Post # 1
FI and I have been living in an apartment together for almost 2 years now. It is our first place out of college. I love living with him and I love our apartment. But it feels so much like a dorm room to me!! We have furnished it with the ancient furniture from my childhood bedroom and we have posters taped up on the wall. We have good jobs and can afford to spiff it up a bit. Nothing major–just a little touch here and there to make it feel more grown-up. I shared some ideas with him but he really doesn’t like the idea of spending any money whatsoever to improve our home.
I say: we live here every day (and planning to stay here for 3 more years), why can’t we take pride in where we live and make it look nice!
He says: that’s all superficial and what matters is that we love each other and that’s all we need.
He does have a point and I am in no way a superficial materialist person, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to live in a comfortable home! I guess it’s just a typical men vs. women thing, in that women are just by nature way more concerned with decorating and aesthetics??
Has anyone else had a similar impasse with your SO? Were you able to compromise? I’d really appreciate any advice.
Post # 2
beeconomist: is there any way you can incorporate some “upcycled” things into your home. Maybe find something cool at Goodwill and spruce it up, Pinterest has a ton of ideas and you two can work on it together. Maybe he will view home projects/decor as something y’all do together vs something you “waste” money on. I’m a huge decorator, so DH basically lets me do my thing with no interruptions, but if yours is hesitant, try and involve him on some really low budget projects.
Post # 3
beeconomist: I think it’s just a guy thing for the most part. My husband will never understand my need for throw pillows and vases but ever since he gave me a little room to spruce things up, he has since thanked me and admitted that I’ve made it feel more like a home here. Why don’t you create a budget and ask your FI how he feels about that certain amount of money going to decor? You may need to push him at first but as things start to come together, he’ll see the difference. If I had left it up to my DH, we’d still be living in a studio apartment with basic hand me downs and his Xbox ;P
Post # 4
beeconomist: Total guy thing. My FI has lived in his house for 6 years and hasn’t done much of anything to it. Still the colours from the last people on the walls.
Post # 5
it is my house that DH moved into, but if it were up to DH, the walls would be bare. i decorate to my liking.
it’s just a guy thing, do what you want.
Post # 6
There’s tons of room to compromise. Tell him that you don’t need to replace everything but want to spruce things up a bit and set a budget that you can both be happy with.
My husband and I rarely spend money on home furnishings. Most of our furniture is inherited or bought used. But we do consistently buy art or small home furnishings when we travel, which has the dual purpose of decorating our home and reminding us of lovely trips!
Post # 7
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
Totally a guy thing. And your experience is a totally normal part of learning to live together and work as a team.
When we first move in together, we rented a house with a lovely deck right off the kitchen. Mr. LK was super excited to get a grill, so we did. He had full reign to get whatever he wanted because I knew it was important to him. Then I suggested that we get a dining table and chairs so that we could enjoy our nice deck even more. He agreed, so I went shopping. I found a nice set with a table and 6 chairs for $800, and I was super proud of myself for being thrifty, because what I really wanted was a teak set that would have easily set us back $3k. I showed it to him and he had a coniption, wanting to know why we couldn;t buy a $50 plastic table and some $15 plastic chairs and call it a day. He was absolutely correct that a plastic table and chairs would still allow us to dine outside. He was also absolutely out of his gourd if he thought I was going to decorate our home like that. It was the first of several disagreements on whether or not we should spend money on just the basics, or upgrade to something a bit nicer looking. We did end up buying the set that I chose, and after we put it together Mr. LK turned to me and said that he was glad we spent the money because the set looked much nicer than a plastic table and chairs ever could. In that moment, he came to understand that I wasn’t trying to be frivilous. Rather, I was trying to create a nice environment for us to enjoy together. And he learned to trust my judgement on these things.
Now we have a system. We identify a need for something as a team and set a general budget for it, I scout out 3-4 things that I like to fill that need, and then he chooses from my selection. That way he gets input without having to do the legwork (because I am a control freak who likes doing that stuff and he really doesn;t care), and I am certain to get something I like, too, at a pricepoint we are both comfortable with.
Post # 8
- Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA
beeconomist: Do what I do – just buy the stuff you want (within reason of course) and put it up without even bothering to tell him. My husband would never buy artwork or organize the bookshelf by color (which looks awesome by the way!!!!) but after I do, he’s like “Oh that looks great sweetie!”
(ETA: of course I do consult with him on big purchases or big changes to the house… )
Post # 9
lolot: Exactly what I was going to say.
SERIOUSLY, as to not overwhelm the male species, it is best to SLOWLY add things over time, when they are not around. Before you know it, a room comes together, and they live happily ever after. I have been doing it for over a year, and it was not until after someone complimented our house, he said ‘she did it all! I swear every day something new is added”
*gee…so you noticed?!*
He never said a word though, because he secretly LOVES it!
Post # 10
DH never even had a bookcase before me. All his books sat on the floor of his closet. Before I moved in I told him I had to have bookcases, so he got one. Then I put up lots of picture frames that I had brought over. They are mostly photos of us, and some of friends and family. I also had a painting from visit to South Africa, and of course our map guest book. I took an afternoon and set everything up. It looks so much nicer.
DH of course didn’t care as he had lived with bare walls and only one couch and a tv stand in the living room. But once I set things up, he loved it and said it really felt like a home now.
So just go for it. Target has cheap $5 picture frames. Throw in some fun photos of you two and arrange the frames on a wall. Go to a thrift store and pick up a few odds and ends. You don’t need to spend much money to spruce it up. Then maybe he’ll see what a difference it makes!
Post # 11
beeconomist: since it honestly looks like you will be doing most of the decorating yourself I like the suggestion on Pinterest for some do it yourself things that will be inexpensive. It’s amazing what a couple bright couch cushions Can do! Your landlord if your renting might buy the paint for you of you say you will paint the walls yourself. I know it sucks that he won’t do much or contribute that much but I don’t think you can make him. Just do what you want!
Post # 12
Def a guy thing! When I met my husband he was 27 and slept on a leather couch and had all of his clothes in plastic bags. Now he hates listening to me talk about changing anything in our place, but loves what it looks like when it’s done. I think it’s just one of those things that you have to do and then have him experience the difference. We’ve never spent a lot of money on it, but out house is truley a home now.
Post # 13
I’m the same way. I really couldn’t care less about decor. If the furniture is functional, it’s good. I would suggest that you just buy the stuff you want with your own money, really. As long as everything’s still functional I doubt he’ll care.
Post # 14
It would never occur to me that I couldn’t just buy something that I liked, especially if he is not interested in decor. I would just go ahead and start decorating.
Post # 15
beeconomist: I’d just take that as free reign to decorate as I please. I have the opposite problem – my FI has an opinion on everything decor related and it makes decorating the house near impossible. We searched for a duvet cover for our bed for almost a year before finally finding one we both liked. Consider the typical apathetic male response a blessing!