You know me — I like to rattle things up a bit, especially when I know that I’m addressing real issues that many of us face. Yes, I do mean many of us. I have seen, heard, and personally experienced the battle that can occur between husbands and wives during an interior design project.
For those among us who haven’t experienced the situation firsthand, allow me to illustrate…
The “whatever makes you happy” line
In the beginning, your significant other gives you full support to do as you wish in designing and decorating your shared home. When you aren’t sure of a decision, you ask his opinion and his response is usually “whatever makes you happy, honey.”
I’m sure there are situations when we can interpret this phrase literally, but I’ve found that it more often translates to: “Whatever makes you happy… until I decide to jump in and have an opinion after the fact.”
Has this happened to you? Oftentimes, I think our husbands take their hands off the design wheel from a place of kindness. He knows this project is more important to you, more in your wheelhouse, and he just wants you to be happy.
And maybe that’s all true. Maybe decorating is more in your wheelhouse than his. But just because you might care more about decorating and have browsed all the magazines, Pinterest boards, and Instagram accounts doesn’t mean that you are suddenly a fully experienced interior designer fluent in managing a project. (Or that you can read his mind!)
You want to hire expertise, make smart decisions, and create a home that you both will enjoy — and that’s a lot of pressure alone! You probably want your partner’s support making those big decisions, weighing in with yeas or nays, and at least seeming emotionally invested, right?
If your answer is yes (or maybe you’ve experienced the situation I described above), fret not, because I have some solutions for you today. Here are 5 expert tips for getting your gentleman on board!
1. Extend the invitation to be co-conspirators
My first tip is this… Have you thought of asking him why he doesn’t want to be involved? Not in a whiny way, of course, but from a place of genuine curiosity. He might not even realise that you value his input, or that you might be looking to enjoy each other’s company while creating a forever home together.
I encourage you to start the conversation and to extend the invitation for him to be co-conspirator. Whatever his qualms, we can tackle the solutions. Which brings me to those qualms…
2. Tactfully counter his arguments
Once you’ve gotten to the bottom of his concerns, you can address them, and I’m going to show you how! Of course, you know best how to communicate with your spouse, but here are 3 common scenarios that might result from your investigation and how you could respond to each.
He’s just not interested
If he’s simply not interested, let him know that it’s okay. Assure him that you are happy to take on the project and work with a professional BUT that you are going to request his presence and feedback from time to time. Be sure to let him know how important his input is and that you want to make sure he loves his home, too!
He doesn’t have time
If he doesn’t have time to invest in the project, let him know that you understand. This is the perfect opportunity to lay out the minimum time commitment required. I highly suggest (as you’ll see in my next tips) that you both take part in: the investment conversation, the initial consultation (where you talk about scope, goals, etc. with a professional and make a plan), and any important check points.
He isn’t good at decorating
It can be hard to admit that you’re not good at something, so if he gives you this response, assure him that he doesn’t have to be “good” at it! Let him know that you are happy to find an expert who will guide the both of you through the process in the most time-savvy, personalised way possible! He might not know what he likes, but I bet he knows what he doesn’t like, and that’s as good a place to start as any. 🙂
3. Request his presence at the initial discussion
A good designer will insist that the husband or other stakeholders (such as adult kids who get a say) participate in the initial consultation or briefing meeting. It is the natural flow of the design process, and it’s the only way to ensure that all important viewpoints are captured.
You simply can’t have one person doing all the work and making the decisions with no authority — or with authority that gets overruled after decisions have been made, purchased, and installed.
So. If you’re having a difficult time getting your sulkier half to the meeting, you have my full permission to blame it on me and my process. Don’t worry, I can carry the burden. I have big shoulders. 😉
4. Play to his interests
I don’t want to stereotype here, but when you’ve seen the same scene play out over and over again, you pick up on the patterns. After several installations of rooms with wall units and TVs, I’ve noticed that the first thing husbands do on Reveal Day is check that the remote and TV work! Bless them.
In my experience, men tend to show interest when it comes to the “techy side” of the home, such as power supply, audio and visual, lighting control, anything to do with the TV, etc. Or maybe your husband has different home-related interests up his sleeve. Who am I to say?
Whatever the case, these are the perfect items to mention in the beginning, not as bribery, but as subtle temptation to create something aligned with what he loves!
5. Discuss the investment early and often
If the Mr. is controlling the purse strings, then the best thing to do is to discuss your investment before you launch your project. This investment conversation could occur on a discovery phone call with me, during an in-person Road Map Home consultation, or maybe even together while browsing our free Guide to Budgeting Your Home Furnishings.
The important part is to establish an overall investment and an itemised budget before you even begin your project. This is important because he (like most people who aren’t designing homes every day) simply doesn’t know what things cost. I often find that discussing the big overall numbers help people (our disinterested men) feel more comfortable with what they can spend.
Plus, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t get a little nervous when a tonne of not-so-little bills keep coming in and it looks like there’s no end in sight. Knowing the big dollar amount helps keep things in perspective. (In our All Stages Custom Decorating service, we supply the furnishings, so you only deal with 1 supplier, fewer payments, and it’s all pre-planned in our fully-costed design scheme.)
What do Classic decor and furnishings really cost? Get our free expert guide!
Realistically plan for your next decorating project with our free guide to home furnishings budgeting worksheet!
6. Work with a design professional
By far, my BEST advice to anyone embarking on a project is to hire a designer who can help you create your vision and has the skills, flair, and technical knowledge to make the right decisions when decisions between options need to be made.
After the briefing meeting and agreed-upon design concept, we narrow down infinite choices to a select few that we will present to you. That way you and your husband can enjoy the process without feeling overwhelmed by choices.
You can trust that our selections have weeded out the less desirable options and always relate back to your vision and scope! When it comes to you making choices, we take you through the pros and cons of each, rationally working through choices from a professional, experienced perspective. No “he said, she said” about it. Just positive progress toward your forever home!
So, what are you waiting for?? Go grab our Guide to Budgeting Your Home Furnishings and get your guy excited about the possibilities for your forever home! Then, book a complimentary call with us and we’ll help you decide your best next step!