Decorating Tips for Pleasing Both Him and Her

This post might be a bit sexist and stereotypical. Let’s just get that disclaimer out of the way from the get-go. I think there are probably plenty of women who only like neutrals and plenty of men who love bold colors, patterns, and perhaps even loud fuchsia floral fabrics. However, these decorating tips for pleasing both him and her are aimed at those who fit more into the gender-stereotype-box. For example, these tips are great for me and my husband!

My husband used to be much more opinionated about our home decor. When we were engaged and picking out china patterns, I about lost my mind. We must have looked at EVERY everyday dish pattern available in the entire world. I wanted green and blue floral and he wanted solid brown earthware. Needless to say, we have very different styles of decorating—and very different styles on pretty much everything in life! I chalk it up to a severe case of opposites attract. However, because he loves me and knows it is my passion, Matt pretty much gives me free reign in decorating the home. (Woohoo!) However, I do keep his tastes and preferences in mind when decorating. Here are some tips to follow if your guy isn’t crazy about bold colors, loud patterns, and pink. If he is, then consider yourself blessed!

Tip 1: Choose a neutral color palette for the walls.

Whites, creams, tans, and grays are great options to consider. Some of my favorite go-to neutrals are Ramie by Sherwin Williams, Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams, Classic Gray by Benjamin Moore, and Sherwood Tan by Benjamin Moore. Save your pops of color for your accessories. (You can see more of Ramie and Sea Salt in my Christmas House Tour post.)

favorite paint colors

Picture Sources: 1. My mudroom 2. Pure Home 3. My kitchen 4. My craft room

Tip 2: Use texture in place of color.

If you and your partner cannot agree on accent colors, you can create a gorgeous room using three different shades of the same neutral color. Incorporate items within the same color family that have various textures to add interest to your room.

Tip 3: When choosing furniture, pick pieces with clean and simple lines.

If a more modern look isn’t to your liking, choose sofas with rounded arms but avoid heavily carved or ornate pieces unless your man loves that look as well.

clean lines furniture

Picture Sources: 1. Thrifty Decor Chick 2. Just a Girl 3. Hi Sugarplum 4. Pure Style Home

Tip 4: Use pops of color, pattern, and texture on several different fabrics.

Most men aren’t going to gravitate towards a floral pattern but they might not mind it in neutral or on a toss pillow. Compromise with your fabrics by choosing one floral (if desired), one large scale geometric, and one smaller scale geometric. Toss in some solid colored pops of color and your room will look more put together and both parties will be pleased!

toss pillows

Picture sources: 1. Six Street Design 2. BHG 3. Throw Pillows 4. Centsational Girl

Oh yes, and are you wondering what everyday dishes we finally decided on registering for nearly 14 years ago? They are by Royal Dalton in a pattern called Cinnabar which has earth-toned florals intertwined with a geometric pattern—on the same dish. The best compromise we could find.

They are now all packed up and in the basement because I prefer my all white Walmart dishes now :). I’m a girl who likes to change her mind *wink*.

So, how about you and your man? Do you agree when it comes to decorating the home?

I originally wrote these tips for an article in Smart magazine. You can download a copy of the original article in the Jan/Feb edition here.

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  1. says

    My husband and I don’t agree when it comes to the house — he thinks decorating is a waste of money and doesn’t want to spend a dime! Meanwhile, I want to go all out and replace the carpeting with hardwood floors, etc. But I have snuck in some home improvements in here and there over the years. Also, I can get more done when I go DIY (instead of bringing in an expensive contractor). But I don’t think I have the guts to DIY the floors!

    • Beth says

      It’s so incredibly hard when you want to redo a room, which takes money, and hubs just doesn’t get it. Having it as my job definitely helps but there are many things I’d love to splurge on that we don’t see eye-to-eye on. Our upstairs carpet needs replacing and I’d LOVE to put in hardwoods. I too am scared to take on the install ourselves. My sister (Sand & Sisal) did a great DIY tutorial on it though so I’m tempted.

  2. says

    I’ve learned that including my husband in the decorating choices is just plain smart, unless I want to hear about how much he hates something that he warned me about before I went ahead and did it anyway. I’ve also learned that when his choice for something is so bad, and I know it is, and if he could just see it too that he would hate it as much as I do…I go ahead and do it his way (usually a color choice). He always ends up saying “what was I thinking, go ahead and do it your way.” lol And I never say “I told you so”. When we were picking out the color for our exterior, I picked a horrible shade of the color he wanted and then the color I wanted. I knew he’d go for mine. No, that’s not manipulating. 😉 I just know that he doesn’t have design sense. He just doesn’t know it so I need to let him think he’s having more input than he actually is. It works for us. Sorry for the long comment. This just hit close to home. 😀

    • Beth says

      Great marital tips! I have such a hard time just going ahead with his way when we disagree—in all things. I think you are spot on in how you handle the differences in opinion :).

  3. says

    I think what it boils down to is this: Both of you live in that same space, so both of you have to enjoy the same space.
    That being said, if he can deal with your pink cushions, you can try to deal with his deer head!
    Compromise is the star of a relationship!

  4. says

    I’m glad you showed us your china b/c I was wondering. We’ve been married nearly 39 years and didn’t get wedding china but bought a set a few years later that I was in love with – Mikasa Margaux. I hardly ever used it. And now, I’ve changed my mind! You could say I’ve broken up with the Mikasa and am now engaged (or married) to Lenox Butler’s Pantry. This time, I only bought the plates not the whole set. :)

  5. Petronya says

    Hi Beth,
    Wouldn”t it be fun, to have people post pics. of their home n their decorating dilemma’s and you could offer advice. Can I be first?:)

    • Beth says

      Hi Petronya! I give advice when and where I can (when asked), but I actually steer away from it as much as possible. Granted, we all need a fresh set of eyes sometimes, but my advice is never free from my own tastes/likes that I project on your room. I’m not great at conforming to others’ tastes, so it’s easier to teach principles of decorating and teach you how to implement those tips in your space.

      • Petronya says

        ok, if I email you some pics. would you be willing to give your opinion? I have a two story family room, n I recently rearranged some things. Went to that Pop’s artwork sale and bought new stuff, so not sure now what to do.

  6. Laura says

    My husband wants all big dark manly furniture. After arguing and giving in so we have all that big dark manly furniture, he says our house isn’t small but it feels dark and small… I almost smacked him! So now he’s sloooowly coming around to the idea of lightening up the house. Wish me luck! 😉

    • Beth says

      LOL! Well good for you for compromising :). Slipcovers work in a pinch. We have dark, manly leather couches that have really served us beautifully with 2 boys and several dogs. But when I’m craving light and bright I throw on some PB slipcovers.

  7. says

    Love these tips!! My husband just wants say-so in what goes in the garage, haha. He’ll tell me if he doesn’t like something, but over than that he’s pretty game for whatever.

    • Beth says

      Yes, giving men a “man space” to have say over is vital. That was tip 5 that somehow I omitted :). Matt organizes our unfinished basement and it is “his” area. He gets annoyed if I mess things up down there.

  8. says

    Great tips – my husband and I follow them pretty well. When we first moved in together we were on separate ends in design choices and have slowly worked our way to a happy, middle ground and have found a style that we both love. But it all started with a huge blow-up in IKEA in front of his mother! Luckily, she was on my side and explained to my husband (boyfriend at the time) that the home is the woman’s domain and the garage is his. I’ve since given him the yard as he has a passion for gardening. And we both include each other in design ideas and major purchases to bounce ideas off of. The biggest problem we run into these days is that we are both more visual and so when I suggested painting a large wall in our house Olive green, our accent color throughout the house, he was pretty against. I finally talked him into it saying I would paint it back if he really didn’t like it. He loved it. And even said “I was wrong and you were right”.

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