5 tips for his and her decorating

I received an email from good housekeeping! Now that is a joke, I am many things, but a housekeeper? A homemaker full of good intentions perhaps, a wannabe decorator for sure, but a housekeeper, let alone a good housekeeper?!.


My 5 best tips for his and her decorating from personal experience.


Turns out they actually did mean to email me and it was not some random mistake, like I first thought. They found an image of my bedroom on Pinterest and came over here to check it out. Turns out they actually read up on a lot of my posts because they did notice me mentioning that I try to keep the bedroom guy-friendly too. 

Guess they thought I succeeded because they want to use one of my images and quote me on ‘my compromises I made in my bedroom decorating”.


blue and white bedding and a vintage bedspread in a summer bedroom on Songbirdblog


That got me thinking. I have made it no secret that My Love and I don’t share the same preferences when it comes to decorating. He would love a stark, modern and slick home, while I love me some coastal cottage with a bit of industrial thrown in. He would go for black all the time, I am a white loving gal to the core.

But we make it work, and we both feel truly at home in our home. 

So am I compromising? And would that be a bad thing?


white and grey bedroom linens decorating


I don’t think I am compromising that much anymore. When we first got together many years ago, his opinion on all things house and home was set in stone. He had a previous relationship behind him and his new-found freedom had made him determined “to not let any woman tell him what to do anymore”. He had also started collecting his own furniture and art work that he loved and cherished. 

I went along with most of what he wanted, sort off. I had only just finished my PhD years so my decorating was still very much of the hand-me-downs and thrift store kind. I didn’t have many pieces that I loved so much that I insisted on keeping them when it came down to a choice of his and hers. Besides I was so madly in love with him I was fine with anything as long as he stayed with me forever….


bedroom decorations African juju hats neutral colors reclaimed wood headboard


I also think I hadn’t settled on my own taste yet. I remember my early days of blogging (a few years into our relationship), things were sort of becoming clear to me, but I’d still see a beautiful very romantic and frilly room that I loved and thought “I need ruffles in my life”, only to see a beautifully decorated modern-ish living room on the next blog that made me think “I should simplify and introduce more bold colors”. Whenever something was presented beautifully and tastefully I would love it and want it. It took time for me to find my true me.

But as I was discovering what I liked, it became also more and more clear that what I liked was definitely different from the decorating style of choice of my Love. And at the same time I became less willing to go along with his choices. Luckily by that time, my guy’s opinion wasn’t set in stone any longer either and he found middle ground too.

And that is where we are now. Solidly and very happily together on middle ground.


Ikea Hemnes mirror in bedroom with repurposed wood headboard and blue bedding 5



So what will I do to make my guy happy (when it comes to decorating).


My 5 tips for his and her decorating.


1 Keep it simple

Limit the number of decorative corners in the house and definitely limit the numbers of items displayed at any given time.

When you look at modern homes, they are always pretty bare. A few key pieces of art, a neat stack of books or a single flower or plant and that is it. I could never go that bare. I do love me some decorative displays, but I learned that I like them simple and easy too. So at any given time many items I truly love and like are not set out on display, but as I switch things around often, they all get to have their spot in the light.


bedroom decoratin with grey crochet bedspread via Songbirdblog



2. Limit your color choices, and never go too pastel.


My man loves bold colors. His orange chair and his colorful art work are testament to that. I kind of work around those, because I definitely hate bold colors, and orange is so not my thing (unless in the occasional flower bouquet). But since he can’t have his bold colors in combination with black, he has settled quite nicely for my love of neutrals with natural elements. In moderation and without too frilly designs, things like wicker, canvas and jute definitely can have a masculine vibe. And with my neutral and white background even an occasional bouquet of pale pink roses doesn’t send us overboard in too romantic territory.




3 Add decorating styles that bridge our preferences. 


Modern design these days incorporates a lot of industrial touches like cement floors and walls, repurposed wood, scaffolding pipes and big factory lamps. The design magazines are full of them and they do go very well with modern art and leather and chrome furniture. So in general My Love loves the industrial look. So do I, because that industrial look also goes well with my kind of coastal cottage, with my love of neutral tones and natural elements. So using some industrial ‘vibe’ in my decorating definitely is a bridge between ‘his’ and ‘her’. 


Fall Bedroom flowers nightstand


4 Leave out some of the things I would love (or stop wishing for them)


I would love to have soft fabric covered couches, a set up to hide the TV, homemade art work on the walls, color painted walls, lots of rugs and carpets (in fact the one rug we have is on its way out), 10 different thrifted chairs around the table, ruffles, lace, maybe even a deer head or some antlers on the wall and much more. I don’t have these things, or in extreme moderation or in a very particular spot. These things are all on the veto list (or I think they would be if I tried introducing them), and that veto list is sacred. We both have veto power and just knowing that you have it, makes us less inclined to actually use it.


5 Learn to live with some things and work on not hating them too much.


I have learned to live with chrome and leather, with bold colors, with modern art work and with all white walls everywhere. And you know what, there are worse things to live with. And sitting on my modern leather couch, underneath three brightly colored paintings, looking at a ridicously big TV that may not be hidden inside a cupboard and is standing underneath and besides more modern art work……. it is still totally worth it as long as my guy is sitting next to me. 

And I think / I hope he would say:
‘sitting on a white couch instead of a black one, suffocated by plaids and pillows, looking at Ikea Hack furniture with too much blue glass on top  in a living room with a giant milk painted hutch and a shelf that poses as a mantel, it is not my choice, but it is so worth it, as long as my gal is sitting next to me’.

I tell you we are a match made in heaven. 


bedroom nightstand with fresh garden roses vintage runner lampshade


So we have found middle ground, we have found a compromise that we both like. And our bedroom is testament to that. 


blue and white bedding and a vintage bedspread in a summer bedroom on Songbirdblog

This romantic crochet blanket was definitely too feminine for my man. I enjoyed it for a short time in our bedroom, caressed it many times up in my girly domain (my craft room) and recently send it on its way to a new home


The rustic reclaimed wood headboard sets the tone and gives it a masculine and rugged look, and it tones down my romantic pillows and blankets. The light, neutral colors I choose never get too overly feminine, even with a little vintage runner lampshade on my side of the bed. His side has an alarm clock and a chrome modern lamp with not much else. My side usually has some flowers and a candle too. The white wardrobe is neutral, and only when opened it reveals its romantic birdy interior (but also the TV so he can live with that). I have some rugs on my side of the bed, but he does not have to cross them when going to his side (no danger of slipping). And the curtains are not flowy sheer linen, but blackout thick just like he likes it. And when it is dark in that room, we meet in the middle……


Now it is your turn? Are you a good housekeeper? Do you compromise in decorating? Is there his and her decorating going on in your home? Could your guy live in my home? Could you?

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  1. Katrina Carroll says

    Can you please tell me where to get the gorgeous black metal bed & how to do the reclaimed wood background? I love this look & feel.
    Thanks (:

  2. says

    Your bedroom is really pretty in all of its various incarnations, Marianne. My husband and I both tend to like a vintage look, which goes with our house very well, but we sometimes butt heads on the specifics. It works for us to each have certain rooms or areas where we can each do what we like, decorate it the way we like, and then as you say, we are more willing to compromise on the rooms that we tend to share together. Those separately decorated rooms tend to be upstairs and not often on public display, so I figure if it makes him happy, and me happy, then that’s great.

  3. says

    My man is away at the moment so our bed linen has gone all pink and paisley. Usually though I would tone it down. We both love grey so it works well for us in the bedroom. And yes, we always want to meet in the middle. What would life be without middle meeting?

  4. Emilou says

    Hi Marianne, well I am a plaid lover of strong earthy tones. I move furniture around numerous times a year. I love American western art and have a lot on the walls. My old western saddle is in the living room!! No frilly curtains here and I don’t do good with lots of clutter (stuffities) as I am not crazy about dusting. . My guy enjoys the same color pallette that I do and is quite happy as long as I don’t move his chair. :-) Life is good.
    Blessings and smiles from you friend Emilou :-)

  5. Gwen says

    You ask, Could I live with your choices? I love all your choices for they represent a different “land” across the ocean, its decorated so Europen is how my friends would say. Very chic. Very unique. And exactly fits the house, the space and you. I was single, newly divorced when my hubby and I met and he questioned my two loves eat choices NOT set at a perfect right angle. More obtuse-like. I loved how my little house was coming together and there was such freedom not to answer to anyone!! I said, Just wait. I have a vision. Paint, accessories, pillows, lamp, ceiling fans and an entry way created by the placement of a small table and he came to me and said,”Forgive me. I do not have your vision. It looks perfect. “. I’ve changed things but he always says, You have the vision and our home feels so homey. I love our home. I love my office /guest room). You chose colors you knew I’d like. And I love it in here. So he has a room done in a deeper gold, but with engineering print of the Civil engineering firms drawing for the Brooklyn Bridge–a nod to his career–and a wall of photos and special things artfully displayed. We have learned to improvise but he’s finally begun to trust me more!! And we talk things over more now and seem to be on the same page 99% of the time too !! Nice spot to be!!!

  6. Kim says

    Thank you!!!!! You put into words exactly how my love and I have been trying to compromise. We are new, only 1 1/2 years in and he brought with him the previous relationship and the love of modern/metal/Asian while I am a costal, shabby chic, pink, ruffled and rosy type of girl.
    We are slowly combining the two into something we are comfy with, falling into the “as long as my love is beside me, I can tolerate it” mode. We also just purchased a quaint little cottage house that we will be making our own, starting at the front gate and white picket fence then slowly making it ours from top to bottom, wish us luck!!!

  7. says

    My husband & I worked out a beautiful arrangement many years ago; we are on opposite ends of the spectrum in almost every area you can think of, including decorating. It is this: I do all the shopping & choosing & all that and he doesn’t have to go (he hates it), and he never complains about what I do or choose (I hate that). I always invite his participation and if he should want to participate, he does. If you don’t participate, you got no right to complain. It does happen occaisonally that he’ll have an opinion or participate, but after 25 years – it’s just lovely.

  8. says

    I think you have blended your styles so well. My husband and I have a great arrangement. He doesn’t have very many strong preferences so I find it fairly easy to incorporate his few ‘must haves’. He doesn’t even notice, sometimes for a couple of months, if I have changed something so he said to me many years ago ‘just do what makes you happy – that makes me happy’. So, I can basically have it all how I like it but I still make an effort to incorporate things I think reflect him. He always says he loves how I make our house feel like home so it works for us!

  9. says

    Love this post Marianne!

    Yep, my husband and I also have different tastes. We’ve both had to learn to compromise along the way, and we’ve been able to do it for 22 years now, without kicking each other out of the house…so it can be done, LOL! It’s all about keeping the balance, right?

    I love the look of your home, and it’s nice to see that you can have a beautiful home and have certain design elements that you may not really like much and work around them. Your keeping it real, and that’s refreshing!


  10. Heather says

    I ADORE that blue crochet blanket, would be perfect in my spare room. Can you share where you got it?

  11. Stacey Lou says

    I love the Blue crochet blanket and also the grey crochet blanket in the 5th from the bottom picture, could you please share where they came from. I am a newlywed and we are just decorating or home together your blog has helped a lot. At the end of the day what matters most is who’s sitting next to me, not what I’m sitting on! Thank you for reminding me.

  12. Lacey Beckering says


    I am looking at the 3rd picture down of the gray and white bedding. Are you able to tell me where you go the gray shams and small pillow in front? Also, the quilt at the edge of the bed?

    Thanks so much!!!

  13. Nicole says

    I am in love with your bed frame! I have been looking for something just like that for our bedroom. Do you have any info on where I could find it?