So, your husband thinks he has an opinion about the aesthetic direction of your house. Aw. That is so adorable.
And totally stupid.
In 6 years of doing this job, and almost 10 years of being married- I have encountered 2 men that had awesome taste, good decor instincts and a genuine sense of style.
(Hi Ryan! Hi Brad!)
Notice that both of these men are not my own husband.
Concurrently, I have met DOZENS of wives that allow and even (gasp!) encourage their husbands ill fated opinion in the decor process. "Dave really hates wallpaper." Or "I would paint the trim, but Mike would KILL me." Are the types of comments I deal with all the time and they are also the sad hallmark of a project that will at best, yield a C+ result.
If this is you... Girl. Stop.
Most husbands almost exclusively operate from three agendas: Cost, Function and Ego (I.E. they want a house that impresses their friends) and while I AGREE that cost and function (and even ego- I am all about impressing people) are PARAMOUNT concerns, they are not the ONLY concerns. What about Beauty? Personality, ambiance, light, color? WHAT ABOUT STYLE?!?! Husbands rarely consider STYLE. Think about it like this: Fashion also involves a good amount of style right? Would you let your husband dress you everyday? Choose not only your outfit, but your shoes and accessories as well? If you did, would you look even REMOTELY like yourself? Now, let him do your hair and makeup. How would that go? Would you EVER do that? I doubt it. If Iet my husband style me I would look like a drunk prostitute clown who exclusively shops on Amazon- and while that might be hilarious for a day- it is not how I want to present myself to the world. It takes us ladies years to figure out what looks good on us, what we like and what works. And we are constantly evolving. Home Decor is the same.
Look, I get it. Spending money is scary. A lot of my clients are newly married- they haven't learned to trust each other's spending habits yet. I've been there! Mark used to be TERRIFIED that I would bankrupt our household. TERRIFIED. And guess what? I don't blame him. I am literally like a wind up doll that lists things I want to buy CONSTANTLY. It took him years to realize wanting things and buying things are two different actions. In a lot of ways, I am cheaper than he is. Okay, no I'm not. But I am trustworthy. I don't make impulse buys on big stuff, and I always have a plan.
I know this sounds sexist. And old fashioned. If you are reading this and thinking, "OMG. Ian has great taste and his decor and spending choices are PERFECT! And he never polices my spending!" Then you can stop reading. This blog is not for you. In fact, stop reading now and go give your husband a blowie, because you are a lucky girl who is married to a unicorn. But if Craig really wants a sectional the size of Iceland and he doesn't want to talk about Mirrors without turning into Napolean Dynamite. Hear me now.
He doesn't get a vote.
"That's so mean!" You cry. "It's his house too!!!" I know, I know! We aren't going to FORGET about him. I would be a real s**t designer if I did your whole house in super feminine ruffles and crystal. I am hear to represent you BOTH. I am all about BALANCE. But here is the thing. Your husband is a good guy, he is not a tyrant- but he doesn't know what he is talking about. Just because he enjoys HGTV and fancies himself a bargain shopper does not qualify him as a Interior Stylist. So let's leave him out of it.
There are plenty of things you feel comfortable buying without consulting him right? Bras, Tampons, Christmas Cards, shampoo, shoes, your mom's birthday present, HIS mom's birthday present... you don't stop to consult him every time you consider a new conditioner do you? Because that is Lady Business and he doesn't care. And he is the same. Does he ask you which seats he should just buy when he goes to sportsball game? If the Fantasy Football league buy in is reasonable to you, and what players he should choose at the draft? What kind of grill you should get, or what kind of razors he should buy? No. He doesn't. Because who the f**k cares? Those are Dude Things. And the house, 99% of the time, is Lady Business.
Asking your husband to help decorate is like tasking your 5 year old with the planning of your parents retirement party. There might be some cute moments, but overall it's a shit show and everyone is bound to leave confused and crying. Letting him steer the style ship isn't good for anyone. When this happens to me I always feel sinking dread. I know HOW to give you the home you want, but your husband won't let me. Your husband will be miserable because money is being spent and you still aren't happy. And YOU will be pissed- knowing that you have to argue with him all the time, fight for every little morsel of style you can...only to have a home that looks half as good as it could, and not like you hired a stylist at all. It's a Lose Lose Lose situation. And it breaks my heart knowing what could've been. Sigh.
My favorite husband's are the ones who understand they don't know anything about Style, but want their wives to be happy. The one's who tell me what their concerns are, what they envision for their home, and then BACK OFF, trusting that I have their back. BECAUSE I DO. I want them to LOVE THEIR HOME. It takes trust. (And when the husband doesn't trust his wife- there is no way he is going to trust me.) I have worked with plenty of really sweet couples where the husband politely sits at our meetings, looking a little out of his element- but he is open to the experience as a whole. I LOVE THESE COUPLES. I just wish I had more of them. So if your husband is being difficult- here are some tips:
1) Use metaphors. Think of something he spends money on, that is important to him, that he doesn't consult you about. It can be his car, his Fantasy Football League, his Gaming System, his tech stuff- whatever. Now ask him how he would feel if you took it over from now on. When he looks like an owl that is about to throw up- tell him now he knows how you feel when he get's involved in the decor process.
2) Determine a budget and assure him that you won't go over it. And then Don't Go Over It. In fact- come in under budget. That will reassure him that you are not a crazy spendy psycho and allow you to style your whole house in stages. If you declare a 5K budget for the living room- and then go over it- there goes your master bedroom, dining room etc. He won't have faith in your spending, and you will have an unfinished space. I have had certain lady clients who start with an agreed upon budget, and then when the husband isn't looking- choose items that exceed that budget. And then blame it on me. This might feel like it is a good plan in the moment, but trust me- it's not. You need to build Spending TRUST. Don't be shady.
3) Stop complaining and make a plan. When women complain, men want to fix it. It's in their nature. When you march around talking about how the house isn't right, and how much you hate the paint color, or the furniture- you are asking him to fix a problem he doesn't have the skill set to fix. This will result in the two of you spending a lot of sad weekends at Home Depot, making bad decisions, which will make him resentful and you super frustrated. Offer solutions. Call a interior designer, or stylist. Come to him with a plan. I personally got into this business to show people with ALL budgets that they can have the home they always wanted. I charge the same as a handyman and get discounts on everything! If you are in Chicago, call me! If your aren't- find a decorator you vibe with and give them a call. It doesn't have to be a luxury service for the super wealthy. Invite him into the DECISION to hire someone- but not the process. Say things like, " I know this isn't a big deal to you, but it's a really big deal to me. I know the answer is to hire someone to help- so let's talk about a budget and I will take it from there."
4) Grow some balls. The hard truth is you care more about this than he does. And if your husband is really tough-you are going to have to stand up for what you want. Odds are, he is not ever going to care about duvets, and mirrors, and rugs as much as you do. But that doesn't mean it's not important. This is your HOME. You should feel peace, and happiness when you are there. Let him know it's important to you, and if he doesn't get it- THAN MOVE FORWARD ANYWAY. He will come around when he see how much you love the changes. Don't be bullied, don't be manipulative- be honest. If he doesn't think you can afford it right now, than discuss what it would look like to start putting a little money away each month so that you can do it eventually. Don't give up. Don't let someone who doesn't care about decor make your decor decisions.
Lay down the law girl. It's worth it to have a beautiful home you are both proud of. I promise Dummy. It will be fine.