Tips and Guides

7 Decorating Tips for Couples

Keep the love alive in a space you've both styled

Photography: Kurt Alvarez/ACME Visual Productions (Main Photo)

As the saying goes, a man’s castle is his home, while the lady is its queen. With that in mind, who then chooses the color of the walls? Or picks the perfect sofa? Decorating a home—may it be a cozy nest for two or a multi-storey family home—can be tricky. To help you navigate this potential minefield without losing your patience or endangering your relationship, here are seven tips to guide and inspire you:

1. Take note of what you have.

Through the years, you have accumulated a lot of stuff—a favorite chair, a collection of books, and even crochet curtains handed down by a well-meaning aunt, to name a few. Go through your box of precious items—the good, the bad, and the ugly—and choose the ones that should stay and those that need to go. This is an activity that you and your partner should accomplish before moving on to the next step. 

2. Share your vision and inspirations.

Log on to Pinterest and create a board for your ideal home. If you have enough budget, think about the pieces of furniture you'd like to have at home. What are the things you like? What are the pieces you find beautiful? Make sure your partner works on his or her wishlist and board, too. Once you've both accomplished this task, you'd definitely have an idea about each other's taste. 

3. Find a common thread.

Schedule a weekend for board comparison. Review each other's boards and lists; and see if there are any similarities—do you both love bricks? Are you fans of mid-century furniture? Take note of these and treat it as a starting point. Build your shared design style from there and see how you can best find a neutral ground. Discuss the different elements of the home and see where you can compromise. 

"It's a lot about compromise and openness. Dino liked low lighting but as a reader, I like lots of light! I like soft colors and he likes grays and browns...but there are certain things we do like that are the same—we don't like floral or too sweet things. We like lots of greenery both in actual plants or in cases around the house. We don't like a lot of fussy adornment or collections of things that are for display and cannot be used. Certain health issues also mean all our couches have to be leather and so chachkas (knickknacks) and stuff don't really fit our lifestyle. We're a pretty young family with diverse social needs, too so we need to cater to different age groups like a young son's sleepover group made up of young boys who like video games and basketball; but also a daughter who needs privacy and places for secret keeping," shares Rica who is happily married for 22 years.

4. Discuss what habits are important to you.

A house becomes a home when it enables us to live the way we want. Does your partner like to unwind at the end of the day by watching television? Do you craft in the middle of the night because it makes you feel creative and confident? List down these habits and the spaces where they are going to be carried out. Pay more attention to these spaces, with the concerned person taking charge. Let him have his TV and sectional sofa but why not choose an upholstered piece that you both like?

5. Use color to put it all together.

If all else fails, tie it all together with color. Pick a color that you both like and use it as a unifying feature. Choose throw pillows in your chosen shade or hang a work of art that showcases your favorite hue. You can also use it as basis when shopping for accessories.

6. Combine your collections.

Collections speak volumes of who you are. So what better way to literally and figuratively say that you’re indeed sharing the space than putting your collections together? A great place to do this is on a shelf. Pick out the pieces you love the most and display them on a shelf together with your books and picture frames.

7. Have fun!

At the end of the day, what matters most is you’re creating a home. Go easy on yourselves and take this decorating experience as more of a “getting-to-know-you-further” exercise. Don’t lose your cool if you make a mistake of painting a room in a color you can’t take—that color can be painted over! If you make the mistake of buying furniture you can’t seem to live with, don’t fret. Sell it online on a buy and sell website like,, and

“We suggest that you both sit together and have a sharing of ideas on how you want the room to look like. Consider each one's suggestions until you both agree to a common design plan. Don’t be too rigid about your designs. Allow room for each other's creative feel,” says Rey who has been married for 10 years.

PHOTOS: Pexels/Unsplash | Pinterest | Kurt Alvarez/ACME Visual Productions | Pexels/UnsplashJilson Tiu

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