The very first piece of furniture Chris and I ever bought together was a large, off-white sectional. We walked into the store, saw it, sat on it and decided to buy it–it being the floor model because that’s all our still-in-college funds could afford. The sectional was huge, u-shaped, and our apartment was small. We still laugh over the fact that we never measured the couch before it was delivered and yet, it miraculously and barely fit in our living room. It filled the entire space but we loved that thing. We didn’t put much thought into decorating back then, especially our first small apartment. It wasn’t until we moved into our last house that Chris and I really had to start consciously working together to make decorating decisions and purchases.
|I was pretty chubby back then, FYI.|
Chris used to be 100% function. The furniture only had to be comfortable, and the flow only had to be convenient. I, on the other hand, used to lean heavily (very heavily, Chris would add) on style, adding furniture that complemented the aesthetic only. There was error in both of our ways. Things can look good and function well simultaneously, we’ve learned. So now how do decisions get made around here? It’s different for every space.
Let’s start with the kitchen–the kitchen is primarily Chris’s domain. He enjoys spending a lot of time cooking and experimenting with ingredients so it has to be a place that he is happy in. And honestly, he makes a lot of the decorating decisions that happen in there based on how he wants things to function. The open shelving in our last place was his idea. The touch faucet. The double oven. Even the hardware on the cabinets. I was rooting for knobs, but Chris prefers handles and I respected that it was more his domain so we went with handles and I’m so glad we did. It was the right choice. There’s trust going both ways. I trusted him with 2 different handles and he trusted me to paint the base cabinets navy blue–something that really didn’t change how the kitchen functioned but made a big difference for me. It worked
We have two living spaces. A more formal living room without a television and a family room that is used primarily and almost solely for watching TV (Guilty!). Chris gives me a little more free reign in the formal living room. As long as there is a good chair for him to sit in (the “his” chair
) he trusts my aesthetic and fortunately our style has evolved over the years and is pretty similar now. Furniture-wise, the seating doesn’t have to be as lounge-worthy as in the family room where an Office
marathon could happen any given night.
Decorating rooms, like the family room, probably take the most thought and coordination. It took us a couple years to finally find the perfect couch for us
. And in this home, we’ve already been talking for weeks about which wall the TV should go on–or should it be a projector screen? (Can you guess who is pushing that idea?) Of course we want our whole house to be comfortable and cozy, but the family room has to be the coziest, while not throwing all aesthetics to the wind. It can be a tricky balance of give and take, but our goals are the same and that’s a pretty good place to start.
Before we start tackling any room, we talk about what the goal is of the room. To prepare meals? To entertain? To sleep? To read? Most rooms have more than one objective, so we get those all out and start designing based on the needs. And we try to respect each other, all along the way. Just as I give Chris more control over decisions in the kitchen, he allows me to compose the formal living spaces. We each recognize that those areas are important to one another, and it helps us create spaces that work for our family.
Obviously it rarely goes off that smoothly. We have made many mistakes along the way, and there have been several lively debates. But we both know that we’re creating this space for us, and that makes it special. It’s okay if we have disagreements, because we both just want this to be the best home it can be. We discussed each space in detail before tackling it in our last house, and we’re excited to have a fresh start here.
How do you and your significant other make decorating decisions together? Are your styles similar or is it Battle Royale every time the renovation topic comes up? If you make all the choices, what do you think would happen if the other person designed one room on their own? Or if you hardly have any say, what would you like to see in your home?