Lessons in Marriage: Decorating with a Boy

One of the hardest adjustments after getting married was decorating with a boy. It was hard because I honestly never considered it being an issue. I just assumed J would gladly give me full reigns and let me decorate however my heart desired. But as it turns out, apparently boys don’t like it when you call their stuff trash and refuse to use any of the boxes they brought on moving day?

Who would have thought.

I kind of wonder why no one else talks about this. They never discussed this in our marriage counseling. My girlfriends never complain about their husbands caring about decorating. My dad never gave a fuss about how my mom decorated. Was J different than most guys for wanting to keep his poster of the Hurricanes winning the Stanley Cup and displaying it proudly in our home?

I started to get jealous of wives whose husbands let them do whatever they wanted. Paint their bathroom pink. Add ruffles to every curtain. Hang pictures of flowers on the walls. So maybe that’s not my style, but by golly what if it was! Why can’t my husband not care about the decorating and be like those guys? (For the record, it’s dangerous talk when you start using the phrase “Why can’t my husband….” Don’t do it, ladies.)

Like all things in marriage, this area took some major communicating and compromise. I wouldn’t go so far as to say we’ve mastered it, but we certainly are way better than we used to be.

Here are a few tips that have helped us live in harmony at home:


1. Involve him in the process. When we started actually talking through it, turns out he has no problem with me being the sole decorator, he just didn’t want our home to look like he didn’t live there. A fair point. So whenever I have an idea of something new or different, I will tell him about it. Share what I’m thinking and cast my vision. Which brings me to…

2. Show him pictures. I like to text him pictures before I buy something, like this doormat I got the other day at Target. It’s always a little scary to press send and wait for the “go ahead!” or the “I don’t love it” text back, but it’s always worth it and has made this process much more… harmonious. Of course this does require being flexible if he really doesn’t like something, and that’s when you either have to let it go or convince him why this is something you really want (it’s not that expensive, or you’ve been eyeing it for months, etc.). Pictures also help with really big or crazy DIY projects. I want to paint our kitchen chairs multi-colored and our hutch white (or blue – I can’t decide!), so I show him these pictures:

Paint Chairs

1 // 2

He agreed I could do it when we have a house… but I’m still kind of hoping he’ll let me tackle these projects this summer. ;)

3. Agree we don’t live in a bachelor pad.  I’m a girl and I like things pretty. And I want our place to look grown up. He agrees, obviously, and actually has come to like my cheeky Anthropologie meets West Elm meets Crate and Barrel style. But he also isn’t ready to part with his sports posters and knick-nacks, so these are proudly displayed in our laundry room and closets until we can afford a house with a proper man cave.

4. Find things you both like. This Seinfeld poster is a good example. I saw this on a blog and thought it would be a great compromise of something he loves (Seinfeld) and a nice design I was okay hanging in our living room.

5. Pick your battles and be okay with a little guy stuff. What’s the point of having a picture-perfect home if both of you aren’t happy in it? Life is too short to be fighting over silly things… which is why we have bobble heads on the shelves above our TV. It takes a lot of willpower for me to keep them there (and not accidentally knock them over when I dust), but it’s a reminder that J is important to me and it’s okay if everything isn’t perfect.

Am I think only one who had an adjustment when it came to decorating? 
What do you do with the bachelor pad items he brought into the relationship?
How do you handle decorating with a boy?