8 tips for decorating with your partner

If men are from Mars and women from Venus, how on earth are they going to agree on furnishings for their home? Happy wife, happy life?


We all know it’s important that your home reflects the people who live in it, but it can be frustrating when you realise you and your partner’s interior design preferences and styles don’t quite match up as well as your personalities. If you are reading this and nodding, you’re not alone! Couples won’t always see eye-to-eye on every design decision, but there is a happy balance that can be achieved with a little compromise.

1 Compromise with a capital ‘C’

Just like in your relationship, you both bring unique things to the decor party. When it comes to creating a home that reflects both you and your partner, compromise is the absolute key. Blending styles, tastes and needs can be tricky, however, so you need to make decisions with love and respect, finding a middle ground that you both can live with. As much as you want to love your space when you walk through the door, your partner needs to love it just as much.

2 Find inspiration

A good starting point for working out a look you both like is to spend some time together on sites such as Pinterest. Collect images from magazines you both like the look of, then decide on a collective look together that you both buy into. If you’re on the same page at the start, it will make the whole design and decorating process so much easier for all involved.


Ensure your home has elements that reflects you as a couple as well as individually.

3 Make it personal

While the idea of living in a magazine or furniture catalogue is alluring, the fact of the matter is, your home should feel like yours. Think about the things that are special to you and reflect you as a couple as well as individually, and figure out how to work those elements into your home. Think about your interests, sports, music and even favourite movies. All these things can be brought into a space through sports memorabilia, old movie posters or a photographic print of a favourite beach or location.

4 Make a plan before you buy anything

Before you go shopping, it’s a good idea to establish the deal-breakers for each other. Make a plan together and decide what items stay and what items go and what you actually need. If you’re asking your partner to get rid of things, be prepared to do the same. Also, it’s good to agree on a budget for items before hitting the shops so everyone is on the same page.

You often hear of situations where the man will select the electronics for the home, eg the TV, DVD player etc, and the woman will decide on the entertainment unit or cabinet that these items will be housed in. This ‘division of labour’ strategy is another approach to keep both parties happy.

5 Go shopping together

To avoid arguments down the line, you definitely need to go shopping together –especially when it comes to purchasing big items such as a sofa, dining table, chairs and beds. When you are both present you can try out furniture and agree together, which will save you time and money in the long run.


1. Scholar chair, $2539, from Dawson & Co. 2. Britta chair, $129.95, from Mocka.

6 The armchair debate 

Men love a good armchair. So if you have won the battle with the couch then, go on, let him select an armchair! Remember, it’s all about compromise. Generally speaking, men tend to gravitate towards larger, more masculine furniture pieces, particularly those incorporating leather and wood details. A classic leather lounge chair will last for years and will get better with age.


Fjord grey Cornwall quilt, $389.90, from Wallace Cotton.

7 Getting the bedroom right 

When it comes to bedlinen, some men simply don’t care what colour or style it is, while others declare that this is the one item in the house that needs to be unisex. The simple solution is to keep things neutral and play with layers and texture. Plain-coloured linen sheets and duvet, and waffle or quilted bedding, always look great and appeal to both sexes. Jersey-knit marle bedding is ontrend and is also very easy to live with. Another thing to consider in the bedroom is what goes on the walls. The options are endless here but a nice touch is a blown-up photo of a place you have both visited, or a great shot of you together.

8 Expert help

If you are really stuck and you just can’t seem to agree on anything, then seek some expert help. An interior designer is the best option for executing different interior styles in a cohesive way and will be money worth spending.

Words by: Vanessa Nouwens. Photography by: Maree Homer/

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