When Styles Clash – Interior Design with Your Spouse

1) Image courtesy of:http://www.bradysantos.com
1) Image courtesy of:http://www.bradysantos.com
2) Image courtesy of: http:/a-touch-of-luxe.blogspot.com
2) Image courtesy of: http:/a-touch-of-luxe.blogspot.com

Something I hear very often from women is that they have such different taste in furniture and décor than their husbands. It usually goes something like this: “I want to decorate our living room in pastels and maple wood, but my husband who usually doesn’t even care about décor is firmly opposed to my plan. He is suggesting we get a big screen TV and black leather couches instead!”

I personally love big screen TV’s and leather couches (as long as they’re white), who doesn’t?! However, when you have a vision for a space in your home and your spouse has a completely different idea, whatever it is that they’re thinking will sound unappealing by default. How to resolve this common issue? Is there a way to “marry” both styles? YES, yes there is. But each situation is different.

Start by accepting that your home is neither a bachelor or bachelorette’s pad. You will have to make compromises in your décor, just like in every other aspect of life. Then make a list of the items that would go into each strategy, in order of importance. Find top-priority elements from both visions that work well together, and be open to giving up those things that are not as crucial to your vision.Like I mentioned before, each situation is different. Without analyzing your particular clash of styles dilemma, I can’t give more specific pointers than these. I can, however, share with you my own story of “clashing styles” and how I plan to resolve it.

My husband and I own a two-story house in the suburbs. The house is fairly new, we’re only the second owners. It has a double story foyer at the entry, stairs to the left next to the half bath and a hallway that leads into the main room. The main room is an open floor plan with the kitchen to the left, dining room in the middle and living room space to the right. There are double doors that lead to the backyard in the dining (middle of the main-room area) and both the living room space and the kitchen have a large window. It has tons of natural daylight, especially because Colorado has 300 days of sunshine!

I love my house. I love the kitchen with its granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and white/black cabinets. I love how the main floor is all one big open space. And I love the natural light that comes in every day. I love when rooms are very light, white walls; light colored wood, reflective surfaces (love anything that sparkles!).

White museum
3) MUSEUM. Image courtesy of: http://opentravel.com

My vision: Cold. Think a museum. White walls, white furniture, white dining room, delicately threaded white and silver throw pillows, chrome-finished light fixtures, crushed mirror tile by the fireplace, white window treatments and incandescent light bulbs (fluorescent light drives me crazy). And the space smells like clean cotton, or lavender at all times.

4) Image courtesy of: http://www.timberlineconstruction.com
4) STARBUCKS. Image courtesy of: http://www.timberlineconstruction.com

My husband’s vision: Warm. Think “Starbucks”. Solid, wide, dark wood leather furniture, warm-colored walls, stone by the fire place, art on the walls (preferably a large forest or an ocean). Bright red, lime green or cobalt blue-glass hanging pendants, the smell of coffee and fresh-baked pastries in the ambiance.

How to blend such different style preferences? Make a list. Pick the top items in your criteria. Check if they work together with your spouse’s top items, if yes—great!  If not, keep  moving down the list until you find elements that blend well with each other.

Our Solution: Adding pops of color in the kitchen, mostly lime green accessories. Then in the dining room area we will have our large, dark-wood table (this is a gorgeous Crate & Barrel table that my husband fell in love with about 9 years ago. After we got married it was the first piece of furniture we owned. It is big, bold and beautiful). The table takes over any room and makes it warmer and darker by default. Warm rooms are not my personal preference (as cold as that sounds), but that’s ok, because we’re engaging in compromise here. And the living room will feature my all-time favorite: white furniture.  The light fixtures we selected are chrome finish, and the hanging pendants are round globes made up of small crystals all held together by thin silver wire. Lastly, the fireplace will maintain its warm-colored tile (we’ve scratched the “crushed-mirror” idea). The result:  a main room that goes from cold+color  to warm to cold+warmth. Compromise.

basque-honey-104-dining-table CROPPED
5) Crate & Barrel “Basque Table”. Image courtesy of: http://www.crateandbarrel.com

As I’ve come to find out “clashing” styles is a very common occurrence. And it can actually look great. Pick up any design magazine and  look at ideas of how to blend different styles in the same space. Chances are that while browsing through those images you will recognize some of the elements you’ve imagined in your vision and also things that your spouse wants. Absorb all the visual data you can. Then embark in your own journey of marrying each of your styles into one big beautifully orchestrated “clash”!


Image sources:

1) http://www.bradysantos.com/cool-man-cave-designs-compiled-by-h-camille-smith/bagby-game-by-man-cave-design/

2) http://a-touch-of-luxe.blogspot.com/2011/03/dreamy-white-and-flowy-space.html

3) http://opentravel.com/blogs/the-mecca-for-porschephiles-stuttgart-porsche-museum/

4) http://www.timberlineconstruction.com/?t=1&DO=89&DI=4072&CAT=5201&format=xml&stylesheet=TL_Project&p=4757

5) http://www.crateandbarrel.com/basque-honey-104-dining-table/s180408


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