The Difference Between Men & Women in Decorating

interior design

For close to 50% of couples, decorating or home renovation with your significant other is reported to cause massive couples decorating stress. The results range from arguments, to stand offs and stalled projects, to never-gotten-off-the-ground projects, and, according to a recent survey, tempers can get so hot that divorce can cross the mind in about 12% of cases!

What’s the problem? Is it her taste that’s bad? Is it his? Actually neither (sorry, girls). The core issue driving pervasive couples’ decorating stress requires that we borrow from author John Gray: “Men are from Mars, women just want new drapes.”

In other words, the sexes operate about as differently in decorating and design as they do in just about everything else. As a specialist in couples’ decorating, here’s what I see in my design practice: Men are generally bottom line, linear thinkers. They need, and respond well to, concrete, endgame plans and budgets – anything that delineates the overall deliverable and provides a control of the project and the numbers. Women are on the other hand, the more emotionally intuitive sex who are more acutely sensitive to their surrounding’s aesthetic. When it’s off, the experience is nails-on-a-chalkboard bad and change can’t come fast enough. The bumper sticker slogan would be “Design first, figure out the numbers later.” It’s a dessert first approach and it doesn’t work.

By operating unaware of these very real constitutional differences in approach and need, couples immediately jump to “He/She has lousy taste.” Tempers flare. Crash. Burn.

For any couple who really wants to find a scenario in which you BOTH win in your decorating project, in which you BOTH get a home/room you love and, and where you both feel comfortable as you design, you need these 3 core design requirements:

  • A clear process that seamlessly feeds and marries the working style needs of both partners. (Not the design style needs in this bullet point, their WORKING style needs.)
  • A powerful design process that quickly identifies where your design aesthetics are aligned, and, when they aren’t, a process that that easily finds the sweet spot you share.
  • A healthy marriage with individuals who each possess psychological maturity:  They each want their own happiness as well as their partners.

So take heart if this article has stuck a nerve. You are not alone. As a couples’ design specialist, I help clients dissolve common and crippling couple’s decorating stress all thanks to a system and approach I developed from years of stewarding couples.

Call me magic. Call me wise. But do…call me to set up a project consult if you’re stressed or struggling in decorating with your partner. That beautiful and peaceful home is closer than you think!

Learn more about stress-free interior design for couples!