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?!.
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” ( read my answer in my post about how and why I made a reclaimed wood headboard).
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?
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 newfound 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 artwork that he loved and cherished.
I went along with most of what he wanted, sort of. I had only just finished my Ph.D. 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…
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 the middle ground too.
And that is where we are now. Solidly and very happily together on middle ground.
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 number 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 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.
2. Limit your color choices, and never go too pastel.
My man loves bold colors. His orange chair and his colorful artwork are testaments 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 the 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’.
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 artwork 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 artwork 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 ridiculously big TV that may not be hidden inside a cupboard and is standing underneath and besides more modern artwork……. 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.
So we have found a middle ground, we have found a compromise that we both like. And our bedroom is a testament to that.
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?