Men are from Mars, Women are from Restoration Hardware

4 Ways to Win the War of Home Décor


My husband, Ethan and I enter the Home Depot parking lot in our dorky suburban SUV just like it’s any other Saturday afternoon. To the naked eye, one would think this was a pretty picture of the American dream. The wife, picking out her paint chips, the man, surrounded by tools and plywood, what a perfectly balanced Yin–Yang.  Except the color of Home Depot isn’t harmoniously painted black and white. It’s painted a blazing orange, a color that every woman should take as a warning.  By definition, it’s the color of caution. It’s the color that says, tread lightly and buckle up because you are about to get in the biggest fight of your marital life.

On this particular Saturday, I was picking out a trellis for my climbing roses and Ethan was picking out a new hose.  Just as I thought we were staying in our own “lanes” (as Oprah says), I find Ethan lurking around the herb section.  Right off, I knew he was digging for trouble.  He starts indexing through the packets and I try to avoid eye contact.

“Katie?” Oh no, his eyes stay transfixed on the seeds but he’s calling out for me. “Katie,” he repeated.

“Ya babe?” I hide my frustration of the predictable and reoccurring scenario that lay before me.

“I’m going to get Cilantro seeds for the backyard.” I process this absurd request and proceed to tell him that we do not have an herb garden. I state that we only have a tiny border around our patio that’s meant for floral landscaping which I, MYSELF, carefully designed and implemented. I suddenly see Ethan’s jawbone shift and bulge.  His hand repeatedly hits his leg as he impatiently waits to interrupt.  I knew he wouldn’t back down but the following reaction was completely unforeseeable and dramatic to say the least.

“I NEVER get what I WANT.”  Ethan stomps his foot down and his scream carries through the greenhouse.  Everyone turns.

“Fine," I say through my teeth.  I give into Ethan and those damn cilantro seeds just out of second-hand embarrassment. We head towards the cashier.  Ethan, as predicted and like every boy, gets distracted and is now prioritizing another toy at checkout.  I seize this opportunity and slyly throw the cilantro seeds into the gum rack.  I smile defiantly on the inside as I see Ethan cluelessly tinkering with the world’s smallest flashlight or whatever waste of money he’s presently looking at. He may think he won the fight, but not the war.  He will never win the war, the war of home décor.

So how do I always win this war you ask?  I’m here to tell you the 4 secrets to victory. Before you know it, you’ll have free reign and total control of your interior design.


1. Know your lane and use it to your advantage.

Marriage is about compromise right? But this word can be misunderstood. Compromise is not about meeting him half way in an argument (the ol’ "agree to disagree" tactic).  Then nothing would get accomplished.  It’s about you going ALL the way to his side on HALF of the arguments (the ol’ "pick your battles" technique).

For instance, I don’t mess with your big gaudy flat screen so don’t comment on my window treatments.  I don’t fight you on appliances so don’t harp on my decorative pillows.  Now these categories will vary from marriage to marriage, but regardless, a woman needs to be smart.  There is a method to this madness and the lesson here is, be strategic and let go of the things that you really don’t care about so you can grab hold of the things that you actually do.

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2. Ask the right questions at the right time.

Do not use your husband as a sounding board because you’re being indecisive about something.  This will only give him entitlement and empower his so-called “voice.” Once you open this floodgate and allow his opinions to be legitimized, there is no turning back.  If this is your lane, own it. Otherwise that yellow solid line has been erased, in fact, it’s now dotted so you can be passed at anytime.  It's called a power shift or game changer. Avoid this situation and ask a friend instead.

Beware: You're not out of the woods yet. Husbands naturally get sticker shock so there will come a time when they start asking questions like, "Why do we need that velvet chair?"  "How can a wood table cost $500.00?" "I can make that!"

For starters, you’re thinking, you can’t make that table and never will, but don’t go there.  Instead, when you get push back, ask him the right questions. "What would we eat on?" "How much would you want the table to cost?" "How do you want our home to look and feel?" Better yet, "Do you want to go shopping this weekend so you can compare prices?" These overarching yet pointed questions put him in the hot seat and cause bewilderment. Suddenly you’ve thrown him off his game. The further you can veer from an item-to-item debate, the better.   This applies to every fight in life by the way.  Big questions = big confusion.   

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3. Assign a task of distraction

If your husband wishes to partake in the decorating process, assign him an item or task that will work out in your favor.  For example, if you know that he’s obsessed with countertops and will pick an attractive material, assign this task.  Include him in the correct areas and your team will win.  A lot of the time, due to lack of interest, you’ll find that he drops the ball and doesn’t find the time to accomplish the task, thus further establishing your separate lanes.

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4. Add the touches that matter

At the end of the day, a man just wants to be taken care of, consulted, and respected, as we all do. It’s important to show that although home décor means a lot to us, the little things are just as, if not more meaningful. Foremost, men care about comfort and functionality.  Both these concepts can be tastefully incorporated in your home. What part of your home? It’s called a cellar, excuse me, a "man cave" which is peacefully out of sight, out of mind...just like those cilantro seeds.

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Restoratiion Hardware



Living 1. 2. 3. 4. Chair 1. 2. 3. 4. End Table 1. 2. 3. 4. Pool 1. 2. 3. 4. Accessories 1. 2. 3. 4. 1. Bar 2. 3. 4. Lighting 1. 2.