Marriage Means Blending Tastes to Decorate New Home

Wives frequently ask me, “How can my husband and I agree on decorating decisions and purchases for our home?”

When decorating our homes, it is often a reminder that we are all different – and those differences may be what attracted us to each other. They can also cause the greatest conflicts. Not until we understand ourselves and each other are we able to openly communicate to find common ground. Once this happens, we have enough similarities to overlook our differences and decorate a look that is unique as a couple.

Couples can bring strong beliefs into a relationship, often not knowing where they originated. Some beliefs come from our histories, homes of friends and neighbors, or media influences.

When this occurs, we must ask ourselves, “Is this how I want to live? Does it have lasting value for me?”

Is it part of your “interior” design (your internal design or feelings), or is it the influence of something you saw and liked but will not last for you? Will you like it tomorrow?

Then ask, “Is this a representation of my authentic self?” Is this how you want to live every day? Do you feel good doing so? When you can be honest and discover your true taste, you can talk with your significant other to see where your tastes are similar.

Couples are always amazed at how many things they both like when they strip away the beliefs, tastes and ideas that don’t belong to them. They become more open and free to listen to the other person.

Then they can create a look together and build their own history, traditions and memories. Bringing in a religious expression can be an example. As you begin your married life together, select a frame to display your ketubah in your new home. Pick out a mezuzah for each room that represents the look and purpose of the room and combine your personal tastes and feelings. Honesty is key. Remember to speak from your heart.

Interior design can be fun and not a battle of the sexes. For example, his modern and her country French can now be the popular Santa Barbara look. The red he loved and the blue she loved became eggplant, offset by adding burnt orange and gold. The most important thing is that everyone stays open to new discoveries and possibilities.

Three elements are necessary to make design choices:
Understanding: Learn about yourself. You must become aware of your needs and wants for your environment. Your environment should serve and support you while giving you the look you love.

Acceptance: The ability to accommodate all the things involved in making the project happen, such as budgeting, letting go of old ideas and items, and being open to the new.

Allowing: Give yourself permission to proceed, no matter what it takes to see it through.

All three elements constitute a process that I created, the Bajaro Method, which is my method of “interior” design.

When you, as an individual, have addressed each element, you can then explore them as a couple. If you have children, they, too, can be brought into the discussion and their ideas combined to create your family’s style.

Remember, “Rooms have no feelings, YOU do!”

Interior designer Barbara Kaplan, owner of Design Dimensions, is the creator of the Bajaro Method, author of Rooms Have No Feelings, YOU Do!, columnist and teacher. She combines beauty, wellness and lifestyle in her design and decoration of personal spaces. Her interior designs can be seen at Chabad Lubavitch of Arizona and the Mikvah, Temple Beth Israel of Phoenix and homes of several Phoenix rabbis. She is a past board member of American Jewish Committee-Phoenix and the Healing Committee of Temple Chai. She is Arizona past president of International Furnishings and Design Association.
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