Five ways to win the interior design war

6 Mins

Emily Murray of The Pink House reveals how to decorate your way in 2017 if your other half is not quite so keen on your more colourful interior design ideas.

A dreary new year is a great time to bring new life into your home. However, if your partner is anything like mine (likes beige walls; thinks tables shouldn’t look like flamingos), you might find they’re not quite so keen on your more colourful interior ideas. Luckily, I’ve developed ways of convincing my other half to let me do nearly anything when it comes to interior design. Here, I share with you my top tips on winning the interior war.

Rebrand your plans

If you want to paint the hallway pink, whatever you do don't say: “I want to paint the hallway pink.” Unless your husband/partner is a hipster or doesn't care what you do with your home (in which case this feature isn't for you), I can pretty much guarantee the answer will be: “Are you having a laugh?”. Instead, choose the exact shade of pink (or turquoise, or gold, or whatever) you're after, and give the colour its 'proper' brand name. For example, in our hallway I thought Farrow & Ball's dark pink 'Setting Plaster' might work well, and pitched it as such, with no mention of pink at all. Plaster has a nice DIY, manly feel to it, and I stressed that it.

Exploit their lazy side

This trick works best on partners who are too busy to spend any time doing up the house. However, it does require a bit of patience. Say you are redecorating your bedroom, but can't get him to agree to your carefully thought-out plans (best if you can show him mood boards or at least a Pinterest board to demonstrate how much effort you've put in). Instead of getting frustrated, sweetly ask him to pull together his own Pinterest/mood board to show how he would like the room to look. Leave it a week, then ask to see it. It's highly unlikely he'll have done anything at all; you are now in a much stronger bargaining position.

Use subliminal advertising

Introduce the ‘wacky’ idea (in my case, the perspex Philippe Starck for Kartell Louis Ghost chairs) as early as possible. Expect flat-out rejection at first as he struggles to deal with the new concept. Then, over the following few weeks, casually leave magazines lying around showing stunning rooms featuring the chairs. Next, locate the item in a cool bar or stylish friend's house, and hang out there. You might casually say: “Oh, aren't those the chairs I liked?” Use past tense so he doesn't feel pressurised. After a month or two of this subliminal advertising the item will literally seem part of the furniture, and will have been shown off in its best light, without pressure to buy. This tip is so effective you may even find he suggests buying the item himself, thinking it was his idea (this actually happened with the Ghost chairs).

Appear to compromise

This is about knowing his interior hates (which ideally are your interior loves), and making a showy 'sacrifice'. For example, I know my husband hates cushions, seeing them as unnecessary clutter (he's a minimalist at heart - it's a wonder we ever got together), whereas I have something approaching a cushion fetish. It's an ongoing battle. So when I set my heart on a deeply fabulous blue-and-pink velvet armchair, knowing the husband would resist, I came out with: “This gorgeous armchair would look even more amazing with these (show picture of outlandish cushions), but I know you hate clutter so I'd be willing to sacrifice those *sad smile*”. The armchair (and the cushions) has been a fixture in our home for a year now. In fact, we have two of them.

Time it right

As in any relationship, timing is everything. Which is why I waited until my birthday before telling him about the enormous scrape down the side of the car. Same goes for those important interiors ideas. Our La Voliere bird cage lamp, for example, was agreed to after he’d just returned from a week long work trip to the US, leaving me with the kids and a stinking cold. As he put it, buying this ridiculous, fake-bird-covered lamp was the least he could do. So I suggested he ease his guilt by popping out for some chocolate and Champagne.

For more interior inspiration visit The Pink House.

interiors / The Pink House / New Year

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