couple's design

There you are, thinking already about starting a couple’s design project with your beloved in the New Year and so … I now pronounce you …. a designing couple.

This is either a great thing, and we throw the rice. Or, it’s a bad thing and we wrap you in bubble wrap to help you survive the bumpy road ahead.

I just got back from a particularly long design meeting – four hours to be exact. But, because it was with a lovely couple, we got a ton accomplished. This couple emulates the very best of designing with your other half.

But, I’ve also been in design meetings with couples where, by meeting’s end, I thought to myself, not only do these two need a divorce, but I want a divorce (from them), too.

3 Great Tips to Keep You & Your Spouse Happy

#1 – Agree on the Budget FIRST

The absolute WORST way to go at any design project is with a “let’s look around first and see what we need in the budget” attitude. You will always like the higher cost, better looking options. Without a budget decision first, someone will get their heart set on something they ultimately can’t have and the Couples Budget Battles start.

Make your life even easier by not only setting the budget first before you start, but set the budget range rather than a fixed number.  Ranges are easiest to live to and work with.

In the end, by setting up a budget agreement early, you’ll keep stress low and keep your search to brands, retailers, manufacturers, builders and subs that fall within a spend range that’s comfortable to both of you.

#2 – Decide Who is the “Lead” on a Certain Room

I highly recommend this brilliant move. Divvy up the voting power to 51-to-49 on a certain room, and then flip that voting power to favor your partner on other rooms. Everyone wins.

For example, in the meeting I just came from, “he” was the lead for the bar and she was the lead in the kitchen. They both needed to like a selection, but in cases where it was a toss-up, it was wonderful when “he” can look at me as the designer and say “We agreed that this is really more “her” space so let’s go with “her” first choice on this one.” (Do you hear angels singing??? I do!!!)

#3 – Have a Project-Start-Pow-Wow to Set Goals, Intentions, & Ground Rules

Before you look at one sofa, kitchen cabinet, tile, or fabric, take your beloved out to dinner, lunch or coffee and let them know you’d like to just set some ground rules and goals for Project X.

At this meeting, aside from setting your project budget and decide who is “the lead” in which space or area, also decide that:

  • Goal #1 is a beautiful end result you’ll both enjoy day after day, year after year.
  • Goal #2 for BOTH of you is to make your partner happy.
  • Goal #3 is recognizing that you’ll both have to compromise at times. As long as you’re both making an equal number of compromises, then all’s fair in love and design.
  • Goal #4 is that you will, no matter what, treat each other well throughout the process.
  • Goal #5 is that this unwritten rule: Nothing … as in … no THING is more important than your love for each other and your relationship. No fabric, no flat screen TV, no sofa trumps how you feel about each other.

In the end, what good is a beautiful room or home if it lacks peace and joy because you had a slog-fest getting there?

Be wise in design. Show gracious generosity to your partner and watch it return to you multiplied.

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