5 Tips for Couples Who Can’t Agree on a Design Plan

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home decor couple cant agree

Sometimes agreeing on an interior design direction can be tough. Here are some ways to take two visions for home decor & design, and unify them for the better.


When opposites attract, home renovations and remodels become a potential battleground. You stand in your corner with a paint roller, your partner stands in the other with a brush, and neither of you can decide on what color to slap on the walls. From gutting your master bath to decorating the nursery, follow these five tips to agree on a design plan with your significant other.

1. Create separate inspiration boards

It might sound corny, but an inspiration board reflects your vision for the design project. Sit down at the computer and create a collection of photographs, paint color samples, and other graphics to represent your ideas. Ask your significant other to do the same.

Upon completion, compare your inspiration boards. Look specifically for areas where you overlap. Maybe you love mid-century modern decor and your spouse prefers an industrial vibe, but perhaps you’ve chosen a similar color scheme or an analogous layout. Use those similarities as a jumping-off point for the design.

2. Dare to mix and match

Sometimes couples suffer from the all-or-nothing syndrome. Just because your spouse sneers at your plan for the kitchen remodel doesn’t mean they can’t get on board with a few of your ideas. Ask what your partner absolutely hates and what they could learn to like. You do the same.

Who says you can’t mix modern and traditional aesthetics to create a unique style all your own? The dreaded word uttered by marriage counselors everywhere — compromise — doesn’t mean letting go of your vision for the space. Instead, it means combining your vision with your partner’s ideas and watching it become a cohesive reality.

3. Incorporate DIY projects

A do-it-yourself project requires creativity and innovation. Just because you found an inspirational photograph on Pinterest doesn’t mean you have to recreate it right down to the tile shape and paint color. Use DIY projects to bring out your creativity and see how it meshes with your partner’s. Maybe you’ll love the space simply because you created it together.

4. Talk through the budget

Approximately 70 percent of couples experience tension due to financial issues. Don’t let money interfere with — or cause — your design dilemmas. If you discover you can’t complete the project on a reasonable budget, put it off until a later date. When you run into design issues, talk over the budget before you pick up a hammer or a paintbrush.

5. Work with a professional

Sometimes design issues arise because couples forget how to communicate with one another. To prevent squabbles, consider hiring a professional designer to help you work through your incompatibilities and discover new solutions. You’ll keep calmer heads when you throw a stranger into the mix.

The inspiration board described above comes in handy when working with a designer. Provide them with examples of your individual tastes, then see how a professional marries the two in blissful harmony.

A shared vision in mind

Couples often find they don’t agree on specific design plans. Instead of retreating to your separate corners, work through the problem with a shared vision in mind: you both want to complete the project. Use the above tips to keep calm and to find ways to compromise. Sometimes, the best results come when visions are combined!


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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.