Home Décor When Cohabitating With A Man- Rules to Live By
I have lived with a few men in my day. Not because I am a serial cohabitator, but because I have been in a few serious relationships where living together seemed like the next logical step in the relationship. If I could go back, I most definitely would not cohabitate with anyone until I had a ring on my finger!
When Richard and I started living together after we got married, I was pleasantly surprised by his taste in home décor and his cleaning habits. Yes, there were design ideas that I had that he was NOT onboard with (like painting our bedroom a blush color) but generally, he trusts my ideas and helps put things together anyway he can. Its also super helpful that my husband is an artist because I he can basically recreate any art piece I want which saves extra $$ and adds a unique touch to our home.In terms of cleaning, I have only fallen into the toilet a few times after he did not put the toilet seat down, but in all- he's not too bad.
When I am doing interior styling for a new couple, one of the first things I do is talk to the man to figure out his style. Most men tend to be pretty flexible when it comes to home décor because men prioritize COMFORT and functionality over style. I have met men who were incredibly picky when it came to color pallet and design, but most of the time they just want the space to "look good."
Here are my top rules to live by when cohabitating with a man
1. Throw Pillows- What's Love Got to Do With It
If you are anything like me, you have an insane addiction to throw pillows and throw blankets. Pillows with beading, embellishments, velvet trim and exposed hardware- I LOVE IT ALL. When Richard and I first got married, I quickly learned that he did not understand the purpose of throw pillows. Most men see throw pillows as items that you spend money on that just get thrown on the floor when you are watching the game or getting into your bed. To help my husband get on board with the idea of spending $15+ dollars on throw pillows, I had to make sure I was mindful about the type of throw pillows I would include in our common spaces. Although I sometimes wanted pillows with intricate detailing on them, I would often choose more practical options that offered comfort and neutral style. My husband loves feather stuffed pillows as opposed to microfiber so I try to purchase down alternative pillow inserts when I am planning on switching out the pillows in our home.
The Takeaway- Do NOT ask your partner to understand the purpose of throw pillows- he will NOT understand so do not waste your time. Purchase throw pillows that are not uncomfortable looking and try integrating comfort-focused pillows that also match with your décor style. DO NOT spend more than $20 bucks on a throw pillow and if you do, tell your husband it was a gift.. from your mother then pray for forgiveness for lying.
2. Paint- Keep it right, Keep it light
After I had been married for about 6 months, I decided to paint an accent wall in our master bedroom BLACK. Yes, a matte black color that stuck out against our white trim. When I first explained the idea to my man, he was confused. Why would you paint ONLY 1 wall black? Why wouldn't we paint the entire room BLACK? answering his questions just created frustration on my part so I had to pull the "babe, just trust me" card to maintain my sanity.
After the accent wall was completed, he loved the space and totally understood my idea behind incorporating an accent wall in our bedroom.
The Takeaway- If your husband is not someone who can not imagine why you would paint an accent wall a bright shade of teal or black, I advise to slowly integrate paint into your household by relying heavily on light and airy neutral colors that are not too shocking. Once your partner opens up to the idea of painting your space (especially if you are renting), go ahead and move forward with painting an accent wall. If you do not have a partner who is artistic in nature, I would NOT recommend expecting your partner to help you paint UNLESS they have experience- LOTS of it. Men are not detail orientated when it comes to paint, so unless you want your white baseboards to have paint splashes all over them- I suggest divide and conquering when it comes to painting. When hubby and I paint, I like to tackle the baseboards and trim and he generally helps with the large rolling which helps my arm not to fall off.
3. Keep the TV Accessible & FUNCTIONAL- No that plant does NOT need to go there
Richard always gets on to me for moving/hiding the remote and not making the TV clear. I hate wires, cable boxes and the dumb gaming systems and if it was up to me- I would hide them away in a drawer or a pretty basket. In the future, we are planning to mount our TV- But we are waiting to see if we want a bigger TV before we invest money and effort to mount the TV we currently have. For now, our TV sits on the entertainment center we built and Ikea baskets hide all of our cords, games and extra wires.
The Takeaway- Most men like TV. Most men want to be able to see their TV without flowers, plants and pictures in the way. Men will always overestimate how much space is needed to house a TV and once a TV is in place, they most likely will make up a million reasons why it cannot be moved (even though it probably can). If you hate remotes, wires and games as much as I do, invest in cheap baskets and storage bins to house all of your electrical equipment when it is not being used. Instead of hiding the remotes behind the TV (am I the only one who does this?), consider buying a nice box with a lid that can be put on the coffee table or entertainment center to hide the remotes when they are not being used.
4. Yes, Sheets & Bedding Matter- Even though he says he cant feel the difference (he can)
When I was younger, I would always buy the cheapest sheets possible. I could not imagine spending more than $20.00 on a sheet set (I know, crazy) and my bed felt cheap and elementary. When I started making good money, I invested in a set of luxury, hotel-like set sheets and I have NEVER gone back to the cheap stuff ever again. I tend to only purchase sheets that are over 1,000 thread count and I am willing to splurge major for crisp, white bedding.
When I was newly married, my husband and I would butt heads about the expensive sheets. Richard could not understand why I would spend $100+ dollars on a sheet set when Target sells "perfectly fine" sets for $35 bucks.
The Takeaway- This is an area where I would say "Stand strong sis" and buy the expensive sheets. Your partner will say he cant feel the difference and he may disagree with dropping major coins on crisp, hotel-like bedding, but trust me, you will wake up happier feeling more content and accomplished.
5. Bathroom Organization is MAJOR (unless you want to get separated over misplaced deodorant)
Like most women, I hoard beauty and hair products. Whenever a new product comes out that promises to make me look less tired or tame my unruly hair- I have to try it. Because of my obsession with trying new products, our Master Bathroom is usually a hot mess. While the organization of our bathroom has gotten a lot better recently (thanks to my cancel the clutter attempts), making sure that my products are put away and organized is greatly appreciated by my man.
The Takeaway- Make sure you do NOT neglect to give your man space in the bathroom. Do NOT take up all of the available counter space or cabinet space and leave him with a small section. Do make sure that his essentials (deodorant, razor, toothbrush and hair brush) are accessible to him at all times. Do NOT store your wigs or track hair on his side of the vanity- sharing is caring.
6. Find the Balance- Do Integrate Metal/ Industrial/ Modern Accents in the Man Cave
Most men prefer clean lines and primary colors when it comes to interior styling and décor. In my experience, men are not big on pattern and texture (at least in theory). To steer clear of arguments about the fabulous wall paper you may want to install in the living room, do find the balance between feminine and masculine accents in your home.
The Takeaway- If your space allows for it, offer your man a space of his own aka a Man Cave. If you are lacking space in your home, offer a small section of the house to just your man. In his space, let him decorate it HOWEVER HE WANTS. DO NOT interfere with the style of his man cave. While its probably ok to vacuum or dust the room from time to time, try to stay out of his space. If you are out shopping for décor to make his space look and feel less bachelor pad, try buying accents that incorporate metals, clean lines or industrial accents. Most of all, prioritize function in his space with minimal décor that serves an actual PURPOSE.
7. Pictures in the Bedroom- No Kids Allowed
I don't know about you, but we do not keep ANY pictures of our children our family in our bedroom. I talked a bit about this in the Master Bedroom post, but I simply view our Master Bedroom as OUR space. The children have their own rooms, we have a family room (and a den), so our bedroom is our own. Their are so many things that go down in our bedroom (need I say more) and I think my man is grateful he does not have to stare at a picture of our 4 month baby looking over our bed.
The Takeaway- This is 100% personal preference, but I would recommend that the bedroom is a space for wedding, relationship or decorative art pictures only.
When I was writing this post, I tried to collaborate with my man on his thoughts on home décor. The only real thing that he said about home décor when cohabitating was...
"A space can be inviting without making into a Princess Palace. Do not paint any room pink and do not buy furry pillows."
There you have it, expert advice from a man who has successfully went through several room renovations with me and never complains. If we ladies stick to that advice, I think all will be ok.
Then again, you know what they say "Happy wife, happy life."