Hubs Wants a Say In the Home Decor, Because It’s His Home Too?

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

Dear Laurel,

After two failed marriages, I finally found the love of my life. We married several years ago and are now living in a fabulous city in a cool modern apartment.

The home decor, however, has been somewhat of a challenge.

And while a happy pairing is a great blessing — consider that having a man in your life means living with his stuff. And if you’re into home decor like I am, some of it is not my cup of anything.

 

model of fenway park and antique brass candlesticks - home decor

The above image is what I’m talking about. Weirdness prevails!

 

This is home decor from an actual surface area in our apartment.

 

On the right we have a pair of tasteful antique candlesticks. To the left… an acrylic diorama of the Red Sox’s Fenway Park (World Series Winners!) WHICH LIGHTS UP. 

I mean, really, what would you rather illuminate your living room with? Candlelight or MLB memorabilia? PROMINENTLY DISPLAYED.

 

hmmmmmm… let me think.

 

My husband is so proud of himself that he added his own touch to our home decor.

 

However, Laurel, I don’t actually recall giving him permission to decorate our home. ;] And, then he muttered something about “I live here too.”

Yes, yes, of course he does, but does that mean that we have to live with this eyesore in our living room?

 

I often wonder, after reading your wonderful blog posts — do your readers have husbands?

 

And if so, how do they tame them compromise? Do the wives stuff their husbands under ottomans? How do you keep them from their worst decorating impulses? (Mine had a *wagon wheel coffee table* when I met him. No hipster irony. He *liked* it.)

Maybe you’ll consider a HOW DO I LIVE WITH THIS CRAP?! post.

Best,

Tracy

*********

Hi Guys! First of all, I have a monster cold that I definitely don’t need. (well, who does?) But I still need to create a blog post. Please don’t argue with me. Thank you. :]

Tracy is a real reader, and not only that, she’s the beautiful and extremely talented author of the amazing blog Chump Lady and a 5-star rated book, Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life.

Good times.

If you like my sense of humor, you’ll be doubled over even more so with Tracy’s telling-it-like-it-is, colorful writing style and no-nonsense advice for those who’ve been “chumped.” by their spouse.

And that’s all I have to say about that; except that Tracy’s beautiful love story gives me hope.

 

Here’s what I wrote back to Tracy:

 

Doesn’t he have a man-cave? Can’t you have the cleaning lady accidentally bust it? ;]

Yes, A good many of the women who read this blog do have husbands.

But, here’s another factoid that might surprise some of you.

 

Your husbands are reading this blog when you’re not looking.
(probably the same ones who are looking at you strangely when you laugh snort your coffee)

 

How do I know?

 

Well according to my boyfriend Google. (That’s us in bed with Pinterest and yes, that’s an image I created for the Six Figure Income Blogger 150 page Guide I created last year, And NO, that is not my body. Only my head with a lot of photo-shopping),

BUT, 18% of the blog readers are male. And that means that last year, (2018) there were 533,000 men who landed on this website! Holy Crap.

And, I don’t think that all of them are single. But, if you are… you know where to find me. ;] Man, I could start a dating service!

Actually, there are TONS of posts that talk about husbands and how to handle them partner with them when decorating. :]

 

Generally, my advice in regard to most things, not just home decor, is to keep it light-hearted.

 

AND MAKE MY CHOCOLATE CAKE!

Now, I would like to share my story regarding my wasband’s home decor and how I handled it.

 

Oh, you thought I was going to share something else?  Ummm… no. :]

When, I first met my wasband near the end of 1986, he lived in a very nice, albeit plain one-bedroom apartment in the Flat Iron District in NYC– uhhh… across the street from Resto Hardware. I talked briefly about it in this post.

Back in those days, just before I met him, I was still a struggling artist and my one-bedroom apartment on West 78th st had almost nothing in it. I had everything I could do to cough up the rent every month.

 

And while my then, boyfriend’s furniture was not my taste, it was a huge upgrade for me.

 

And, at the time, I was working in an art gallery in SoHo which sounds a lot better than it was. I hadn’t made the switch to interior design until 1988.

However, after we were married in the summer of ’88, and had a couple of semesters of interior design studies under my belt, one day I said:

“You know those brass urns from India, with the dried dust collectors?” Can we get rid of them? They really aren’t my thing. There was more, but I figured that I’d start small.

Vintage Brass urns on Etsy - home decor

They were something like this, but about double the size.

And, I guess while we were still living in New York City, it still felt like HIS apartment. And then, when we had a baby, in 1990, it became HIS apartment. Speaking of. The “baby” is coming by for dinner, a sleep and then leaving for a gig in the A.M. Well, better than nothing.

Over time, I was able to largely shift my wasband’s taste which wasn’t terrible, to begin with. Or else, he just went along with whatever I wanted. I’ll never know.

 

During my business years, I had numerous situations where the husband and wife didn’t agree, but more often than not, they either did agree or one of them was the dominant decision maker.

 

And it wasn’t always the wife. Nosiree! In fact, I would say that there were about dozen clients over the years where the husband was the one I saw for most appointments. In fact, there are a couple of clients where I NEVER saw the wife! He worked at home and she didn’t.

 

But, here’s my take on what to do when there’s a clash in the home decor department.

 

Start out like this:

Wife: DH I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that collection of bottle caps that you’ve collected in those huge glass jars? Is that something you’d like to keep?

 

DH: Hell YES, woman! I’ve been collecting those since I was nine! I once counted the bottle caps in one of the jars and there were 5,362 bottle caps. Don’t you dare get rid of them!

 

Wife: I see… Okay, honey.

Here’s what’s important.

Acknowledge his collection in a positive way and try to figure out if there’s a better place for the three jars than on the newly refurbished vintage Ming Coffee table in your beautifully decorated living room.

In other words, don’t try to take away from him, that which he loves. The bottle caps undoubtedly have sentimental value. But, you already know this.

 

However, if decorating is important to you, it’s one of those things that I’d talk about before getting married, just so that it’s clear that the wife makes all of the decorating decisions.

 

Really, you know that I’m joking. I am going to get skewered, I can just feel it. Please don’t. Having a cold is enough torture right now.

What about the typical “manly touchstones” when it comes to home decorating?

 

Well, you know there are at least 16 posts which discuss differing decorating opinions and some of them are so common to the point of being cliché.

 

barbara-purdy-design-wonderful-living-room-with-wood-stained-trim-photo-michael-graydon

Barbara Purdy

Working with Stained Wood Trim

 

apartment therapy Tem photography-white walls with wood strain color on trim

Apartment Therapy

Should You Paint The Stained Wood Trim?

 

library walls trim green blue

He Refuses to paint the blue painted trim

 

m woodruff designs living room with tall fireplace shiplap brick and wood

M Woodruff Designs

 

A Husband Who Loves Their Ugly Brick Fireplace (not that one)

 

Nancy Keyes paint stone fireplace mantel - home decor

Nancy Keyes on Instagram

 

He Loves The Ugly Stone Fireplace (not this one either)

 

16 fabulous recliner chairs that won

He NEEDS an obnoxious recliner. This post also shares some cool recliners.

 

big black sofa

 

The husband wants to keep his big black bachelor sofa (yes, this one)

 

Robin Bruce Madeline Sofa Spruce Green available - One Kings Lane

He needs a sofa in the living room that doubles as a bed.

 

Best sleeper sofas and daybeds

 

 

15 Classic - Comfy - Stylish Sectional Sofas

 

The need for a sectional sofa.

 

chippendale maybe matched dining room furnitureA Husband Fears Leaving His Comfort Zone and Needs To Hang on To that Matched Set of Dining Furniture

 

Rod Collins photo of Furlow Gatewood - wall mirrors fireplace mantel living room

He thinks that all wall mirrors are tacky   (one of my favorites)

 

Ben Pentreath Blue dining room - beautiful home decor

 

Ben Pentreath’s dining room in Dorset

 

A young couple discovers they have very different decorating styles

 

Country-Farmhouse-DIY-kitchen-storage-decor

A married couple who don’t see eye-to-eye on farmhouse style decor

 

via sfgirlbybay - photo - Lili Glass - colorful bedroom - home decor -contemporary design - white walls

sfgirlbybay – photo – Lili Glass

This husband is insisting that white walls are boring. They can be. But, not if done right.

 

 

Ralph Lauren dark living room black sofa - home decor

Ralph Lauren

 

And, this fun post where the husband likes light and bright and the wife wants everything to be dark and moody

 

What to do when your home decor styles clash

please pin me to pinterest

 

Okay, that should keep you busy for a while. haha!

xo,

 

 

PS: Please be sure to check out the newly updated hot sales!

 

5th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2018 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • Joy - January 28, 2019 - 2:20 PM

    I’m very grateful I married a man who doesn’t care about decor. In fact, when we were dating, he chalked up mega points when he said he was “waiting to let his future wife decorate his house.” Fortunately for me the only thing I have to decorate around, like many women after 50, is the bedside CPAP machine. 🙁 #forbetterorforworseReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 28, 2019 - 6:33 PM

      Hi Joy,

      You know how couples discuss how they feel about having children and things like that. Well, of course, the shop is closed for good here, but just substitute “having children” with “decorating the house.” hahaReplyCancel

  • Michelle - January 28, 2019 - 10:29 AM

    I forgot to mention (sorry about my second post here)…. a couple of weeks ago my DH & I were in an art gallery in New Orleans, disagreeing on an art purchase. The owner told us that we should take turns picking pieces of art. He said that taste changes over the years, and you would be surprised what we grow to love. He said that if we never agreed on something, our house would be full of Jazzfest posters and family photos. Wise words to live by, I think.ReplyCancel

  • Liz Cobb - January 28, 2019 - 3:18 AM

    This post and all the funny comments reminded me of the upside to divorce: Yay! No more dead animals hanging on my walls!ReplyCancel

  • Darlene - January 28, 2019 - 12:45 AM

    I love the big green velvet sofa you showed between husband wants to keep his old black one and husband needs a sofa that doubles as a day bed. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for but I couldn’t figure out where it was from by reading your related posts. Can you tell me the brand name and or who carries it please.
    I’m new to your site so maybe I just missed the info. Thanks.ReplyCancel

  • Margaret Vant Erve - January 27, 2019 - 10:37 PM

    You are making me cry I am laughing so hard. My husband came in to see what the heck I was going on about. The bottle caps!! That’s my husband, lol. OMG, the shit he has…… but we have a man cave and man is it full. It is however also our tv room so ironically today I actually went through some of his stuff: about 50 puzzle thingies that of course we can’t get rid of because in his old age he may not have mobility and what will he do! Then there is the laundry basket full of photographs that has been sitting there for 20 years. His son keeps giving him these sets of moving vehicles that comes in 1000 pieces that he carefully puts together and of course needs to display. Should I go on…. What the heck. He enjoys it and I don’t care when it’s in his cave but I draw the line at the remainder of the house. Thanks for the laugh.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 27, 2019 - 10:59 PM

      Hi Margaret,

      So glad that you’re laughing. You know, I made all of that up. Apparently, I was channeling something… hahaReplyCancel

  • sc - January 27, 2019 - 8:52 PM

    Life is too short to live in an ugly space.

    My hubs and I have a rule – we both have to like it. And if either of us hates it – then it has to go too. ( into his or my closet : )

    Our house is US. Neither lording it over.

    Which leaves a lot of room for what we both like. I’m the design nerd, but he has opinions. Over time – I’ve found he cares less than me. But he wants to be included/ heard/ weigh in. And now he just trusts me…

    I also find – men are happy when they have a couple of things that are theirs. I turned my beautiful vintage chinoiserie breakfront cabinet into a house for all his booze (instead of my china b/c he’s into mixology – and I’m into drinking what he mixes 😉 – and honestly it’s a showstopper. People love it. And it showcases one of his hobbies. He loves making drinks for guests.

    He also loves vinyl – so we have to hide wires (for me), but we have a gorgeous turntable that does get seen (for him).ReplyCancel

  • Pamela Bozanich - January 27, 2019 - 8:19 PM

    I often choose 3 samples I can live with and then let him pick one;
    that way, he feels like he chose it.
    Whenever he used to be gone for a while, I’d get the painter in, or the Goodwill out to pick up a sofa, and he wouldn’t notice for a while because he was glad to be home.
    But I’ve lost totally on the varnished oak furniture. We’ve lugged it around for years. I’m cremating him in his nasty oak roll-topped desk.ReplyCancel

  • Carol - January 27, 2019 - 7:01 PM

    The first decade or so that we were married, the old boy gave no indication of having any decorating taste at all, good or bad. Then we went to a furniture store to buy a new sofa, and after I homed in on a lovely, super comfortable one with cushions along the back, he announces, “I don’t like sitting on sofas with loose cushions.”

    So we ended up with a big, tight-back sofa. I bought a smaller, comfortable chair for myself. Guess how many times he has sat on that sofa in the last 30 years? You got it … never!

    At some point after that, I told him he can make all the decisions about which cars we buy, but he’s never going to have any further say in what goes into our home.

    That sofa was built like a tank; it would not die. Many slipcovers later, I tried to get rid of it when I wanted to put a pool table in our living room. The sofa wouldn’t fit in the dining room which I was setting up as a sitting area. I couldn’t even give the damn thing away so I dragged it onto the front porch, cut it in half and removed about 2-ft from the center. Closed up the ends, reupholstered it, and now it’s a 2-piece sectional love seat. Much cuter, but no more comfortable than it was as a sofa.

    Next time we move, what remains of it will go to the landfill and I will shop for new furniture alone.

    (Btw, I love having the pool table and use it every day.)ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 27, 2019 - 10:53 PM

      This is such a funny story. And I love that you have a pool table; not that I play pool. But I’ve had at least two clients that I can think of who had a pool table in their living room. At least it got used! But, their homes were lovely and they had plenty of other rooms to “live” in.ReplyCancel

  • Cyndia - January 27, 2019 - 5:07 PM

    My husband came to this marriage with almost nothing. His ex wife had either sold or destroyed all his possessions, (he calls it “destroyed in the great fire”) so I’ve always been very respectful of things he likes that I’m not keen on. For instance, he loves old laboratory glass. We’ve created an area in our breakfast room that includes old pharmaceutical and lab items (his dad was a pharmacist). I don’t love it but that’s ok. For the most part, our taste jives so I’m a very lucky girl.

    My son-in-law is a totally different story. I’m a decorator and when he and my daughter purchased his childhood home from his parents, they asked me to help them choose paint colors and decor. I’ve never come up against a man more definite on what he likes and doesn’t like in a home. He likes dark blue, gray, and black ONLY. We have managed to find compromises that work for both of them but it has been a challenge. I have learned that if one makes a suggestion and then steps back, he will mull it over, and eventually come around. Not on everything, but we have accomplished a great deal over the last couple of years. My daughter says that when she leaves town for work for a few days, she often comes back to find a lamp has disappeared, or a painting has been replaced. We just laugh, and I thank heavens I don’t live with him. He’s a wonderful husband and father, and my husband and I adore him.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 27, 2019 - 6:44 PM

      Hi Cyndia,

      Very interesting. But, it sounds like you’ve figured out how to deal with this.ReplyCancel

  • Morgana - January 27, 2019 - 4:48 PM

    Laurel, what timing!
    Oh this hits a sore spot!I quickly learned that if I ask my husband to share cost on an item, he picks it out. That’s why I have an ugly lazyboy recliner set crouched smack dab in the middle of my living room. It’s a bit like designing around a Stonehedge monolith.
    I can’t touch his man cave, which has been a real issue as our house is on the market to sell. The women roll their eyes, the men say “Yes! A kegerator and a pinball machine!”. And his collection of near junk that I don’t dare touch.
    And the house we are considering buying is a 1980’s fake tudor…the roof line is wrong for a Tudor and I can instantly see that with a shingle exterior and a new porch this house would be an instant coastal classic. But DH loves the awful Tudor beams! If we do end up with that house we will compromise. He’ll get the oak wood trim (everywhere!) to stay oak instead of painted white and I will get to redo the exterior. But I’ve learned that everything has to be negotiated up front before we invest or he’ll dig his heels in. So I have a few rules for dealing with his concept of decorating:

    1. Don’t share costs but accept a veto from him when I choose something. We’ve been negotiating over a white couch for 2 years.

    2. He must have a man cave or I will end up with a pool table in the dining room.

    3. Strategically arrange his collectable stuff (rocks) in cabinets because he just puts it anywhere.

    4. Everything must be negotiated up front before he settles into domestic bliss a.k.a. “It’s comfortable don’t change a thing”

    5. Get it in writing from the start what will be remodeled, from bathrooms to floors (stuck with carpet instead of hardwood and commercial tile ceiling in the downstairs because he likes it) before we EVER purchase or move.

    6. His super power is stubbornness. Plan ahead or face the inevitable consequences.

    7. There’s always going to be something he wants that I hate. Reserve the leopard print fainting couch as my ace to trade.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 27, 2019 - 6:40 PM

      Wise advice: everything has to be negotiated up front before we invest ReplyCancel

  • Donna - January 27, 2019 - 3:43 PM

    I’m sitting in my disaster of a family room realizing what a pushover I am. TV and stereo stuff rules this house. Shall I have a hissy fit about having to arrange furniture to accommodate the speakers, wires are festooned all over the family room and electronic stuff in every room? Hopefully he’ll clean up some of this stuff to get the house ready to sell sometime. He does have some good points and decorating is not our biggest problem. Guess I just need to find a contractor and designer with marriage counseling licenses.ReplyCancel

  • PFW - January 27, 2019 - 2:43 PM

    It’s always either trade offs or compromises when space is shared! Given that there isn’t a dedicated man cave, what about moving the candlesticks off and finding cool baseball memorabilia to place around Fenway? My thought is making a baseball vignette. Pick the items before telling him what you have in mind, so he doesn’t go get Chewbacca or something! Framed antique prints relating to baseball, a bowl or urn full of scuffed up baseballs, a ball vignette in a cloche? I’d set Fenway atop some hardcover baseball books and hide the cord.
    Another point. It can go the other way, too. If he is a Laurel reader and she is an ersatz, floral, bed in a bag girl, for instance. She might need her bit of floral somewhereReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 27, 2019 - 6:36 PM

      Those are some good ideas. Alas, we can’t see the rest of the space, so it’s difficult for me to say.ReplyCancel

  • Susie - January 27, 2019 - 2:32 PM

    Remember that old HGTV show “Designing for the Sexes?” That guy was great. Love the reference to the wagon wheel coffee table (“When Harry Met Sally”) . Also reminds me of what you do with the leg lamp (“Christmas Story”), accidentally knock it over and break it while you are watering the plants HA HA. I only have a cat, no husband. My cat Teddy is pretty laid back when it comes to how I decorate.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 27, 2019 - 6:34 PM

      Hi Susie,

      Yes, I used to watch that show. That was Michael Payne. What’s interesting, is that my clients for the most part agreed on most things. Actually, at least a third of the jobs, I didn’t hear boo from the husband. One, I can recall, I never even met him! But then, they got divorced about a year later.ReplyCancel

  • Megan - January 27, 2019 - 2:12 PM

    Spouse and I just bought a house that needs major renovations- a lot of these issues have come up.

    One thing that has worked very well for us is to turn a lot of memorabilia into Christmas (or other holiday) ornaments. His oversized belt buckle from a fab hiking trip went this way, as did a bunch of my running medals, some tacky key chains, weird bird sculptures, a moose diorama, etc. You get to look at it every year during the holidays and specifically remember the memories associated. Everything looks nice on a Christmas tree.

    Compromise is key. We’re mounting his cool agate slices over the fireplace; they are beautiful. The rest of his rocks (his mother apologizes to me about them every time I see her) are going in the corner of the office or out to the garage. He’s really happy that a subset of his things are in a place of prominence where he sees them all the time. Maybe we’ll rotate through his “collection” in the future 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Donna - January 27, 2019 - 1:43 PM

    My husband and I usually agree, but sometimes I have to give in a little to get something I want. Then I change it later! We’ve lived in our current home for one year. There was an ugly, brown, ceiling fan with a light above the kitchen table and it wasn’t even centered correctly. It didn’t bother him, though. One day we were furniture shopping and he found a chandelier he liked on clearance for an unbelievable price. He loved it and insisted on buying it. It’s nice, but it’s huge! The thing is almost as big as the kitchen table. It looks like a giant, black, eight-legged, spider is about to land on it. But, I was able to get rid of the ceiling fan and hire an electrician to center the light over the table. That light fixture won’t be there forever. 😊ReplyCancel

  • Kristin - January 27, 2019 - 1:17 PM

    My husband and I mostly get along pretty well on decor – our styles are a bit different, but we’ve navigated to a workable middle ground that combines modern for him and new traditional for me. We’re in the process of building a new house, however, and lights and plumbing fixtures may do us in. 🙂 Apparently my husband hates both chrome and polished nickel (polished anything, really). His first choice was matte black (too harsh for me) and I think (or perhaps thought) we’d settled on brushed brass as a compromise for plumbing (I mean, it’s ordered, so it’s what we’re getting). But now when I’m proposing light fixtures to coordinate with the already-ordered plumbing fixtures, he’s starting to rebel against brass, saying it gives him 80’s flashbacks and remind him too much of DT (a big insult in our left coast corner of the world :-). It’s an ongoing negotiation. My current plan is to just wear him down with endless options until he gets sick of looking at sconces and tells me to order whatever I want. (Just joking…mostly).

    Thanks for the great post, and best of luck beating your cold – my daughter and I woke up with one today, too, so I feel your pain.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 27, 2019 - 6:29 PM

      Hi Kristin,

      It’s tough when one has a very limited choice of options and now, he doesn’t like brass? What about bronze or antique gold or brass? Circa Lighting has some beautiful fixtures.ReplyCancel

      • Kristin - January 27, 2019 - 10:59 PM

        I LOVE Circa Lighting. We’re sourcing most of the lighting from there (though I’m drooling over an Arteriors fixture for the kitchen – if it fits in the budget).. I need to see if I can see the finishes in person to sell my husband on them.ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - January 27, 2019 - 11:08 PM

          I think that you might be able to get samples; not 100% sure about that. But their finishes are quite nice.ReplyCancel

  • Kirsten - January 27, 2019 - 12:43 PM

    One of the biggest differences between my husband and me is that even though is is a blokeish bloke, his decorating taste is more ‘feminine’ and mine is more ‘masculine’.

    He likes big blowsy florals and chintzes, I like plains, stripes and abstracts. He likes a cute cottagey look with lots of sentimental tchotchkes, I like minimalism spiced up with some statement pieces.

    He likes pale, soft colours, I like dark and vibrant colours. He wants everything antique, and hates modernism – and while I love antiques, I also love modernism.

    I find ways of incorporating his love of pattern with my aversion to flowery, by finding un-cutesy folk patterns (for example ikat, Indian block-print and Hungarian painting). He’s allowed to have as messy an office as he wants. He also trusts me to try things even if they sound crazy – just now he agreed to spend lots of money for me to paint our 1630s wooden beamed dining room ceiling, uh, gold (trust me, it looks way better than it sounds!)

    Best yet, we’ve found ways of merging our tastes – we can both appreciate Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts. And since we’ve been together, he is much more aware of design, and will point out things he thinks I’ll like, and when I ask his opinion, he comes up with ideas I like but wouldn’t have thought of myself.

    Having to adapt my preferences to add the cosy, comfortable touches he favours has improved the overall look of our home – on my own I really would buy a beautiful piece of furniture, even if it wasn’t comfortable, but thanks to him holding out for comfort, I’ve looked a bit harder to find a sofa that’s classic and comfy. I never will persuade him of the point of throw cushions, though, he just agrees to disagree on whether their existence is justified!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 27, 2019 - 6:24 PM

      Hi Kirsten,

      This is so funny, because one of the posts that I linked to was exactly this, the wife liked dark, more “masculine” decor and the husband, light, bright.

      One thing that you touched on which is something that I think applies to most people is that we only know what we know and especially when it comes to interiors. Most of us, unless we’re in the business haven’t been exposed to that much and I found over the years that it was a matter of educating my clients and once we got going, they expanded their views and ended up with something they never would have otherwise and were very happy with.ReplyCancel

  • Susie - January 27, 2019 - 12:12 PM

    I am very lucky that my husband likes almost everything I pick out. I came to the marriage with hand-me-down Henredon, he with big pufffy La-z Boy couches and recliners, and honey oak tables (all new) that his mom picked out for him. His had a matching set in their home. After a few years, I took him to a nice furniture store and he hasn’t looked back since. We still have a lot of the Henredon pieces. He does ask for a massage chair once in a while. 😉ReplyCancel

  • Marsha Stopa - January 27, 2019 - 11:51 AM

    Divorced for 25+ years this conversation is quite fascinating and illuminating because I see a pattern I’ve never seen before. Women decorate primarily for beauty – color, design, art, etc. Men decorate primarily for experience – physical comfort, memories of experiences, places and memories of the people they’ve had those experiences with. It’s kind of like collecting souvenirs from great vacations. There might be a way to find a happy medium if both spouses can recognize what’s important to the other. Or just keep them separate. Personally, I can see the glowing stadium incorporated into a busy bookcase where it cohabitates with a bunch of collectibles, photos and books. In a different context it could become a curiosity that fades in. Thanks for more real-life advice Laurel!ReplyCancel

  • Diane Tye - January 27, 2019 - 11:47 AM

    Love your site Laurel. Take care..drink a toddie with fresh orange juice .ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 27, 2019 - 6:15 PM

      Thank you for the advice Diane. I know that you mean well, but I don’t keep alcohol in my home, unless I receive it as a gift.ReplyCancel

      • patricia blaettler - January 28, 2019 - 10:26 AM

        Have you ever tried Cold-Eze lozenges? They are one of the few OTC products that really work. They cut the duration of any cold by half.ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - January 28, 2019 - 6:23 PM

          Hi Patricia,

          No, I haven’t heard of them. I have used Airborne in the past with the success, but didn’t have enough on hand.ReplyCancel

  • Cyndy - January 27, 2019 - 11:46 AM

    Dear Laurel,

    We (although happy where we are) are always looking on Zillow and going to open houses to move AGAIN! It seems every one has brown stained woodwork and kitchen cabinets, horrible windows, flooring , lighting, etc. I thought these UCK residences were common to our price range(below $400,000)in the midwest. Boy was I wrong.

    Found a website “McMansion Hell”and realized that even $1,000,000 and up abodes suffered the same fate. Actually, they are even worse because they are larger, and original owners wanted crazy roof lines with lots of silly dormers and arched windows everywhere. Not only are these houses void of any symmetry, they are just plain awful and they are rampant in this country.

    I like a good challenge and know we will eventually find one to
    put our stamp on. Your website gives me hope that there’s a solution to just about everything so we will keep on looking.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 27, 2019 - 6:08 PM

      Oh yes, there is a LOT of very expensive dreck out there! I will send positive thoughts that you find a nice home. If you don’t mind doing some work, you can always paint.ReplyCancel

  • ElleT - January 27, 2019 - 11:10 AM

    Er, those male readers of yours, that 18 percent? I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m willing to bet that lots of them are married to each other and not to your women readers. Just sayin’. And more power to them!ReplyCancel

  • Alisa - January 27, 2019 - 9:32 AM

    I would say 25% of the couples who hire me for design work do so because they are at an impasse on one of these husband/wife issues. If you can find a designer whose style you like, and it’s someone your spouse will trust, it can solve many of these problems. A designer has the training and language to explain why something will or will not work in a space, which usually makes sense even to the wagon-wheel-loving spouse.ReplyCancel

  • Lynn - January 27, 2019 - 9:22 AM

    I had a friend who was a phenomenal interior designer and he taught me every room needs something hideous….. otherwise your beautifully decorated home looks like a stage set or worse a show home. He always said homes are for living and there is nothing worse than not being able to relax in your own home. He would always take something like that Fenway Park number and find a place on a book shelf or coffee table and manage to make it look good. Obviously this only works with a limited number of objects; but it can make comprise a beautiful thing.ReplyCancel

    • Lorri - January 27, 2019 - 1:18 PM

      I agree with this advice. I loveeeeee beautiful things, but it’s too easy to create a space that doesn’t feel like you can live in it. No wonder Old Money people like to let their houses get a little shabby and worn around the edges.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 27, 2019 - 10:52 AM

      I love that, Lynn!ReplyCancel

  • Dana Mitchell - January 27, 2019 - 8:30 AM

    This made me laugh! Thanks! My husband bought an awful painting and I’m still thinking about where to put it. Thinking of making a gallery wall to help it blend in! I’m a decorator and I hear hilarious stories from colleagues (and I’ve seen my share as well). This is a real problem, people! Love your blog.ReplyCancel

    • Kristin - January 27, 2019 - 1:09 PM

      I feel like the gallery wall concept works for a variety of ugly but loved things. We have some of my husband’s on our well decorated and staged bookshelves. The overall look (what most people get) is nice, but he still has his things there, and they make a kind of fun surprise for those who actually look at the details. I could definitely see the light-up Fenway Park fitting acceptable well into an overall styled bookcase.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 27, 2019 - 10:46 AM

      Thanks so much Dana!ReplyCancel

  • Susan - January 27, 2019 - 8:20 AM

    My husband has been fairly amenable to my decisions regarding decor.
    But at the same time I try to be sensitive to his needs. When we met most of his things were salvation army and somewhere along the line they went missing in action.
    That he didn’t care about, But he did care about feeling claustrophobic.
    So I try to keep down the clutter and add more mirrors to reflect the outdoors.
    I think this site is PG, R at most…I keep him happy and he pretty much let’s me have free reign. Similarly as Laurel has bedded her lovers…see above photo.
    Feel better soon Laurel. I had the flu for six weeks, I feel for you sister.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 27, 2019 - 9:54 AM

      Ugh, so sorry you were sick! I did have my flu shot, but this is a pretty nasty bug. And, I have to be all well by Feb 16th because I’m going to Las Vegas for five days! Workation at the kitchen and bath show (KBIS).ReplyCancel

  • Mary - January 27, 2019 - 8:18 AM

    Let me know if you’ve received something from me.
    My tablet has been acting up & it may have sent my comment before I was finished.
    If you didn’t get it, I’ll send another one.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 27, 2019 - 9:49 AM

      I think that it’s all there. I know sometimes it’s not clear if the comments go through or not. But so far, I think that they all do.ReplyCancel

  • Gina Donza - January 27, 2019 - 8:14 AM

    Great post Laurel!!! Fortunately, I don’t have that problem but I feel for those who do. The links should help sort it out for some. Feel better soon!ReplyCancel

  • Mary - January 27, 2019 - 8:13 AM

    Good morning,Laurel.
    The articles about husbands wanting a say in how the house is decorated makes me appreciate my husband. He has gone along with everything I wanted…as long as it was affordable. Even in regard to his leather recliner. He didn’t insist on it. He “asked” for one. For a loooong time! I finally gave in because I wanted him to be happy.
    A very stylish friend of mine has a beautiful home with a big ugly recliner in her family room. As soon as you see it you know it’s his chair. Yet, your impression of the home is that it’s beautiful! Once I realized that, I told my husband he could get his recliner. And now I find myself sitting in it when he’s not home. It’s very comfortable!
    I better make my husband that chocolate cake. He’s a keeper.
    Get some rest, drink your fluids, & stay warm. Hopefully you’ll be up & around soon.ReplyCancel

  • Tracy - January 27, 2019 - 7:21 AM

    It’s me. Thank you for the blog post! I should point out I live in a 2-bedroom apartment, so no man cave — and all the Western art and detritus is in the guest bedroom/office. (Desert sunsets anyone? Framed picture of LBJ? Tobacco tins?) I should also say I LOVE my husband and all his quirk and he gives me free(ish) rein on decorating. The living/dining area are lovely — which is why the acrylic LIGHT UP diorama of Fenway park is so incongruent.

    Living with MLB memorabilia is a very small price to pay for a wonderful husband, so I should really shut up and not snark.

    And did I mention it LIGHTS UP?

    I will be living with it forever, however, because it was a present from his recently departed father — who mailed it *before he died*. And when we got back from the funeral — there it was.

    So, that diorama is a gift from beyond the grave and I must live by its phosphorescent glow always.

    Thank you for letting me kvetch a little.ReplyCancel

    • Lorri - January 27, 2019 - 1:21 PM

      Tracy, I think Fenway Park might blend in more if it was on a wood-tone or darker surface. It’s not my thing either, but it’s not that bad!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 27, 2019 - 9:45 AM

      Hi Tracy,

      First of all, thank you so much for your charming story and beautiful email last night. I’m under the weather, and my son blew in for a few hours. I love stories like that where you return from your dad’s funeral and waiting for you is a gift from him. Maybe that could be a business. A person has gifts read to go for their dear ones and upon their death, a company packs them up and sends them out to their recipients (with a return address from the deceased, of course).ReplyCancel

      • Lorri - January 27, 2019 - 1:15 PM

        My niece’s father died at only 59-years-old last year. One month before his death, he sent her a fancy computerized telescope with a pretty sort of burnt orange casing.

        She has a little room at the front of the house that’s used as a library, with bookshelves and a chaise lounge to read on. She keeps the telescope in there.

        It was such a perfect present to remember him by.ReplyCancel

  • Joni - January 27, 2019 - 7:19 AM

    This post made me laugh hard! My husband was Navy for thirty years so I was able to decorate solo all that time whenever we moved. Now he’s civilian and he wants to help! NOT SO FAST!!! Our solution: he has his very own Man Cave in which I do not enter. I understand that there are readers here who are husbands and are probably very talented. Mine, however, is not talented in that way. He wanted to put his authentic San Francisco Giants stadium seats in our living room next to our fireplace. I love those seats, but they are much better suited downstairs near the ping pong table.ReplyCancel

  • Colleen - January 27, 2019 - 6:48 AM

    Good morning Laurel…I think I likely had the same cold you have…Acquired it a few weeks before Xmas and just nicely got over it..(Although, I did do a lot of coughing last night for some reason?) Anyways…as for this lovely lady and her husband, well…I think she just needs to settle herself down, get off her high horse and compromise with the poor guy. Crap, I can’t imagine being that “nit picky” over something like that. “So what” if it doesn’t go with “her” decor or tastes…? He “does” live there too and hopefully contributes to the income..I think I can see why “two things” failed….sorry…😳ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 27, 2019 - 9:40 AM

      Hi Colleen,

      I hope that you realize that there is a strong element of tongue in cheek here. And yes, it is the juxtaposition of the traditional candlesticks with the stadium that’s odd. When I was married, my wasband used to say that I made all of the decisions, but he had veto power. That always made me smile. And 99% of the time, he went along with what I wanted, but just like a client, I would never make him have something he hated.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - January 27, 2019 - 5:59 AM

    What an awesome article, and thank you for introducing us to Tracy!

    I also am on my second husband, the love of my life, who brought with him a numbered set of pen and ink Highlander prints. Its a series of like 9!!!! From the first Highlander Movie. You know, “there can be only one”.

    Even his first wife wouldn’t let him hang them, and forgive me but she has awful taste. I’ve postponed hanging them. I don’t want to hurt his feelings. He is so kind.

    I finally discovered the secret to success. In our new house, I suggested he take the office, and its the best thing I ever did. He is so excited and making plans for lighting, dark and heavy furniture, his Highlander prints, and all those nick-nacks from Think Geek. I suggested he come up with a plan and he decided on steampunk. I am so happy that he is happy!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 27, 2019 - 9:34 AM

      Just wait until it’s finished and becomes the coolest room in the house!ReplyCancel

  • Parnassus - January 27, 2019 - 4:22 AM

    Laurel, You’re slipping! You didn’t give us the source link for the light-up stadium. Actually, when I fist glimpsed it, I thought it was a piece of modern tube-based audio equipment, a definite plus in any decor. (They’re made with clear covers like that–there is no sense in paying thousands for tubes and then hiding them in an opaque cabinet.)

    The best gifts-I-never-got-to-give were some original 1920’s blueprints of the old Cleveland Stadium. My father (who died quite a while ago), worked there as a boy selling ice cream. The Indians were his team, and he loved talking about the Stadium. He would have loved the blueprints. I doubt Tracy would have approved, but I think that framed architectural blueprints are a shade classier than resin-molded stadium models, but we’re still talking stadium territory.
    –Jim
    p.s. Just have Tracy come over and see my apartment, and she will run home and install a spotlight over her elegant stadium!
    p.p.s. When they finally get rid of those jars of bottle caps, please send them my way and they’ll get a good home.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 27, 2019 - 9:32 AM

      Hi Jim,

      Actually, I found out in a lovely email from Tracy last night that the stadium was a recent gift from her husband’s father who recently passed. So, now it’s all making perfect sense. I think that the stadium should be embraced as a family heirloom and actually, it’s the lovely brass candlesticks that need to find a new home.

      haha on the bottle caps.ReplyCancel

  • Emilie - January 27, 2019 - 3:51 AM

    I just have no care for some of my husband’s awful, terrible things. I push and push until he accepts that a certain thing must live in his office. I have even sold his sofa once when he was at work, and kept the other for the basement (compromise). But he had known of my hate on for those bulky brown sofas for years before. I do try to keep it fair by taking down the things that he also really hates or dislikes. Like a very sentimental painting that I inherited from my late mother, I have had to give it to my sister instead as my husband couldn’t stand looking at it! I guess what is fair is fair. But my opinion is the better one 😉 😉 Like the fact that the gorgeous 100 year old house that we just bought will keep its marble and millwork fireplaces, and we’ll get a generator, because the man wants to put a wood stove in the living room!!! Nope. In the basement it goes. I’m sorry that it won’t heat the whole house like that. There’s just some things that can’t be compromised on. I sound terrible, but I Just. Can’t. Do. Certain. Things.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 27, 2019 - 9:28 AM

      Hi Emilie,

      No, not terrible at all! Of course you must keep the original wood burning fireplace/marble/millwork in lieu of a wood stove in your gorgeous 100 year old home. It’s not like it’s a 100 year old log cabin!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Ross - January 27, 2019 - 2:59 AM

    Husband and I have both looked at your art wall posts. We both love the idea. However, I think he’s going to want family photos in the mix. I want ART.

    Where is best to put family photos? In the mix of the art? Or in a grouping elsewhere? I love these people, but I love art more.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 27, 2019 - 9:24 AM

      Hi Lisa,

      I prefer photos to be grouped together and not with the art, if they are family photos, I think the best place is in a more private part of the house, like a hallway, for instance. However, if the photos are professional and of an artistic nature, some of those could mix with art; particularly modern art, I think.ReplyCancel

  • Tina - January 27, 2019 - 12:51 AM

    The way I handle my husband . I gave him a room, the den that was his to decorate and the garage which was his man cave and the garden. Everything else I decorated. I was not allow to comment or touch anything in his area and i could decorate whatever i wanted in the rest of the house.
    Compromise and allowing hubby his own space., peace and harmony reigns. He had control of his area and was very happy with his recliner in his den and his baseball stuff.ReplyCancel

  • Runningonempty - January 27, 2019 - 12:44 AM

    Ok, if stuff is awful:
    You put it all in the spare room. He hangs in there. Fill the spaces you hang in with nice but man size comfortable stuff.
    Next. You’re pregnant or mother coming to stay while her ageing in place home is being built, or to help with your kids. Or you need a study to work from home. Sorry hon, the furniture in the den has to go, room has a whole new purpose. Negotiations start on what will fit elsewhere. Oh dear, it won’t physically fit there… Around 50% will be gone.

    Dont get rid of ALL his stuff. Resentment is bad in marriage. Plus some of it may come back into fashion. The 70s are coming back.

    CathReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 27, 2019 - 12:50 AM

      I agree Cath and also with the notion that most of us have too much stuff. Too easy to acquire. Far more difficult to divest of.ReplyCancel

      • Runningonempty - January 27, 2019 - 1:49 AM

        So true.

        Plus, I’m not afraid of your male readers 😉 By the time they swim here to Australia and back, the wife will have thrown out their stuff.ReplyCancel

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