Decorating disagreements with DH - do you have them and how do you solve them?

(29 Posts)
jamaisjedors Mon 25-Mar-13 18:38:33

We have been living in our house for about 8 years now, and I have lived with a lot of the décor because we had young children and both work full-time so not much time to redecorate.

Gradually now I am emerging from the mists of tiredness, and looking round at all the tired-looking rooms and chipped paintwork.

So I have bought paint. And sanded.

For example, our hall has orange terracotta tiles on the floor, (which we love), white walls, and then v. bright blue trim around the doorways and on random ugly pipes.

I went to a "posh" paint shop and asked for advice, and was told (and agreed) that those features did not need picking out in blue, and to go for off-white.

But now DH is protesting and saying that the hall looks pretty like that and he doesn't want all-white/grey/cream.

I don't know where we go from here.

Do you and your DH always agree on decorating decisions? Or do you just go ahead and do it anyway?

skandi1 Thu 28-Mar-13 09:11:42

You need to make him think its his idea. Not in a patronising way but by dropping subtle hints and show him lots of photos of things which look like your idea (magazine and house to home and houzz.com).

My DH thinks he is practically an interior designer. The very first advice MIL gave me regarding DH was: "I love my son but he has terrible taste in interiors and furniture. You make sure you choose."

So I have taken this on board and spend a long time very subtly planting seeds. Works well. I get furniture and decor that I believe tastful and DH spends hours telling our friends it was his idea. Everyone's happy.

As you have now both fallen out over the hallway and colours sadly you can't do this. You will have to sit down and both agree on something.
Get your DH onto houzz.com and see if you can find something you both like. Results may surprise you. And it will be fun doing it together.

jamaisjedors Wed 27-Mar-13 08:40:21

I have to admit DH is better with colours than me in general. Which is perhaps why he is reluctant to trust me.

But here I took advice from a professional deliberately.

And he hasn't even looked at the colour I've chosen. Just said a point blank no to changing the blue.

I have now checked the basement and we don't have any of that blue left anyway (was painted by the previous owners).

At the moment, the back of the front door (iyswim), two doorways, some pipes and the radiator are blue.

I'm going to suggest just doing the pipes (screamingly ugly) and the doorways (badly chipped) and leaving the rest blue for the moment - it's too cold to paint the door and radiators anyway!

Grr, do you not ever get like this, suddenly really want the job DONE and can't bear to look at it any more?

redlac Wed 27-Mar-13 07:27:56

I am v lucky in that DH is a decorator so I pick the colour/wallpaper, he puts it on, I tidy up and wash out the rollers. We do have similar taste luckily but one thing we agree on is that all ceilings and woodwork should be white

GrandPoohBah Wed 27-Mar-13 05:03:47

My DH has problems visualising colours so often doesn't like the ideas I have before they go up. I have always given him full veto - on the proviso that if he doesn't like it we can change it back. He has never exercised his right.

betterwhenthesunshines Tue 26-Mar-13 16:21:19

DH tends to see each item in isolation rather than how the whole scheme will fit together, or in context eg the light in the room. He happily agrees he has no overall 'vision' so although he may occasionally pull a face, or give a view on a pre-selected range of colours, he ultimately is happy to go with whatever I suggest as he recognises that 1. I am better at it than him and 2. I care more !

RunsWithScissors Tue 26-Mar-13 14:19:04

Dh and I work pretty well on these things. Luckily we have similar taste to start. He was a bit worried about some decisions in our first house (very dark walls in a small room). I asked if he would be ok with me painting it, and if he didn't like it, we would go with something else. He liked it, and now trusts my judgement. That being said, I always let him know what I have in mind before going ahead, and make sure we are in agreement. I agree with piglet John, how would you feel if he changed something in the house against your wishes?

Talk to him, and maybe discuss you trying what you have in mind, and if he doesn't like how it looks, you don't go back to the blue, but find a solution you both like... don't think he should be able to decide to leave it as it without taking your feelings into consider either.

PragmaticWench Tue 26-Mar-13 13:25:55

As for getting another man's opinion, that makes me so angry. DH refused to believe my thoughts about wood burning stoves, but accepted the same thoughts from a male friend. Hmph.

PragmaticWench Tue 26-Mar-13 13:23:55

I'm in a similar situation but over furniture. Having lived in DH's bachelor house for nearly four years, I'm thrilled we're moving as I can then choose a new sofa. Well, I was thrilled, now not so much as apparently DH is keeping his futon sofa and HUGE black, leather (80's) lazyboy chair. hmm

We've discussed decorating in the past and come to a compromise. Much as I like my own choices, I couldn't dismiss or override his opinions, he's not a child to be dictated to! The sofa situation may make me dig my heels in though...

Flosshilde Tue 26-Mar-13 10:31:30

My DH always tells me to give him a choice of one. grin He can, and has, vetoed this choice and we will find an alternative we both like.

I'm better at design, he tends to instigate work as he gets pissed off with things that are looking worn more quickly than I do.

hmm at getting a man to give a second opinion to persuade another man that his wife is right. Because a man's opinion is so much more valuable than a woman's, of course. hmm My DH respects my opinion more than anyone's, that's why we're married.

jamaisjedors Tue 26-Mar-13 10:18:45

Thanks, will take on board those tips too!

Wendybird77, actually DH has pretty much put his mark all over the rest of the house, nearly all the artwork/déco is African from his travels/charity work etc.

I'm going to try and put that to him, but he is convinced all the rest were "joint" decisions and I think feels hurt that I haven't consulted him.

I agree about the "stress" of change, whereas it's spring and I feel like a change!

ggirl, I think I'll struggle to find a man who'll give his opinion about decorating, but I AM refraining from telling DH that my mother agrees with me- don't think it will be an effective argument.

Looks like those chipped skirting boards are here to stay!

My other plan is to at least put the undercoat (white!) on and then if he really doesn't think it looks better, I can go with blue on top rather than the "Old white" I had chosen.

ggirl Tue 26-Mar-13 07:52:01

If all else fails what usually works with dh ,and most men, is if you manage to get another man to give his opinion (obv agreeing with you) ,he'll def agree to it then.

wendybird77 Tue 26-Mar-13 07:18:58

Oh I do feel for you. DH can be a bit like this - generally because he doesn't like the 'stress' of thinking about change. I nearly left him when we were doing up our first house. I let him pick colours for his manroom and he ended up with a baby blue and bright orange room. He asked me to help him after he realised how awful it looked and he's generally left me to it since. The key with my DH is to not ever take him shopping as he quite likes to make spur of the moment purchases which don't align with my well thought out obsessive plans. I always try to incorporate something I know he will like though, so he doesn't feel like the house is all just me. I've framed some of his baseball memorabilia for our new lounge walls - he's thrilled.

It does sound like you have hit a wall though. Can you leave it for a bit and move on to another room? You can come back to the hall when neither of you feel like you are on the 'losing' end. What would work with my DH is that he can paint it blue, but he has to do it. He can't stand decorating, so the threat of work would have him backing down (by not doing it, not by overtly agreeing). Good luck!

jamaisjedors Mon 25-Mar-13 21:00:17

smile at fishfinger's solution with the cost!

I suppose I could go for the backdown offer?

To Hazel, actually his point is that we picked out blue accessories to go with the blue skirting boards etc. when we moved in.

So the pictures have light blue frames, and the light shade has blue in it.

So it's not as if we were in neutral bland territory. But he thinks it all has to match.

And I think there is already enough blue in there.

Thanks for all the suggestions, I'm going to try a combination! And try my very best to make this an adult "discussion" and not an argument.

notquitenormal Mon 25-Mar-13 20:59:15

I come up with the designs and colour schemes, we discuss it and take into account DH's opinion, but ultimately I make the final decision and have ignored him in the past. Usually when he disagrees becuase he can't understand how something will work.

He's ok with this because I always make it work and he's always liked the final result (usually with an exclaimation of 'Ohhhh, I get it now!')

Why don't you offer a full back down - ie you paint them the colour you want and if he really doesn't like it then you will re-introduce the blue pipes. Also come home from the paint shop muttering about how much more expensive blue paint is than neutral paint grin.

HazeltheMcWitch Mon 25-Mar-13 20:46:42

What about a neutral room, but he gets to pick other blue accessories - so picture, vase, bowl - whatever?

jamaisjedors Mon 25-Mar-13 20:40:51

I think it's a mixture of him not wanting change and also him liking "colour" and not drab. I get the colour thing, but chipped blue door surrounds are just not doing it for me...

I am "allowed" to repaint them blue... sigh

tribpot Mon 25-Mar-13 20:33:45

The way my parents work it is that my Mum basically decides on what she wants (esp curtains which my step-dad has never really noticed in his life) but he then has right of veto over whatever she picks. So probably 80% of the time she gets what she wants and the other 20% they compromise on something they both like.

The bright blue door frame and pipes sound horrible, like something out of Playschool or possibly the Pompidou Centre. (I have far worse in my house, I might add, including the Room of Deep Purple - paint colour not band).

On the other hand, as this is your first venture into decorating, is it more a question of him not wanting change, rather than having a previously undisclosed attachment for blue pipework? Could you compromise by toning the blue down or choosing a more appropriate feature to be picked out in blue?

jamaisjedors Mon 25-Mar-13 20:26:09

I hate it. He claims to love it. Someone's got to compromise!!

ggirl I know the feeling.

And who knew he would be so fussed about a bit of woodwork!

I asked the woman in the paint shop, so as to have a neutral opinion and also because (DH agrees) she gave us great advice about what colour to choose for our kitchen (which he initially vetoed and then came round to and now loves...).

Dh did once say I didn't give him enough input on decoration - not just the painting but the finishing touches. So I took him to look at paint and spent an afternoon in IKEA and he decided it was easier to leave it to me.

We are now looking to buy our first house. He stressed to me that it must be a joint decision, not just me choosing somewhere and throwing a tantrum until I got my own way grin. Anyway, dh managed one day of viewings and decided he would just go with whatever I was happy with....

I do try to give him more input now, but I draw up my shot-list and let him help choose from my final selection. We are currently debating floor paint. What will probably happen though is I get my sister round with the paint charts and let her choose as she has an amazing eye for colour. This way neither of us will have chose grin

ggirl Mon 25-Mar-13 19:59:15

I have finally come to the conclusion that my dh is hopeless with anything to do with decor. We have been married for 25 yrs and I have always tried to involve him and waited until he and I agreed on when and how to decorate.Hence yrs of putting up with crap decor and things never getting done.

Now I don't give a stuff what he thinks and get on with it..I have just got a painter in to decorate the downstairs..I chose the colours and am having a ball planning how to decorate the lounge. We agreed on a budget that's as much as he'shad to do with it. He has voiced a few grumbles but actually he doesn't really care that much and really doesn't have a clue .

I wish I had done this yrs ago!!The freedom of not having to involve him in the decisions is fabulous

Yfronts Mon 25-Mar-13 19:49:22

Say you really dislike the blue and can't stand it?

jamaisjedors Mon 25-Mar-13 19:41:46

I'm going to try and argue that with him, thank you abby. That's exactly what the woman from the paint shop said (and my mum incidentally).

The blue paint makes a feature out of things which are not features.

I think I'll have to wait a day or two though for things to blow over - at the moment it's point blank no which is hard.

abbyfromoz Mon 25-Mar-13 18:56:30

Make a compromise. Tell him you would like a blank canvass and your reasons for doing so (art/furniture will be more of a feature)... And then offer to let him decorate another room?
My DH once wanted to bring a giant bronze bull statue back from a trip to Italy. I put my foot down as it was hideous. He knows when i put my foot down it won't be happening- but still reminds me of all the things i vetoed... I can live with that wink

jamaisjedors Mon 25-Mar-13 18:55:02

Well pigletjohn, that's why I haven't gone ahead yet and done it.

Am feeling a bit disheartened.

Lots of people have told me to just do it, but we both live here so both have a say I think.

OTOH, if I have to run every decision by him and take him to the paint shop with me, then we will never get anything done - in fact we haven't, in 8 years here this is the first time I've tried to do it without him because I thought he wouldn't be that bothered about the colour of the skirting boards, like mumblechum's DH, he does whatever he likes in the garden.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now