I get random articles about decorating e-mailed to me on a weekly basis. They cover everything from giving your kitchen a makeover with paint in a weekend (amusing notion) to kitchen trends to the latest design house triumph. I usually just scan them briefly before they are deleted. I received one earlier this week that got me thinking… It was about decorating decisions and who makes them in the household. Is the decision-making split between spouses or does one or the other make the bulk of the decisions? The article asserted that 45% of couples make decorating decisions together. It didn’t further specify if that was referring to large decisions like renovations, installing flooring, etc., or smaller decisions like where to place a lamp or the number of pillows that are reasonable for a sofa.
So, let’s talk about it!
Who’s making the decorating decisions in your house?
In our house, I think it’s pretty clear that I make about 95% of the decorating decisions! I actually get asked about it quite a bit… “What does Jeff think about xyz?” “Does Jeff ever disagree with you about painting something?”
The fact is, Jeff doesn’t really care what I do as long as I respect a few requests.
1.) He doesn’t want a lot of decor on his nightstand or around his sink. He can handle a lamp and a stack of books on his nightstand, but if I start really decorating and arranging it, that’s over the line.
2.) Furniture has to pass his POJ (piece-of-junk) test. If it’s wobbly, gives someone splinters, can’t be used, etc. then it’s a piece of junk and cannot be in our house.
3.) I can’t paint the built-ins in the basement. You can see what they look like HERE. I’m still sore about this one. Although I haven’t waved the white flag, yet, I am resolved to not paint the built-ins as long as he’s instant about it. And alive…
Other than those requests, he pretty much gives me free rein. We make big-ticket renovations decisions together, although that has more to do with the budget than aesthetics. When we’re doing something like replacing flooring, counters or renovating a bathroom, I’ll show him my picks and just make sure he doesn’t have any objection. We’ll review the budget and make sure we’re on the same page.
He used to object and asked a lot more questions about what I was up to in the house, but after 20+ years of marriage, he’s learned that he usually loves the choices I make and trusts me to make timeless decisions.
While I drive the decorating aesthetic, I do keep those living in my house in mind. Free rein doesn’t mean I’m going to steamroll everyone else. I would make many decisions differently if I lived alone and it was 100% about my own preferences. As I’m decorating, I keep in mind how each room will be used and what will be not only beautiful, but also practical and comfortable. I try to strike that balance.
The boys also have full say over their rooms. I let them pick out the wall color, how to arrange the room, what furniture is used, etc. They both like more modern things, so their rooms are definitely a departure from my personal style. They did pick a deep blue for the walls, though, so that made me happy! I really would’ve painted them any color, but my love for blue has rubbed off on them. That being said, neither of them are all that interested in decorating. We’re just working on keeping rooms reasonably tidy and not smelling like feet.
I think having to compromise, even a little bit, forces me to be practical and get creative. I might not be able to paint the basement built-ins (yet), but I’ve found some beautiful inspiration for pairing a blue/gray wall color with dark built-ins. The room might end up being better for Jeff’s boundaries. I hope to work on the basement as my big project next summer.
So, how are decorating decisions made in your house? What would you do if you didn’t have to compromise?
Before I go, thank you to everyone who shopped my art sale last night. My apologies for all of the technical glitches. I was there watching it all happen and I know it must’ve been frustrating as a shopper. We will be fixing those issues for the next sale and, until then, I’ll be busy painting!