Approach to furnishing home- family edition
November 11, 2021 1:18 PM   Subscribe

My wife and I have slightly different tastes and buying habits, and we want to be able to compromise as we furnish our new home. How have you handled this? What process/system has given you the most overall happiness?
posted by sandmanwv to Shopping (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Each set up a account and pull together examples of things you really like. Compare lists with some ground-rules on feedback so that there arent hurt feelings.
Instantiate a 1-10 ranking system for how much you are serious about liking something. If you're out and about and see a table lamp that looks neat but you're fine without it, thats a 6 or a 7. If you simply must have it then 9-10. This helps the other understand the difference variations of "I like this lamp", so they can respond accordingly. If it's a 10, then hopefully the other person can find a way to fit it into their life.
Designate a room or space that is completely in one person's control. They get to decorate it however they wish and the other person can't say anything about it.
posted by Diddly at 1:28 PM on November 11, 2021

To echo what Diddly said, the main thing for us is having a really clear understanding of which things really matter to each of us, and communicating those clearly. For us it is exceedingly rare that one of us will feel strongly positive about the same thing the other feels strongly negative about. If my spouse loves something that I am neutral on or only mildly dislike, we get it. If my spouse mildly likes something that I hate, we don't get it. And all permutations thereof. Over the years, we have learned each others' tastes and priorities pretty well, so we can usually predict the others' opinion anyway. But if the person who feels strongly doesn't speak up and clearly communicate that, then it can definitely cause friction. It's a cliche for a reason: communication is the main thing.
posted by primethyme at 2:02 PM on November 11, 2021 [2 favorites]

There is an app currently for IoS called Realize Design that lets you measure your rooms automagically and then design them using real furniture and décor -- like the Sims, but real! You might try that to help each other and come to compromises or acceptance.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:12 PM on November 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

We Pinterest ideas and go over them. (By we I mean I pin things but we sit down and online shop or he shows me things when he looks or I screen share Pinterest to the tv and we browse ideas.) It can be general ideas and styles because we are also hunting for used and vintage items. I think we also focus firstly on function - what size or shape use do we NEED out of the items and the space. Like, we need to seat 4 people at the table and we only have x room to do it. Then you can go into styles or colors.

Beyond shared spaces each have spaces that are totally “ours” so we get to pick whatever the fuck we want for in there (within budget reason, etc.) It takes some pressure off the main spaces or arguing about a specific item or paint color. And it allows for those things one person loves and the other hates. Outside of main spaces we each have 2 rooms. (I’m aware not everyone can have this, but if you CAN give over some control even of main spaces that maybe one person uses more, it’s helpful. If someone spends more time in the bedroom or kitchen, maybe they can have more input there.)

Also, I read it here some of someone can point to the comment… we use “delegates”. We each get 100 and it can describe how strongly we feel about something. “80 of my delegates like that sofa” or whatever. So you can default to the person with stronger feelings versus saying you like or don’t like something.

In general I will say I have MUCH stronger feelings than my spouse on decor but I still want the shared spaces to have his input and also be functional and comfortable. Therefore the balance tends to be he looks to me on design but I take his input for function and comfort.

I think we have found that having a general idea and discussion prior to the actual shopping is really helpful. It’s avoided stress and frustration trying to debate something in a store. That still happens, but we have more tools to work from and we have more of an agreement on the big picture.
posted by Crystalinne at 2:36 PM on November 11, 2021 [2 favorites]

In my first marriage, we divided up the rooms. So, e.g., I got to furnish the dining room but he had veto power over anything I chose. We divorced after six years, but I don't think our system had anything to do with it.

Now, my husband and I have similar but not identical taste. If we're shopping online for, say, a rug I'll put all the ones I like in the cart. When he looks at them, we delete the ones he doesn't like and then choose from those that are left.
posted by DrGail at 2:50 PM on November 11, 2021

We have an office each as almost-private domains* for self expression, plus each of us has veto power over all the shared space. AD isn't going to come calling for any of it, and it can take a long long time to get something purely decorative, but we're happy. Also running on veto power makes the overall effect spare and not fashion-dependent and, I hope, elegant.

*each office has a large slightly demanding piece of house equipment, e.g. the guestbed/movie couch.
posted by clew at 3:06 PM on November 11, 2021

We hired an inexpensive decorator as sort of a "referee" because we could not agree on anything.
posted by Mid at 3:42 PM on November 11, 2021

We bought used. We spent $50-150 a piece on lovely, good enough furniture and if felt like nothing was too consequential. It took the stress out of it and meant we could wait for great deals on new furniture. We splurged on some great accent pieces. Lots of people seem to seel what seems like brand new furniture from little used rooms.
We had bought a huge house and ended up spending almost nothing furnishing it. Now that we've lived here a few years I'm ready to buy a couple of new pieces and feel like I understand the house more and what will work for us, where.
posted by ReluctantViking at 4:14 PM on November 11, 2021 [5 favorites]

What has brought us happiness has been letting each person have what they really most want. On major furniture, appliances, etc. we haven't really had a problem finding things we both like, obviously we both should be comfortable sitting on the sofa, but he's got some weird sci-fi art and band posters and part of me wanted to relegate all of that to some private space because it's not "Nice looking" and I'm really glad I didn't do that. Letting the house be both of ours, being comfortable with who we both are rather than targeting some uniform aesthetic, has been nice and I've come to really appreciate some of his dorky art. And he's cool with my bits of farmhouse chic kitchen gear even though it's never what he would have picked.
posted by Lady Li at 6:03 PM on November 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

Let me impart to you a particular hard won piece of advice:

The person who changes the light bulbs gets to choose the lamps.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:44 AM on November 12, 2021 [3 favorites]

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