Marc writes, “Bob, my wife spends money on décor I hate. Other women decorate more to my liking. How would you address this issue?”
Answer (From Podcast Episode 006):
Well, Marc, the main thing is to avoid hurting her feelings.
If you compare her decorating style to some other woman’s, she’s likely to resent it. Women don’t appreciate when their husband’s compare them to other women, especially when you think the other woman is doing a better job, or as you say, more to your liking.
In my experience, home décor is fair game for discussion, since you both live there. I wouldn’t be afraid to tell her what you don’t like, for example, if she loves cats and she has cat calendars, cat magnets on the fridge, cat artwork on the walls, cats, cats, cats. I would suggest showing more interest in the things she likes, and supporting her likes, while also sharing with her what you like, too. Say you like dogs. Bring in some dog décor. Not too much, I’d say, but a bit.
Mainly, I let my wife decorate to her liking, without criticizing her choices. I’m content with decorating my own spaces, such as my man cave, the garage, parts of the basement, and so on.
If you really want to change the styling of the overall home décor, you’ll have to take a more active part in planning, and dusting, of all the décor.
Certainly, avoid enthusiastically complimenting another woman’s decorating style, because that’s going to bite you in the butt. Hard. Work with your wife in a cooperative way, avoid taking over, and give her plenty of complements.
Overall, I think the wise married man gives his wife 75% or more control of the home décor. If for some reason you’re taking her decorating style as some reflection of you, then I’d wonder whom you’re hoping to impress. I don’t believe my buddies or family or anyone really judges me personally for home décor, so I leave 90% of it to my wife’s discretion. I’m more concerned if the yard looks bad. For some reason, that seems more of a reflection on me.
Hope that helps.