So, chances are that the person you live with is less adventurous, bold, and let’s face it, stylish than you when decorating. This is often the case, and it can lead to – ahem – tensions. I have successfully badgered Mr Finch into submission and his protestations regarding some of my interior choices are thankfully short and half-hearted.
If I’ve learnt how to win these battles, you can too. If you live with someone who has complimentary taste and style, then lucky you. If you live alone, even better. You can do what you want, when you want (#luckybuggers). But if you don't fit into either of those categories, then read on. Here are 3 key lessons in navigating home styling with another person. But fair warning… make sure you’re alone as you read this.
Smuggle decor items into your home without them noticing. You don’t need to ask their opinion on small things, especially when you KNOW it will look great (but I don’t advise having a $4000 leather lounge delivered without consultation). I know you have fabulous taste, and the person you live with will soon learn of your considerable talent. Few people have the ability to see something in a shop or online and instinctively know it will look great in their home. You can, so don’t let their negativity shake your confidence. Buy it, style it – and see how long it takes before they notice. It will probably look so great that it will appear as if it was always there!
Pair down bright colours with neutrals. We are respectful human beings and we know that few people can live with a fuchsia sofa with emerald cushions. This is especially the case if your cohabitant is less confident with home-styling than you. They’ll be scared to make bold statements and they’ll likely be attracted to ‘safer’ options. So if you decide to go big with colour, soften the look with plenty of neutrals to appease your partner and prevent WWIII.
Pay attention to the NOs! This may sound contradictory to lesson 1, but bear with me. The general grumblings and ‘nos’ can often be ignored. They come from fear and uncertainty and can be easily assuaged when you show how good you are at interior decor curation and styling. BUT if there is a colour, for example, that your significant other really despises, avoid it. I have a personal hatred for brown. Not terracotta, taupe, caramel or tan, but Mission Brown – think 1970s kitchen cabinets. I flippin’ hate it. If Mr Finch came home with a dark brown rug or cushion covers, I’d spin him around and have him – and the brown – out of our house quicker than your can say ‘beaded macrame’. But I know he’d never do that because he knows how much I hate it.
I think this is one of the most important rules of sharing, and decorating, a home with someone. You must be respectful. Humans are weird. We often have a visceral responses to a particular colour or decor item – usually derived from a childhood memory (thanks Freud). You just need to be clear with each other what the no-go areas are are work within those (still very generous) boundaries.
Red - a colour that you can rarely be on the fence about. The colour of passion, fire, love, danger and strength, it's not something that will fade into the background. Don't paint your walls red when your partner is away for the weekend - you may evoke a very passionate, or dangerous, response. You have been warned...
So! Tell me what interior decor items or colour palettes you hate for no apparent reason. I’m intrigued… and see if you can figure out why you hate it. There’s nothing more fun than a bit of interiors-related pop-psychology.
P.S: No liability is accepted for domestic quarrels resulting from the above advice. I'm all love and no responsibility.