the bed are meant to balance out the floral-like rug.
(Paint Color: Behr Seagull Gray. More info and sources about this guest bedroom here.)
Just to prove the former high school teacher still inside of me is sometimes dying to get out, here’s a quick cheat sheet to make the decorating balancing act a bit simpler. If you incorporate a couple of things from each side, you’re bound to have a space that makes you both feel like it’s an expression of you.
Oh, and if you’re still fighting over whether or not to paint your kitchen cabinets white, maybe consider incorporating a rough reclaimed wood island or more masculine concrete countertops or industrial lighting. You think that will win the argument? Throw in an element that will add some texture and see what happens.
(Paint colors: Benjamin Moore Simply White and Sherwin Williams Perfect Greige. More info and sources about this kitchen makeover here.)
And if the wood cabinets stay, maybe find a way to soften the rest of the space. A pastel blue subway tile backsplash? A white marble-look granite countertop to brighten the kitchen? A painted island instead?
Compromise is so worth it. And in the end, maybe you’ll discover an entirely new style that you never knew you loved.