Conversationality | Decorating with Men

Because I have thoughts that exceed what most of my posts cover, I want to introduce a new feature for Tuesdays where I can bring a variety of subjects to you…as a sort of conversation starter!  I have already started to enjoy the personal comments my readers leave me, and I want this to snowball that same way.  I definitely want you to feel like I am accessible and not just a spewer of content, so see this more as a correspondence (if there’s anything you want to see me address in the future, as always, feel free to contact me!).

To start things off, the topic  of home design doesn’t steer too far from previous posts–I guess as a way to not scare anybody away.  Emily Henderson read my mind when she posted this guide to decorating for you and your spouse.  I’ve encountered similar hiccups in the past few months, and it’s made me wonder–do you take your other half into account when decorating?  Do they even have an opinion about it?

Starting out, Ethan and I had an air mattress and my life savings.  And seeing as though neither of us had ever had full reign of decorating the places we lived in…it was going to be interesting.  Before setting out, I asked Ethan a lot of questions about his style and preferences; he stood by the notion that he didn’t care or even have one (very misleading).  When we were out in the various stores however, I could see how our priorities differed.  I certainly didn’t know how they could come together to actually furnish our place.

I hoped that Ethan would have an easier time defining his style than I do with mine.  I’m a bit of a basket-case in that way (oddly enough, shopping for furniture has helped me understand myself better!).  But as a quick illustration I’ll say that if it’s timeless or quirky I’m instantly in love.  Things with Asian, mid-century modern, and nautical design elements grab me as well.

Ethan, on the other-hand, is about comfort and texture.  He didn’t seem to care about a couch’s shape, but had to be able to scrunch down in a strange reclining position to see if it was comfortable.  He felt his way through headboard fabric swatches, not concerning himself with grade or color.  Ethan is also quite concerned with things matching, which has proved difficult whilst shopping for light fixtures.

Give and take has been the theme of decorating our first place.  The bedrooms above were a little experiment I conducted, where I showed Ethan rooms in my house magazines  (he told me what he did/didn’t like).  It’s a little intimidating deciphering what Ethan likes visually, but I did find out he a). can be very particular and b). doesn’t dissect design elements.  Immediate repulsion is his most prominent signifier.  And if there aren’t any signs of that, it can be assumed that (blank) is livable.  I, on the other hand, mull over all the aspects of a room/product, and slowly determine if it is something that I do or can like.   A potential problem area, as mentioned before, is that of lighting and future art arrangements.  Ethan has expressed great dislike in the trending gallery wall…a look I absolutely desire. I won’t let Ethan’s taste win every time, but I think it’s important to agree on the big things.

For us, home is sanctuary and I want Ethan to be just as happy as I am in the space.  Although I will always be the one to initiate a purchase, I regard his opinions highly and probably won’t buy anything he sneers at.  Do you and your other see eye-to-eye when shopping for the home?  Do you have a method for decorating your shared spaced?  What has caused your biggest dispute?

/ House Beautiful Jan 2012 / House Beautiful Sept 2012 /



  1. aaaahhhh men!!! My husband is similar….at first he said he didn’t care…and then he comes up with the most bizarre obsessions….things that he really focuses on that I think are unimportant….anyway it is an art to come to terms with the style of both. My husband has one room where he pretty much does what he wants in (the library) and I take care of the rest….His best contributions are in the functionality of spaces….I think this is his forte. I loved that Emily henderson post!

    1. Ooh, bizarre obsessions…that sounds intriguing!! =)

  2. mine normally likes whatever i do, which is good because i change it up all the time. that doesn’t mean i don’t ask his opinion though…i just don’t always listen! 😉

    1. Hehe, that’s incredible! I can’t wait to have enough stuff to do that =) Right now, we still just have the necessities.

  3. I love this post! Ross and I had a tough time meshing our styles (his was all comfort and wood, mine was much girlier) what’s funny is that we’ve really met in the middle with a mid century modern/fresh look that works for both of us.

    1. Love love love mid-century modern! I’d love to see your place =)

  4. Mary Ellen · · Reply

    Love this post!!!!!!

  5. Hip hip horray for this wonderful new feature–and such a great first topic! When John and I first moved in together, we literally had his bedroom and mine, but these days our styles have merged. Being able to live together with our own things actually made it easier to ultimately blend our belongings, but it ain’t easy! Our home now reflects our preppy/classic personal style, and feels more like home than it did when it was just my stuff or his!

    1. Ethan has no possessions to contribute…except maybe his acoustic guitar he left at home haha. Maybe when we get back to the lower 48, things from our past will come back into play =)

  6. Reading this makes me wish Evan was more like Ethan. I can never do anything to a room without Evan commenting on it. (usually negative). He just says he “doesn’t like it” or “it could be better” but he never says what he does like. gah! haha

    1. Haha, be careful what you wish for!! We would have bought a super firm bed if I hadn’t pulled Ethan’s opinion out of him…can you imagine our sleeping woes if he later told me he likes things more cushy? It is all about making him tell me BEFORE it’s paid for =P

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: