How to make Interior Design Decisions with your Partner (or not)

Many couples fall out over money, amongst other things, but how many of us fall out with our partners over how to decorate, what interiors to buy and how to design our homes? Lots of men just aren’t interested in this sort of thing are they but some of us do have husbands who like to express an opinion when it comes to choosing paint colours and wallpaper. I’m one of them.

Just over 10 years ago my husband and I bought our first home together. We weren’t married then but had been living together in his old flat and were very excited to be finally buying our own, very grown up Victorian semi. As you might imagine, I was very much into how I wanted everything to look and had put together scrapbooks and mood boards for every room in the house. I was in interior design heaven. And actually, to be fair so was he. The time came to choose a new dining room table and chairs. I had this great idea of buying separately and mixing looks; a little bit of old with something very modern. The aim was to reflect the house; Victorian but with some very modern interiors. I ran the idea past John and he liked it. We chose the table finally at a local furniture store, and then we found some chairs on the high street. And this was the final result.

The solid wood table just before selling it on
Behind the Toddler, the modern style chairs

Now some years later, we were having a chat about how we come to decisions about the decor in the house and it transpired that neither he nor I were happy with the table and chairs. You see, we’d both compromised our ideas so much in order to please the other one and/or keep the peace, that neither of us really liked the end result. Ridiculous!

So how can we make decisions with our partners about how we decorate and design our homes? Well it depends on your setup really.

  1. You might be lucky enough to have a partner that doesn’t really care and gives you carte blanche to do whatever you like as long as you leave his precious hi fi system alone.
  2. Maybe your partner is the one who drives the design and style of your interiors and you are happy to let him.
  3. Or, as in our marriage, it is a joint effort. I can accept this (although my teeth are often gritted). It is their home after all, and they need to like the final look.

But, it’s definitely not all plain sailing and there are many huffs and puffs along the way when we decide to decorate a room. (Yes, they are mostly mine). Generally I come up with the ideas; I’m a trend follower so I’ll scour magazines for inspiration and then present them to him for his comments. Then it usually goes something like this:

Me: “Do you like this colour for the living room”

Him: “Not really”

Me: “This one?”

Him: “It’s ok”

Me: *sighs* ” Or this one then?”

Him: “That’s not bad”

Me: *defensively* “Could you live with this one or shall I go and find some others?”

Him: “Yes, what else have you got?”

Oh my goodness!! But, in respect of the relationship, and not wanting to end up with blood on the walls I’ll go and find further inspiration. We’ll finally find something we can both like. After the table and chairs debacle we’ve both promised to be honest about the decor so this is a painful process that we just have to endure. And it kind of works.

But I’m intrigued to find out how other people do it. Maybe I can improve our system, make it less painful, even painless. So please do tell me. How do you and your partner make the decorating decisions for your home? There has to be a better way than this!

I know, I know – today’s usual ‘Wallpaper Wednesday’ post will be back next week. I have something super lined up for next Wednesday as part of Jubilee week.

Jen Stanbrook
Jen Stanbrook

Jen is an award winning digital publisher and has been creating interiors and home decor content for over 10 years.
She has an insatiable love of home interiors, has worked with hundreds of brands, and currently supports many bloggers within the creative industries to share their expertise through writing.
She spends most of her time in her little garden office pod, has 2 daughters and 2 (fighting) cats.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram


  1. Maria
    May 9, 2012 / 9:48 am

    I am so glad you wrote this because we are going through this at the moment. We fit your third option and he has to have a say. Add to that the fact that he behaves exactly like your husband when I show him something I really like but also that he gets all offended when he shows me something I don’t like. How can I not like it?! Well, the same way he doesn’t like my ideas!

  2. Midlife Singlemum
    May 10, 2012 / 11:32 am

    I’d love to see a photo of your new dining table and chairs that you both like.

    • Jen
      May 10, 2012 / 5:42 pm

      Haha, yes it did cross my mind. Maybe there’s a whole other post lurking there šŸ™‚

  3. Catherine
    May 10, 2012 / 4:43 pm

    is blood on the walls not on trend?! i did enjoy this!

    • Jen
      May 10, 2012 / 5:40 pm

      It could be a very new trend couldn’t it. I suspect I may well kick start this one šŸ™‚ x

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