Design Compromise: How to Design Spaces with Your Significant Other

Design Compromise: How to Design Spaces with Your Significant Other - roomfortuesday.comHappy Friday, friends! We are moving right along on our bathroom projects- the basement AND the powder room refresh (I was serious when I said this is shaping up to be the year of bath makeovers, ha). Those reveals are coming soon, and I’m excited to share more! In the meantime, I wanted to tackle a question I get allllll the time…”How do you and Emmett compromise as you design and renovate spaces? Does he weigh in or do you just go with your own plan?” Click through to read how we work together, as I answer these questions. I’m also sharing some tips on how to work with your significant other or spouse. Maybe they’ll be helpful for your next big project.

Be Willing to Meet in the Middle

Did you catch our basement media room updates this week? Well, if not- there was a very big design compromise in there… the leather recliner! Emmett has been begging for a reclining chair for YEARS (ok, basically our entire marriage). I took a trip to HomeGoods earlier in the week and made all his leather chair dreams come true!

Design Compromise: How to Design Spaces with Your Significant Other - roomfortuesday.comI’ll admit I wasn’t super excited at the thought of a recliner (they’re typically super bulky and don’t exactly match our aesthetic), but seeing that one at HomeGoods was meant to be. It has clean, classic lines, is a nice cognac / tobacco color, and it has a nice nailhead trim detail… which feels more representative of our style. The big lesson for me was this…  I needed to give recliners a chance- both because when have I ever let a design challenge stop me in the past, and because it makes Emmett SO happy. Seriously, he hasn’t left that chair since we put in the basement!

Design Compromise: How to Design Spaces with Your Significant Other - roomfortuesday.comThink through why you don’t like the idea of something (like a recliner, in my scenario) and how you can find an item or solution that appeals to the both of you. It’s honestly all about compromise. I never thought I’d buy a recliner, but here we are! Stranger things have happened, I suppose. My point being… meet in the middle. I’m very stubborn and strong willed, so this one can be challenging for me.

Think About Your Strengths

This is a big one for us! Emmett is very analytical (he’s an accountant, by trade) and is a great big picture thinker. I’m a total detail-oriented creative person, which is actually helpful when we think through projects together. I focus on all of the little things and he is always taking a step back and thinking big picture and budget. It helps us think of things from all angles.

Design Compromise: How to Design Spaces with Your Significant Other - roomfortuesday.comI want everything to be aesthetically pleasing, but also functional. Believe me when I say- it IS possible to have both in a space… even in a tricky bathroom renovation (remember my Form vs Function post on bathroom essentials?). I’ve come to find, when Emmett and I each weigh in on a project, we come up with better solutions and the project ends up exceeding our expectations. Two brains are always better than one! However, I will say… Emmett leaves 95% of the design plan to me (again- he knows my strength is design and creativity). He’s more likely to chime in when discussing the budget, building, or functionality. Sometimes it’s good to have parameters- they force me to be more creative and think outside the box, and he’s really good at setting those boundaries for us.

Talk About the End Result

Speaking of results, dreaming of how you want your home to look and function is SO important! We’re constantly talking about what rooms we want to tackle, and how we envision using them in the future. If we go on a dinner date, we always end up brainstorming and dreaming up new ideas for our home (because we’re both super passionate about it). It just gets us excited. We’re obviously tackling our home renovation room-by-room, but that doesn’t mean we’re not considering other spaces that are on the longterm agenda. It’s very rewarding to plan, think about, and discuss a space in the present, then see it come to fruition months or years down the road. I feel proud of us a couple when we accomplish our home goals together!

Design Compromise: How to Design Spaces with Your Significant Other - roomfortuesday.comEach room in your home is connected and is apart of the bigger picture (this is where Emmett excels), so thinking about how spaces come together as a single unit under the same roof (aka- your home) is important. Renovating our kitchen meant thinking about the formal living room and eventually the dining room, when we get to that project. Rooms don’t have to match, but they need to flow together and work with your lifestyle and aesthetic. Emmett is great at planning and setting us up for the next room renovation. He tackles things behind the walls (like plumbing) that leads to a domino effect for future remodeling. When I said he’s a big picture thinker, he thinks ahead… here’s a good example: he made sure to check plumbing and electrical issues off his list while the walls were opened up, that way we don’t have to demo the drywall a second time and worry about those issues when tackling the dining room. I appreciate his efficiency. It makes the end result much easier!

Celebrate Your Wins

Have you and your significant other tackled a big (or small) project together with an incredible result? Make time to celebrate your victories! Whether that’s going out for a fancy dinner or inviting friends over for drinks, we always make sure to give ourselves (and each other) a pat on the back once we’re finished. Lots of people ask if it’s difficult working with your spouse. Once we figured out how to communicate efficiently in a work environment (renovating), it’s honestly not bad! If anything, I feel like it makes our marriage stronger, because we make a great team and can be proud of our accomplishments together.

Design Compromise: How to Design Spaces with Your Significant Other - roomfortuesday.comI will say- taking the time to step back and appreciate all the things you’ve done together is a great way to motivate yourself for the next big project. Our mentality is work hard, then play hard. I can’t say we’ve perfected our work / life balance, but we’re doing a lot better. We tackle a LOT of projects around here, but we also take a lot of breaks in between and plan fun things together. Whether it’s a weekend camping trip, kayaking for the day, driving up in the mountains to ski, or taking time to lounge and simply watch a movie together- it’s nice to be on the same page and know we’re both working equally as hard, so we can enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Design Compromise: How to Design Spaces with Your Significant Other - roomfortuesday.comSpeaking of working together, Emmett and I are ready to finish up the tile in our basement bathroom this weekend. I think we’re on the homestretch and should be ready to share the big reveal within a week or two! Do you and your spouse work well together on projects? What are some of your biggest hurdles? Disagreements and comprising is totally normal- renovating can be stressful, but the important thing to remember is to keep communicating. I hope these tips help you with your next home project. Have a wonderful weekend!

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  1. These seem like overall good partnership tips! We learned early on that home projects were not my fella’s forte; he happily leaves design decisions to me. He excels at appreciating my hard work and style genius.🤣 He does “get to” see all the paint, fabric and tile swatches, as well as hear my (exhaustive) commentary. Kidding aside, I appreciate batting ideas around with him; he shares his opinion, asks interesting questions and keeps the big picture in mind. His main gift, honestly, is knowing me really well. 💖 Regardless of who’s swinging the hammer, making a home together takes two. Your insights about keeping it harmonious seem spot on!
    Here’s to celebrating Friday is our happy homes!

    1. Hey- being appreciated and showing admiration is wayyyy up there on the list :) I love hearing that! It sounds like he knows you so well! My favorite sentence of the week…. “Regardless of who’s swinging the hammer, making a home together takes two.” This is why your comments make my day- always so insightful!! Have a happy Friday and a wonderful weekend… and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Joe!! xo

  2. I love reading this! My husband and I are similar to you and Emmett. I love design and have the creative vision, but he is super practical, technical, and aware of the budget. I used to find his input annoying, but now I realize that we truly do come up with a better design overall when we make choices we’re both happy with. Another skill that my husband has is finding look a likes. I will source a very expensive item and he’ll manage to find a great knockoff or sometimes even just an item I wish existed but can’t find.

    1. So glad you liked this one, Beth :) It really takes both brains to create an incredible space… plus it’s fun to tackle projects together (then enjoy them together once they’re finished). It sounds like your husband is a keeper! Emmett isn’t great at sourcing products, but sometimes he’ll find a gem or share something I didn’t know about or consider. It’s always a nice surprise. Have a wonderful weekend! xo

  3. omg i feel that recliner debate so deeply in my soul!! hahaha! my husband has been begging me for a recliner for 12 years. TWELVE YEARS. i thought an eames lounger might suffice about 5 years ago but it’s just not the same. i finally told him this year that our next big purchase for our home would be a recliner. i don’t think he believes me but i’ve found a couple that i’m willing to compromise on when we can swing it. i swear it will be the greatest thing i’ve ever done for him. :)

    1. What is it with husbands and recliners?! Dudes, ha. My thoughts exactly… by far, the best gift I have ever given him- I couldn’t even fathom how happy it’s making him. So funny! :) Have a great weekend!

  4. I love your mantra ” Work hard, play hard”! You two remodel very well together! Remodeling a home with your spouse requires so much patience, communication and planning. Kudos to you both for being in it together.
    You have mentioned you went to design school. What did Emmett go to school for…construction, engineering, etc? My hubby is a financial advisor and math wizard! He does all the measuring, budgets, practical thinking. I am the dreamer, schemer, project list maker! He goes along with my ideas and messes without too much complaint.
    Happy Friday! Have a great weekend to you both!

    1. Thank you, Danna! The more we renovate, the better we get at finding our work flow TOGETHER. It hasn’t always been this easy- our first house was definitely a learning process. Haha! Yep- I went to design school. Emmett went to business school. We both graduated from Indiana University. He’s an accountant and COO by day… handyman, contractor, and renovating extraordinaire on night & weekends. It’s a lot of hours, but he says he loves doing both and won’t give up either. We both grew up in construction / handy families. Fun story- Emmett and I actually helped his parents build their current home while were dating in high school. Hope you two have a fabulous weekend as well :) xo

  5. BTW, you live in such a beautiful state to do so many fun activities year around! Envious!

    1. We really do… that’s exactly why we moved here! We feel super lucky to have so many stunning outdoor activities in our backyard. It’s pretty wonderful being Utah residents :)

  6. I wish my husband and I would mesh gears as well! I have a clear sense of the look and feel I’m working toward, and he doesn’t value that and will try to switch out one element for something that strongly catches his fancy but is out of tune with the other stuff! We have a tiny dexcor and reno budget and sometimes disagree over paying more for something with good looks than basic/purely functional for less. However after ten years he’s mostly made his peace about it, but will sometimes say it’s not his house (because while my style is simple,clean, and not girly or anything our styles are pretty different)! 😭

    1. That’s tricky, Julie! I feel like it’s definitely a give and take. Emmett and I haven’t always loved the exact same aesthetic, but over time- have created a combined style that fits both of our preferences- maybe we just morphed together at some point. At first, there was a lot of compromising for the both of us though. We definitely disagree on the budget from time-to-time and the things that are worth paying more for. I think he has come to learn that quality items usually cost more, but last much longer and stick with us for the long haul. Happy Friday! :)

  7. Hello you two. It’s Sunday, so I imagine the tiling has gone well and perhaps you slipped in some skiing as a result? I am happy to report that Mr Man and I really work well together, like you guys. We owned and operated a residential property management company for seven years (no small feat, let me tell you). We had our own rental properties on top of that, and we have bought and upgraded three houses together over the past 12 years. Apparently we have some pretty complementary skill sets and temperaments, seeing as how we still really love, like and respect each other.

    Anyway, I enjoyed your post about the two of you, as I do each every beautifully articulate post that you write. Cheers, Ardith

    P.S. Big shout out to Emmett in his comfy man chair.

    1. Man, I was so close. That should have read “…as I do each AND every…”

    2. Tiling went really well! Thank you, Ardith. I wish we could’ve snuck some ski time in, but the weather was SO nice- we decided to take the dogs on a little walk / hike instead. It was equally as wonderful. I love hearing that you and Mr Man work so well together. I’m also super impressed you owned and operated a property management company. That’s amazing!! I think you may have us beat for 3 houses in 12 years- incredible! Emmett says hello from his comfy recliner :) Have a wonderful week! xo