House For Six

Decorating For Opposite Tastes: Communication

Deme Crinion1 Comment
Yesterday we kicked off a new series Designing For Opposites Tastes!  We laid out the ground rules and shared a bit of our opposites attract home was a sordid tale of taxidermy and floral throw pillows, but the key is we survived.  And along the way, we finally managed to blend our very different tastes into a style that suits both of us.   

Today, we're shifting it back over to you!  Communication really is the name of the game, and it's where a lot of us can get stuck before we ever get started.  So, who's excited to talk about talking??  All the ladies are probably nodding their heads.

We're not going to get very far in creating a home that feels jointly "us" unless we can effectively get our ideas across.  Especially when we're speaking two different design languages.  So, done are the days of vetoing an idea with no explanation "I don't like that" and offering helpful suggestions like "Ugh.  I hate our house"

So let's quick recap our rulesBe kind, Be honest, Be hopeful

Now, grab your partner in crime and something to take a few notes.  If you have busy schedules and need to make a date for this little pow pow, then by all means do!  The fewer distractions the better. 

When people are stuck with the design of their home or can't agree on how to decorate, it's easy  to default to trying to categorize your style.  Well, I like industrial farmhouse and he likes contemporary.  The problem is that most of us don't fall into one specific, predetermined style.  There may be one we're drawn to more than the others but we can trap ourselves by not venturing out of our predetermined "design style".

So, the first question I want you to ask yourselves is not "how do I want our home to look?" or "what style do I want our home to be?"...but, "how do I want our home to feel?".  

Write down a few words (3-5)  for each of you on your paper.  A few examples might be airy...welcoming...cheerful...cozy...moody...bold...unique...calming...edgy....collected over time...

If it helps to write them down on a separate piece of paper from each other, go for it.  Do your best to choose words that truly represent what YOU want your home to be.  Not what you think your partner might want.

Compare your words, but don't freak out if you don't have a single match. We'll come back to this later.  And if you do have a few common words, then that totally rates an obligatory high five or happy dance.

Next, you're going to write down the things in your home that you DO like.  Be as specific as possible.

Oh you like the couch...what do you like about it?  the color....the shape...the size...the material....the feel?

This can also be broader than a piece of furniture or object...

You really like that corner of the room....why?  Do you like the light that comes through the window there?    Do you envision it being used in some creative way? Do you like the furniture arrangement?  A piece of art because of the sentimental value?

For every thing you write down, force yourselves to specifically name what you like about it. 

If you disagree, (say one of you loves the recliner and the other person hates it) write it down on the "like" list with the person's initial next to it and then you'll repeat it for the step below.

Next, do the same exercise for the things about your home that you DON'T like or are NOT working.  Be as specific as possible.

You hate the it the pattern?  the color?  the length?

You despise the furniture layout....why?  do you trip over that dang ottoman every time you come around the corner?  does it make the room feel closed off?  is it difficult to have a conversation?

She hates the wall it too light?  too dark?  the wrong shade or just a color she really doesn't like?   Or maybe you just don't like how a room feels - too crowded...too blah....too dark.

For every thing you write down, force yourselves to specifically name what irks you about it.  And no judgement on the other party here!

James has this thing about color.  Or rather "non-colors".  I picked what I thought was the perfect shade for the family room - a blueish-green with grey under tones.  

His response...."Like it?  Not at all.  I like a color....What is this?  Is it blue?  Is it green? Is it grey?"  Me...."Exactly!  It's the perfect neutral!"   But he did not see the genius of such a shade.  He is particularly against teal (stab to my heart!).  So, I pushed him to clarify.  

Turns out he would never like teal, particularly lighter shades of aqua, on the walls.  But he doesn't mind it as a subtle accent here and there.  Teal and aqua are two of my color loves, so I try to respect his disdain for them (even though just between us, we can admit that hating on those colors is crazy talk) and reserve those colors for the areas of the house that are more my zones.  Like my workspace and closet.

This conversation was just a couple weeks ago, so clearly we're a work in progress!  Pushing the conversation to get more specific helped us arrive at a much better understanding and identify how we could possibly compromise.   

It also helps to have him show me a picture of something and vice versa.  He says "teal" and a specific color comes to my mind, but it may not be the same shade he's envisioning.  I had the paint deck out as we were talking and had him show me teal and other shades that really rubbed him the wrong way.   Pinterest and browsing websites or magazines for images are another great way to show your other half an example of what you have in mind for an area of your home.

Tomorrow we'll talk about how to start taking all this good stuff on your paper and start applying it to your home!  Don't worry if the outlook on paper seems dim.  We'll get there!

This is Part 2 in the Designing For Opposite Tastes series.  Catch Part 1: Intro & Our Story right here!

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to keep in touch!