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Opposite Design Styles

May 7, 2019

Do you and your partner have differing styles? Lately this topic has spiked in my daily interactions at home with my husband, Travis. We both feel so strongly coming from opposite sides and clashing in our sacred place called home. It’s so easy to get irrational and unreasonable over it! The same happens with clients […]

Do you and your partner have differing styles? Lately this topic has spiked in my daily interactions at home with my husband, Travis.

We both feel so strongly coming from opposite sides and clashing in our sacred place called home.

It’s so easy to get irrational and unreasonable over it! The same happens with clients as well.

So many times we want to compromise but really deep down inside, we already have a set idea in our mind.

Opposite Design Styles: The Mindset

When it comes to confronting someone with your design ideas (that you already know they disagree with), it’s easy to become defensive, reactive and highly emotional.

Add in money and your own personal space, and the stakes are raised even more.

One of the top stressors in life is moving to a new home. Renovating your home or even working on a DIY project can be just as stressful especially if you and your partner are not in agreement.

Before I even delve into the actual steps of a successful negotiation, I need to share about the mindset involved.

If you are talking to your partner, you will need to take off your partner hat and put on a neutral as possible business negotiations hat.

When it comes to clashing design or any other hot topic for that matter, reducing the personal reactivity is essential in even getting a conversation started. Once you take a deep breath and prepare yourself for fair negotiations then you are setting yourself up for success!

Recently in my family room I added a huge collection of tall pampas in the window corner.

My beloved cactus had died and the corner needed visual height. I’m obsessed with pampas and thought that was the perfect solution.

Not to Travis! Ha! He absolutely hated it!

He complained about how it shed like crazy and simply despised it.

He used to complain about the cactus being a hazard because of the needles. But he told me last week he would much rather have the cactus back again.

Whoa! These are definite strong opinions coming from a normally even keeled personality.

I approached it very matter factly and asked him if he had a solution. Of course he hadn’t given any thought to what else could be in that corner.

So I offered my ideas and he liked using a faux plant in the corner for now.

I warned him that I was highly considering another cactus. He nodded with a “that’s fine for now” kind of expression.

I took it as a win because now he was warming up to the cactus idea. 

I came into this conversation with the mindset of a friendly business negotiation. We came out of it with both sides satisfied.

Was I happy to use a faux plant? No.

Was he happy the room was changing again for the millionth time? No.

Don’t get me wrong, we have our fair share of yelling and irrational unfiltered thoughts.

But time has taught us it just isn’t worth getting so mad over fleeting trivial things.

Even though it feels so important to have that tattered full of character velvet blue chair in the perfect corner,  your partner simply hates it and wants it in the basement.

So what do you do?

You have a choice to argue until the cows come home or save yourself the energy and arrive at a satisfactory albeit imperfect compromise.

Another important note about having the right mindset is to decide that you will let go of all perfectionistic expectations that the conversation will go a certain way.

It’s not realistic to expect a conversation where your partner will nod and agree to everything you suggest.

On the other hand, if you have realistic expectations that you are going to

a) have an adult conversation and negotiate a satisfactory resolution to the problem

b) no one will “win” at which design is best

c) you promise yourself that you will meet your partner half way

Then you are on your way to a successful and mindful resolution!

Opposite Design Styles: How to Communicate

My clients who are remodeling their circa 1982 master bathroom had a monumental impasse on the flooring. The husband loved the black hexagon tiled floor with a walnut vanity look.

Image Credit: Houzz

And the wife envisioned a  bright airy gray luxury vinyl flooring.

There was a change in the design because the luxury vinyl flooring we originally chose didn’t work out.

It clashed with the walnut vanity. So we decided to extend the black hexagon tiles in the shower pan with 8” larger hexagon tiles.

After spending some time explaining all the design reasons of why the black hexagon flooring wouldn’t swallow up the space, she still couldn’t let go of her mental hangup that black wasn’t in the original plan.

And the fact that she realllly loved lighter flooring.

I honestly told her that at this point it was  a mindset and decision to be made by her and her only.

Either we stick with it or would have to change the design altogether because a light grey wood like vinyl  flooring wouldn’t be cohesive with the walnut vanity.

In the end, she decided it wasn’t worth all the trouble since the majority of the bathroom was still going to be white.

I don’t think she will be truly at peace about it until the bathroom is done.


But making the decision to accept change definitely helps you get through the myriad of confusion, frustration and disappointment.

You accept the new decision and move on. Even if it isn’t perfect.

As long as it is good enough to still make you happy about the space, that is enough reason to move forward.

In other words, compromise doesn’t always feel good but as long as you still get enough satisfaction from the overall space, everyone wins in the end.

Opposite Design Styles: Ready, Set, Negotiate!

Don’t let the word negotiate turn you off. It doesn’t have to be formal at all.

My point is for you and your partner to reduce as much emotionality about who is right. Because honestly, isn’t that what usually gets us in trouble?

You and I know, we all like to have the last word.

However living in a shared space, we need to honor each other’s relationship with the space as a separate entity. This is something we tend to forget.

Recently, I asked my Instagram followers to give me some examples of what they struggle with.

One follower responded saying her husband hated anything with rattan or wicker. However she absolutely loved it! What was she to do?

She really, really wanted some in her own home.

When discussing different perspectives about design in your home, here are some tips:

  1. Speak in a clear and specific manner. For example, I really would love this cute rattan stool for the corner seating area.
  2. Next, state back what the other person responded with and propose a resolution.
  3. I understand you really don’t like rattan. However I do. Would you consider trying it out in this corner? It would mean a lot to me. Maybe we can take turns in trying out new things or placing things we love in the home.
  4. Make sure the both of you walk away with something you are satisfied with. A successful negotiation is not necessarily a large coup. A successful interchange  is when both of you come to the table and worked together for a compromise.
  5. Give yourselves a hug and high five for making your home a place of wellness and tranquility by not fighting about it.
  6. That will send positive vibes into the home! The mindset you both choose will reverberate back into your home and will fuel wonderful happy memories.

Did you find this helpful?

I am ecstatic that I have the opportunity to share both interior design and relational tips for you!

Let me know what other dilemmas you have at home and I’ll  respond on the blog in detail!


Happy day!


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