Dear Robin: My wife and I are buying a new house and we have very different taste in furniture. She likes ridiculous shabby cottage crap, and I like stylish, sleek, modern, and mid-century modern furniture. I don’t want to live in a beautiful house full of ugly furniture. What should I do? Please do not use my name or initials if you want me to survive the week.
Dear Guy Who Doesn’t Like His Wife’s Taste in Furniture (can I just call you Sam?)
I think this would be a more common struggle if it weren’t for the fact that many men just give up on this issue and abdicate the decorating decisions to the woman. After all, she has breasts, so she must inherently be smarter about decorating and anything related to children. And feelings.
So, good for you that you are willing to stand up and be counted in this matter. A lot of guys would be worried that the wife would arch her eyebrows at a man wanting to help style the home, especially if he uses words like “stylish,” “sleek,” and “mid-century modern.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
In all seriousness, a lot of men do stand down to their wives when it comes to decorating, and I don’t think they should. I assume you work, or you wouldn’t be able to buy a home. This isn’t 2006, after all. When you come home at the end of the day, you need to be surrounded by people and things that make you feel good. If every time you walk into your house you see a bunch of furniture that offends your stylistic sensibilities, you won’t be a happy camper. This can lead to silent seething (discussed in a previous column) and the building of a resentment volcano. One way or another, that sucker is gonna blow. Let’s see if we can prevent your lava flow of unhappiness from descending upon the village you call your home.
Oh man, that is some tortured writing there. I need another Nespresso.
Let me make some assumptions from your letter. Your wife wants something like this:
And you would prefer something like this:
(see what I did there? that’s my house!)
or maybe this:
I think there is a compromise out there for you and your wife. For example, this:
There are lots of options out there for you both. I suggest being very open about your feelings and insisting that you compromise as you decorate your new home. Don’t spend a dime until you are both sure you can live with and love whatever you are purchasing. If you’ve got the money, you may want to consider hiring a decorator. If not, spend a good amount of time shopping together until you find what you both enjoy. This is your house too, so don’t capitulate!
Besides, shabby chic is SO over.