I Live With a Man

March 26, 2015

It’s true. I know a lot of you do too and I get asked a TON how to handle decorating and DIY decisions with a spouse. I honestly don’t think I’m a lot of help here – my husband has learned to trust that my sometimes crazy ideas will work out in the end. I have it pretty easy when it comes to decorating and making minor changes to the house.
The little stuff I don’t even run by him – he could honestly care less about colors or fabrics or accessories. I mean…looking at that stuff is pure torture for him. If I asked I’d get a “that looks great!” for everything anyway. That being said, he’s always appreciative and comments on it when it’s done. When it comes to medium-sized projects like the idea of moving our laundry room to the basement or extending our kitchen island, I discuss it with him for budgeting reason and so he’s not totally shocked when he comes home from a business trip. ;) Ha! Just joking. Kinda.
And of course the big stuff we decide on together, like knocking down the wall in our family room last year. Actually my husband was the one pushing to build on to the house and I was trying to convince him the other option would work out pretty great. He couldn’t visualize it like I could but as it started to happen he saw my vision. That’s the thing – we’ve been together so long, he now knows that he’ll love what I do to the house. There are very rare occasions when he HATES an idea so when that happens I squash it right then and there.
But there are items we have to compromise on. There are a few things in our home that he LOVES and is adamant about keeping. I’m really not one for a “perfect” house – I want a lived in, comfy house. But I’m a girl who loves to decorate and a blogger who talks about decorating so, yes, there are things I’m not crazy about that he wants to keep around.
One is the sofa in our living room. I hate it. OK, hate is a strong word. Loathe:   gallery wall above sofa
It looks all sweet and innocent from here but (I’m going to rant for a second, prepare yourself) it’s impossible to clean, any type of cleaner leaves glaring marks on the upholstery (even water, grrr), it’s ginormous, the cat hair sticks to it like a magnet and the back cushions are attached so I can’t take them off to fluff or adjust or anything. Oh and I hate the color.
Yes I picked it out. We got the sofa ten years ago to fill this spot, and I made a few purchases I regret as I was just trying to “fill spots.” Live and learn.
BUT! It is so crazy comfy – almost too much so. You literally sink into it so it’s kind of funny watching guests sit down for the first time. ;) This is his nap couch – does your husband have one? 
He has conceded that’s too big for the room (mostly because it makes the placement of the huge Christmas tree that he loves difficult). He loves the tree more than the sofa, thankfully. So yes, one day this one is going, or at least moving to a different spot in the house. But it’s not a priority, obviously, because I’ve been sharing my loathing of this sofa for at least six years now. It’s comfy, I can hide most of the spots with pillows and we’re lucky that we even have a sofa in this room. (That’s what I repeat to myself.)
There are two items that he won’t budge on – no matter what. No way, no how, THEY ARE STAYING WOMAN. I present to you, the recliners:
decorating with a spouse
Well, that’s one. The other one is in his office and even though he never uses that one and it’s too big for the room IT’S STAYING. Fine!
My husband is seriously the most patient, sweetest soul but when I talk about his chairs he gets a teensy bit protective. Now I know they’re never leaving, ever, as long as I live, so I’ve succumbed. But when I joke about replacing them someday he throws himself across one and declares his love and then I’m all, just joking, calm down man, wow!
We got these chairs as a gift when we got married, so they’ve been around for a while. Yes, I helped pick them out. Yes, they appear to be purple in some light. Yes, they are insanely, wonderfully, scrumptiously comfortable:
basement decor
You see that I try to hide it with a cute pillow and a blanket. I like to pretend it helps.
But I deal. It’s not worth doing anything in our home if he doesn’t love to be here too. It’s just as much his house as it is mine, it doesn’t matter who picks out the pillows or accessories.
Here’s another angle because you know you want it:

Dead sexy!
See? The throw helps, yes? No?
These are his babies and they are staying. I took a nap in this one the other day and was secretly loving it but don’t tell him I said that.
These are just a couple of the items in our home that we compromise on. The decorator in me has learned to deal. The wife in me knows that it’s more important that we both feel at home here. But as I said, I think I have it pretty easy when it comes to this stuff. He knows this is my passion and gives me freedom. I know many of you have spouses who are a lot more involved and I would just say to you to try to compromise as much as you can. The chair you hate is probably the comfiest spot in the house, am I right? As you can see, a perfectly placed throw makes ALL the difference. ;)
(By the way, I hope you all know to take my “ranting” with a grain of salt – I appreciate every bit of our home but I appreciate the people in it even more.)
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  1. I know what you are talking about, girl! You speak straight from my heart on this! You made me chuckle with your statements....
    Your photo of the basement recliner shows two Eames-style chairs in green; I do not recall you ever mentioned those on the blog. Since you are thrifty, can you let me in on the secret where you got them? (pls answer me under puppe at Verizon dot net)

  2. What is it about men and their recliners?! They are all the same.

  3. The pillow and blanket does help! Your house is so beautiful no one probably even notices ;) My husband too has a chair just like this but in the ugly cloth version. It resides in our bedroom.. gasp! I have been planning on getting rid of it for 4 years. My challenge has been to find something equally as comfortable, but pretty to look at. Or I could just let the kids spin it around and around until it breaks! Good Luck! ;)

  4. What a darling post. And I agree ... there is no point in creating a beautiful home if the people you love can't be comfortable in it. Comfort is its own beauty.

  5. Haha! We are in the same boat! We have a sofa in our living room that I've blogged about getting rid of "in time". It's very similar in style to yours, but a different fabric and colour. I have all of those issues that you have (plus a few spots that got clawed good), but it IS super comfy and my hubby does use it to nap too! Oh well, we'll get there eventually. :)

  6. Great post. My husband goes to work every day, thinks out side the box, gets things done, but when it comes to our home, he can't get his head around doing anything different then the "way it's suppose to be done" I get a "that would never work", "why would you want to do that?" questions. Luckily he goes over seas once every couple of months for a week and I try to cram all my projects into that week he's gone. The last time he was gone, I turned our formal dining room (which we never used) into a library, with black walls. It looks awesome, we have a large window that gets Southern exposure. One time, I did a mini reno on the kids bathroom, next time he goes away I'm working on our living room. hehe

  7. Where or where did the green chairs come from? Love! Do tell! Thanks!!

  8. I love this post especially about the recliner. My husband has one in our living room that I refer to as the "elephant". Two reasons: the size and what it took for him to get one. There were many, many discussions about it. I had to compromise on a lot on that chair. His motto was "the puffier, the better". I disagreed with that thinking and wanted style over comfort. However, because of the size of the chair, it is impossible to move anywhere else in our living room. It is tucked away in a corner that you see from every angle of our living area. But because our living and dining room are connected by one large opening, I can't move it anywhere else in our space. There are days when I think of all the possibilities of adding a sectional in the area where his chair is at and how much more seating we could get my rearranging our furniture if we only got rid of that chair. Then reality hits. He loves his chair (so do I secretly because it is comfortable) and it is his home too. As he has reminded me several times, "I only have two spaces in this home: my recliner and office. The rest is yours." So I can deal with that. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Not all men are the same ;) In fact, I'm the one in our home that's always trying to simplify things. Many years ago we lost all our possessions to a faulty concrete foundation (long story) so ever since then, my wife and I have never been one to get attached to inanimate things. If my wife wants to change something or get rid of something in our home I'm all for it.
    Your couch is not bad at all, in fact I think it looks good. I think the throw and pillow does help the recliner, but what do I know - I have never owned a recliner.

  10. You make me laugh so much. I love your decorating ideas, I would love to actually live in your home, but I love your words, too. You are just so funny. Thanks for the beautiful pictures of a beautiful house, and for the fun words to go along with those pictures!

  11. This is awesome! Sounds very similar to our house.

  12. I was SO EXCITED when my husband agreed to purchase a new couch for our only living space. It was time to kick those 20-year-old hand-me-downs to the curb and buy some grown-up furniture for a change.

    I dreamed of leather...beautiful leather button-tufted and trimmed in nailheads. With lovely turned legs so I can sweep the dog hair out from under. And plump, colorful pillows to add some fun. Oh, is that a gorgeous navy rug on the floor? Why yes! Yes it is!

    Aaaand then I woke up. In 11 years of marriage, how did it never come up that he DESPISES nailhead trim? And that button-tufts make his sphincter clench from imagined discomfort in the seating area? And that pillows are made for nothing more than squashing behind a sweaty head or back after a long day?

    I got my leather. It's not brown, thank God. I got my big navy blue rug (and it's indoor-outdoor, so easy to clean with 3 boys and 2 dogs). I got two gorgeous down-filled pillows, that are being pummeled into brokenness as the wayward feathers are forcibly yanked from that formerly gorgeous fabric. The couch still has a recliner. It has a huge, stick-outy chaise. But is has memory foam seat cushions, so, there's that.

    So, I gave in. ALOT. Again. But, with a single living space in this house, I suppose it's worth it not to have to hear moaning and groaning every time he wants to sit on the couch.

  13. My hubby's hobby is saltwater aquariums. Yes, they are pretty and unique but a pain to decorate around! It's not as if you can rearrange them. He took over my office, now his "man fish cave" and I grieved the loss of my beautifully decorated space for about a week and then....*cue Elsa.....LET IT GO!

    P.S. I love the shot of kitty looking like he is ready to pounce across the room onto something! My cats are constantly flying across the room from one piece of furniture to the next. "I CAN MAKE IT" you can see it in their faces!

  14. Oh Sarah, I was laughing as I read this post. My husband is 6'4" and he has a HUGE recliner that fits him very well. But I was able to move it to the Man Cave this week as we ordered some chairs for our living room that everyone can enjoy! And you are right, we have such nice husbands that we should just learn to live with their desires as well as our own.

  15. Couldn't help but notice that the kitty kat in one of your photos looked like he was up to some mischief! LOL!

  16. Throws and pillows really make big comfy chairs look nice ;) Your home looks lovely. We have a large leather recliner in our family room. With a hubby and two young men I am constantly picking up the pillow and throw that 'belong' on it. As you said, it is very comfortable. My husband is extremely tolerant of my decorating and moving things about and our tighter budget keeps me from replacing too many things.

  17. What is it with men and recliners? I sold my husband's favorite big chair a few years ago at a garage sale. He was not happy. He and our daughter still give me grief. So now every time I'm in a furniture store, I look for a new one. Some day I'll find a replacement but haven't found anything close yet.

  18. My husband has learned to trust my judgment over the years, too. He builds things and has no idea what he's doing as I direct him, but I let him take the credit when we're done lol. He doesn't say much about decorating unless something just doesn't function well. That's why he hates our white sofas. Even though he never washes the slipcovers he just gets mad seeing them get dirty because he knows what a pain it is to wash them and put them back on.

  19. My day started off dreadful. Thank you for writing this post and making it better! I just had to laugh. You are more patient than me. I usually ignore what hubby says and wait till he is not home to change or remove things. Hehe. He gets over it, eventually. Sometimes I move things to the garage and say it was so I could take some photos, then forget to bring them back in. ;) Julie

  20. That equality thing is all wrong, I always said that. It makes men think they have a right to make furniture decisions. :P

    They just don't know their place hun: barefooted (ok with workboots on is better) with jeans and a tool belt, in the basement, making pretty things for us.

    The nerve.

  21. How about a beautiful slip cover for that sofa? It's been around for a long time, so it probably has good bones, despite the hard to live with fabric. I've got a couple of pieces like that too!

  22. I think the sofa would be great if you have it recovered. One of your local upholstery fabric stores could guide you to a more family & pet friendly fabric and a good upholsterer. If you have good bones, you can always make a silk purse from a sow's ear! Good luck!

  23. Absolutely loved this post. So fun. And I love when you get a little personal! Gosh we should be BFF in real life.

  24. hahahaha Sorry gals, I'm the one insisting on a recliner! I actually told my husband I would not have a baby without a swivel easy boy! I cannot tell you how many nights I managed to get some rest with a sick child laying on my chest. So comfortable & comforting that as I listened to the wind blowing outside while nursing my son I was unaware it was a hurricane raging outside! We desperately but cannot find one small enough w/recliner. Also old recliner chair was relegated to our old dog as her own. Trust me, that went over well.....:-)

    1. desperately need a couch but needs to be small w/ recliner. I really should have previewed that comment!

  25. Haha! Perfect post! Somehow, my Husband and I have managed the art of compromise in a very similar fashion. Always good to hear from like minded souls in the world. (And there's always more throw pillows, right?) :)

  26. What a sweet post that shows how much you honor your husband. That's so neat how you both work together and how he lets you experiment and try your ideas.

    I have a big elk head with antlers in my living room that has become totally faded on one side by the sun. It looks albino! But it was my hubby's first animal taken using archery and he's kind of attached to it. And to think I heartily encouraged him to get it mounted. lol

  27. I'm lucky like you; my husband lets me have pretty much free reign. There are a couple of places he insists on something I really do not want, but they do not matter enough to create any real issues.

    When building our house he insisted on granite. I didn't want to $pend the money. I wish we had not done it because the seam keeps splitting. So disappointing. But it is pretty, and I know he was trying to make things even nicer for us, which is always his goal.

    Our other divide when building was the hardwoods. I wanted hand scraped hardwoods in dark walnut, he wanted the color of a school gym. We compromised on the one thing neither of us hated, but neither of us loved - it's our favorite thing in the house!

  28. We have a chair like that in our family room. I don't like it, but I deal. I do sit in it quite a bit as it is quite comfy, but I really hate how it looks. Maybe I need a throw blanket and a pillow on it to make it look better....

  29. Love this post! Funny thing... When we moved into our house the first thing on my agenda was paint the Knotty pine paneling like lettered cottage did to theirs. Imagine my surprise and dismay when me hubby refused. It's the ONE thing he doesn't want me to change about the house. Never make assumptions people, communication is key! It's only in the living room niche, the rest is sheet rock,but I have had to try to figure out how to make Knotty pine look good. It's been an adventure. Here's my unprofessional work in progress (this pic was not styled for a photo, I'm not a blogger!) I'm actually starting to like the wood a little.


  30. When my husband and I bought our new house in 2012, we made a deal. If I "let" him build his garage, I could decorate the inside of our house...no questions asked. When I found out how much his garage was going to cost him/us, I told him that for every dollar he spent, I was going to put that same dollar amount into the house. He asked me "can you actually do that"? My reply to him..."stand back and watch"! I've gotten two bedrooms/bathrooms completed, the kitchen painted, and my fireplace wall painted, but at least I've started.

  31. very informative post for me as I am always looking for new content that can help me and my knowledge grow better.


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