Judging by the title, you may be thinking this article will be about the 1787 agreement made between large states and small states defining the representation and power each state would have under the United States Constitution and in legislature, but no. This is not about the Connecticut Compromise. Maybe you’ve never even heard of the Connecticut Compromise. Sorry history teachers. My apologies if you were looking forward to a history piece. Not my forte. This is about another great compromise, the compromise between couples fighting over differing decorating styles. The age-old fight continues to ravage households. Plates have been smashed; doors slammed. Will there ever be peace?
We all know that chair. The chair that doesn’t look quite right in any room. The chair that goes into hiding when company is over. The chair that is actually pretty ugly by most people’s standards. This type of dysfunctionality goes for many pieces of furniture. In my own home, a chunky, tan leather recliner takes up valuable space. I can’t lie, the chair is beyond comfortable, but it continues to be an eyesore.
Oftentimes, one partner prefers functionality and the other partner prefers attractive designs. Gender stereotypes would say that women prefer items of beauty, and men go for comfort, but nowadays, anything goes. I know I was beyond excited when my boyfriend shared his love for antique decorations, and I was even more excited when we liked the same floor lamp at West Elm.
Not all couples have the luxury of a man cave or a spacious basement. Many couples must deal with a single bedroom apartment with only one living space. Everything is out in the open, and there is nowhere to hide. Speaking of furniture and decorations. One of my favorite television shows is “The Office,” and one of my all-time favorite episodes is “Dinner Party.” In this painfully awkward episode, Michael Scott and Jan Levinson host a dinner party and end up showing their guests their extremely dysfunctional home life. Michael hangs up his brightly glowing St. Pauli Girl beer sign in a form of rebellion against Jan. While most couples don’t publicly display their home design disagreements, Michael and Jan are great examples of the lack of compromise.
Being in a relationship requires sacrifices, especially if you’re living together. Where can you find common ground? The goal is to create a home you both love and feel comfortable in. If your partner is attached to a poster you particularly hate, ask why. Maybe it was given to them by their grandfather that passed away. Rather than resenting them for a silly poster or whatever it is you don’t like, just ask. It never hurts.
When you’re picking out new furniture, make sure you go together. It may also be easier if you take your house decorating on room by room. Doing it all at once will be overwhelming and may prompt further arguments. Arguing does not mean you and your partner are wrong for each other. You’re human! On the other hand, if you and your partner agree on absolutely everything and don’t have a single unique opinion, that’s a whole other can of worms.
If you don’t want another opinion on a small design decision don’t ask, especially if you know your partner will only rebut your decision. If you or your partner are in a bad mood, don’t choose that time to argue about your opposing design choices. Maybe they had a bad day at work or the kids are screaming. I know I get hangry (hungry + angry) at the end of the day. Timing is everything. Be sensitive to your partner’s needs and pick an appropriate time to chat. If money is the problem when it comes to decorating, create a strict budget you and your partner can follow.
Plates will be smashed. Doors will be slammed. Designing can be an emotional process. Lots of time and money is spent throughout the process. You have every right to love your home but love your partner more. Make respectful decisions. Create an environment that reflects who you are as a couple. Communicate, sacrifice, and compromise. In the words of American author, Darren Johnson, “Love is the foundation from which your decisions about your life should be made.”