It has been months, possibly even years in the making. There was finding the perfect dress, securing the venue, going over the menu with the caterer, negotiating the DJ’s fee down to a somewhat more reasonable number, scheduling hair and makeup appointments—the list was never-ending. But now the big day has finally come. And somehow, after all the planning and the build-up and the flared tempers and maybe even a minor tantrum or two, you are going to come out of it married. However, amidst the chaos and excitement of wedding preparation, a few details can get lost in the shuffle—namely, anything that happens after the wedding. After the honeymoon, you’re going to need a place to come home to. You know, together. And if you’re not ready to make a few decorating compromises, things could get messy pretty quickly. So what’s the solution when it comes to creating a home both of you will love?
Simple. The wife wins. Suck it up, fellas.
Well, that’s the easy way, anyway. If you want a solution that leaves both of you happy, feel free to read on.
Consciously Coupling, Or How We Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Each Other’s Styles
Compromise is never an easy thing. You’ve been used to doing things your way for quite some time, and now someone else is going to have input. But it doesn’t have to be a struggle. In fact, throwing in some decorating compromises can be a great learning experience—one where you discover how liberating it can be to let go of old things and embrace new ideas.
Focus On Concepts Rather Than Details
Trying to plan your home decor together can be like navigating a minefield. You each have different styles and different ideas about what you’d like to see in your home, and settling on decorating compromises can be much harder than you would think. Rather than focus on specific colors and motifs you’d like to incorporate into your home decor, pull it back and decide how you want each room to feel instead. Should the living room be warm and cozy, or would you prefer sleek and contemporary? How about the bathroom: vibrant and lively or subtle and soothing? Walk through each room and discuss how you’d like it to feel. Once you have that pinned down, the details like color choice and furniture selection become much more manageable.
Remember, however, that you both have a vote. Before you start discussing how to decorate your shared space, come up with a list of things you absolutely cannot abide in your home, and make sure he does the same. Don’t compare lists yet; we’re trying to reduce the number of arguments here, not multiply them. As you walk through the house discussing the look and feel you’d like, mention any of the don’ts on your list as they come up. For instance, if he feels that his mounted ten-point buck head would be a great addition to the warm, nature-inspired feel you both agreed upon for the living room, and that same buck head just happens to be on your list, exercise your power of veto. Explain that you really don’t want a deceased animal staring at you—and possibly judging you—while you binge-watch the last three seasons of a show you’d rather not name. (Though you should word it a little differently to avoid an argument.) Just remember that he has the power of veto, too. Maybe he draws the line at having to sneak cookies out of a cow-shaped cookie jar that moos at him at one in the morning when he’s trying not to wake you. You both have your lines; respect each other’s opinions, but stand your ground on the things you really care about.
Claim One Room, Share All The Others
To make the transition easier, each of you should pick one room over which you have free rein—complete and total autonomy. Make sure it is not a room that would be considered a “common area.” It could be an office space or a spare room, or maybe even a garage or basement room. Each of you gets your own space with which you can do whatever you want. He gets his man cave (complete with the buck head), and you get your home office complete with dedicated scrapbooking station and lacy, gently wafting curtains. Keep the living room, kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms, and dining room as shared spaces with decorations and furnishings that evoke the feelings you both agreed upon.
When your decorating styles are completely, outlandishly, and even hilariously different, you may find yourself wondering how you two managed to fall in love in the first place. Just remember: opposites most definitely attract. With the right attitude—and a little bit of compromise, of course—they can even coexist in a single space.