Decorating With Your Spouse: Heaven or Hell

Men & Women in Decorating

You know the expression, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”? I’d add, “or from decorating with your spouse when you’re not on the same page.” I may not have a career ahead making up sage expressions, but I stand by my tag line! I’ve spent years designing for and helping couples in design. Time and again I see that when you and your other half are aligned in design – from decorating to renovation – it’s heaven. And when you’re not, it’s a one way ticket to that other place.

Couples’ decorating stress is a more common problem than you realize.

In a survey done by the major decorating website,, a whopping 46% of couples reported feeling stressed when decorating with their spouse…that’s nearly 1 in 2 couples! And a surprising 12% reported reaching such deep frustration levels that divorce actually crossed their minds!

The problem actually makes sense. Consider decorating as a situational mirror of any major issues you face as a couple.

*spending money – design is not an inexpensive pursuit

*relinquishing or at least sharing control – design requires it

*compromising – design requires it

All too often stressed out decorating couples jump to the conclusion that it’s hopeless. But you shouldn’t.

I worked with a young couple named Renee and Paul who came to me in in a frustrated stand-still due to their attempt to renovate their master bath. Convinced there was no middle ground and that their “spouse had terrible taste,” they were amazed at how easily we hit the ground running together and with great results.

I’ll never forget leaving a kitchen and bath showroom with the smiling couple after we had also visited a tile showroom. We’d wrapped up their entire design. As we said goodbye, but before I got into my car, Renee looked at me and said “Donna, I’m a little stunned. Paul and I used to walk into and out of tile stores after wandering for hours feeling lost and frustrated. We’d walk out accomplishing nothing. Thanks to you, we nailed our tile plan in no time today. In less than 2 hours, we just mapped out the entire bath….AND we both love everything.”

This couple went from complaining about each other’s taste in our first meeting to walking a showroom with me and saying things like “Hey Paul, there’s that straight clean tile you like,” or “Hey Renee, this accent tile is so you, but you know, I actually like it too.” Without their realizing it, I’d guided them to understand their partner’s design fingerprint, and to even think like their partner in design. I showed them how to find their common ground using an interesting process I have.

I smile to myself every time I hear one of my couples designing this way together.

Magician? No, I’m strategic. I use a confirmed Wise Design approach with all of my clients, but it’s like Excalibur for couples.

If you’re struggling with a project with your spouse, or feeling even a tiny tinge of discord, there’s help, and I’m so glad to take you under my wing to offer it.

The beautiful home you’ll both love to live in and entertain in is within reach. Let’s set up a call to review your project and get you moving onto the road to wonderful!