March 11, 2015


In my 10+ years designing, one of the most challenging undertakings is working with couples.  I actually stopped taking on couples as clients for a while because I was being hired as a designer and therapist but only being compensated as a designer. It became so difficult to keep the couples on the same page and have them work together, so I had to teach them how they DO NOT have to fight & oppose each other during this journey of design. Many couples feel as if it’s either their individual style or nothing. That is the furthest from the truth. I will breakdown how design doesn’t have to lead to disaster with your partner.

Before starting the design interview process with my clients, I made sure they were open minded to their partners ideas, understand the differences between male & females and finally there is a big picture to look forward to.

Stop {In The Name of Love} Opposing: Understand you can combine styles, and it can make for an extremely interesting dynamic. When you hear each other explain what you like, have an open mind. Many times we hear our partner describe their style and because we do not relate to it, we immediately shut it down. Instead try to simply listen and realize just because their style is different than ours doesn’t mean we can’t compromise and combine styles. If you communicate without the ability to understand your attempt to communicate can be unsuccessful. Communication is important, but you must follow it up with understanding. You have to listen to your partner and try to understand exactly what they are saying & describing. The better you understand exactly what the other wants, you will have a better chance at communicating your thoughts desires & feelings.   COMMUNICATE ---> UNDERSTAND ---> DESIGN.

FEMME FATAL: Women need specific things to be productive and functional in their home. It should be embraced on both sides. Men and women are genetically, biologically and scientifically different, and it’s reflected in the way we live. Women, usually like elements that are softer which can translate into round edges, soft colors such as pastels, blush, lilac, coral etc. What women might think is sexy, comfortable or attractive can be the complete opposite to what a man’s idea of the same thing. But It’s ok, these are fundamental differences which attract us to each other to begin with, so don’t be disappointed by these differences, instead embrace them by trying to understand the differences and focus on the differences you can appreciate.

Mad Men: Men need specific things to be productive and functional in their home as well. Men need to feel masculine and strong particularly in their home where they serve as the protector & provider. Men might be attracted to furniture pieces which display a strong feel such as reclaimed wood, iron, sharp edges and rich strong colors such as navy, burgundy, eggplant & coa coa. This is a beautiful thing, having balance is the beauty of life and the beauty of men and women being attracted to each other.

BIG PICTURE: Think about the end result and understand that the story has many layers and elements. The truth of the matter is you became attracted to your partner because of their interest, style, taste, hobbies, passions, ideals, values, and outlook on life, etc. So allow that to be present within your living space. Your partner’s personality reflected in different areas of your home only adds dimension and intrigue, not only to your shared living space but also to your everyday life. Remember, everything in moderation and balance is key to life.

Now that you understand each other, your differences & the bag full of awesomeness you both bring to the table, lets get down to business. Your next step is to get clear about what you like, what reflects who you are, you style, tastes & perspective on living.  It’s time to break down your style in a way, which is not only clear for you but your partner as well. This is the beginning stage of defining your style as a couple. You must 1st  understand your style as an individual.

DESCRIPTIVE STYLE: Describe your style using 3-4 references. “Classic James Bond in St. Tropez”. Now, THAT is a description. Immediately your mind starts to visualize the description and then you get a feeling. This portrayal and feeling allows your partner to get a better idea of the design objective and goal for your shared space.


PERSPECTIVE by PERCENTAGE: Try discussing your style in percentage. Your hubby {or wife} may have an easier time understanding if they hear, I’m 75% “Minimalist Mid Century Modern” and 25% “Regal Old Hollywood Glam”  Hearing percentages will help you to understand how much of a particular style & look your partner actually wants to be reflected in the home. It’s also a great starting point for compromising and creating the ultimate formula for combined style between you and your significant other.

PINTEREST BOARD: This seems like an obvious solution but you would be surprised how many couples overlook this simple solution. 1st of all let’s remember approximately 80% of Pinterest users are female so many men although they are aware of the site may not even be using it. It’s a great tool to allow you and your partner to visually express and tell your style story of the home you two are now going to share.

Pinning Notes
Here are a few notes you can add to your pins in order to keep your decorating ideas organized. This will also be a great way for you to understand your partners design ideas and tastes.

Color Patterns: Add this to the pins, which have the colors, color combinations you are attracted to.
Admired Atmosphere: Note this for travel destinations, movies, or establishments such as hotels & spas, which have an atmosphere you would like to feel in your home.
Projected Personality: Note this for characters, actors or personas, which embody similarities with you or similar personality, you would like to experience in your home.

Must Have {Insert Item}:  Use this note for furniture, wallpaper, lighting, finishes etc. This note is great when you are only attracted to one design element in a room such as the rug, chandelier or throw pillow.

You are now officially equipped with all of the information you need to walk down the sometimes complicated yet exciting road of decorating your home as Bonnie & Clyde.  I would love to hear from you, has this helped you and your partner, are you better able to understand his or hers decorating style? Let me know in the comment section below.
 Do you still need help? Do you feel as if you and your partner need a professional who can also serve as a mediator? Well, you are in luck.
It might be just what the two of you need!

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  1. Love it! You have explained it so well, I think it was a great idea to write about this topic as so many people have trouble with it. I also love your blog name, it looks great.

    1. Thank you so much Holly! I'm glad you found it very useful. Many people do have trouble, this makes it easier for the couple and the designer during this fun yet at times bumpy venture.

  2. Fantastic article, and great ideas! Thanks for posting.

    1. Thanks Liat! Glad you found it useful, have you used it with any of your clients as yet?