5 Tips to Decorate without Divorce or Bloodshed

Over my many years of doing Interior Design projects, I’ve seen it all – destructive dogs, stubborn husbands, uninvolved wives, and careless kids, but the toughest thing to overcome is impending divorce from partners working closely on decorating projects.  Sometimes it’s easier to reason with a 2 year old than to keep sparring couples from going to blows.  So how do seasoned Designers work their magic?  Here are some of my best tips for getting Families to play nice together while decorating:


  1.  Use the 2/1 Rule –

You have 2 ears and 1 mouth – use them accordingly so listen twice as much as you speak.  That way you can actually hear and understand what your partner likes and dislikes. Always ask for more details and get to the heart of the issue.


  1.  Tread Lightly –

Let’s not insult anyone’s choices or preferences – it may go way back to their Grand Mother’s influence or a bad day in kindergarten. 


  1. Negotiate like a football coach  –

Pick your battles carefully and save your strong arm tactics for things you really care about.  If it’s not important for you to have a giant screen TV in the great room but a deal breaker for one in the master bedroom, trade off the elements that are important to you.  Given 2 choices, have the person that cares the least let the person that cares strongly about it make the decision.  And if you don’t initially get your own way – don’t take your ball and go home!


  1.  Throw out the worst of the bunch –

Everyone gets to eliminate one option that they like the least.   Just like when you were a kid – your Mom let you opt out of eating one icky food as long as you tried the rest.  If someone pulls out your favorite, get over it – you’ll get your chance to renegotiate later during the “instant save round”.  Let everyone in the Family select their least favorite element and then work to coordinate around the rest.


  1. Play to win-win –

Your goal in the decorating game is to find enough pieces to complete the “well-coordinated room”  puzzle.  Use the best furniture pieces that you already have even if they need to be recovered or refinished.  This recycles and saves money.  Then start building around them with all the best options that the group has not eliminated.  That way everyone has a bit of skin in the game and will be pleased that they got some of their style into the design plan.  You get a beautiful home and a happy household!




For your FREE 14 page decorating guide – “10 Easy Steps to DIY Decorate like a Pro”,  click here!




Written by Peggy Ridgley of Prism Design and Renovations, 2014 . Peggy has over 25 years of experience and satisfied Clients in Arizona, California, Wisconsin and Florida. She can be reached at (480) 725-4687 for answers to all your decorating questions and challenges.

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