He said, she said...solutions for creating home sweet home when conflicts arise

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • March 5, 2016

Classic and timeless, this elegant bedroom appeals to both sexes. Photo Courtesy of the Henredon Interior Showroom, Hickory Chair Collection.

It was a Saturday morning. One of my favorite, longtime clients called and asked me (begged me) to please head for a local furniture showroom. She and her husband had squared off in opposite corners and could not agree on a piece of furniture to go in a room that had been recently remodeled.

This final selection was one they thought they could do on their own without my help. But they could not agree.

When I arrived, they were not happy. I gathered them both together and the husband said the final decision was mine because they could not possibly agree and he was tired of fighting. So, we worked it out and there was a compromise. Life went on and I am certain they are still married.

Deep tones with rich textures are an ideal compromise between traditional and contemporary tastes. Photo credit: Courtesy of the Henredon Interior Showroom, Hickory Chair Collection.

These challenges are not uncommon. And sometimes in this profession, we are psychologists, marriage counselors and someone to just listen.

Whether it's between spouses, roommates, a parent and child who has moved back home, in-laws in the home or many other configurations of the way we live, conflicts about space are normal.

Maybe two separate households are merging. The conflicts can range from who takes the trash out to how the animal heads on the wall are to blend with the Lilly Pulitzer print drapes.

The bottom line: communication.

I can work with a couple on paint color and tell you exactly how they communicate.

My suggestion when bringing any two people together to decorate a home: diplomacy, humor and some basic respect.

Interior designer, Diane Torrisi, presented a lively "He said, She said" seminar with the Henredon showroom this past week at Miromar Design Center. Along with designer Dirk Anderson, she emphasized the importance of compromise in making home interiors functional for all members of the residence. 

"Compromise is a way of giving up something, most often in order to gain something else." Diane Torrisi of Diane Torrisi Designs

As a Southwest Florida interior decorator, I have strategies that I use to help create a "home sweet home" when there are disagreements. Some of these might help if decorating conflicts happen in your home!

Soft hues as a backdrop with beautiful gender neutral furnishings and accessories. Photo Courtesy of the Henredon Interior Showroom, Hickory Chair Collection.

Soft hues as a backdrop with beautiful gender neutral furnishings and accessories. Photo Courtesy of the Henredon Interior Showroom, Hickory Chair Collection.

Do your work before the designer arrives.

Together, look through magazines, set up Pinterest boards, shop (together). Get an idea of where you agree, disagree and where there may be room for compromise.

He likes contemporary, she likes traditional

One of my go-to-sources for seeking examples of compromise is Restoration Hardware. Great examples of a rather utilitarian, minimalist look that allows for pretty accessories to smooth out the look. This helps to define what you can and can't live with.

Color conflict

I encounter this daily. And it's also important to remember that people see color differently. It's very complicated. If one wants tropical colors and the other wants neutral, I usually suggest whites or grays for walls and color in accessories and fabric.


Color is no longer quite so gender specific. Many rooms done in reds, blues, greens and earthy tones satisfy both sexes.

No way am I having a recliner

These are not your parent's Barcaloungers. Now they are streamlined and you can't tell they are recliners. Pick out a pretty one and upholster it in a gorgeous fabric. Compromise!

His space/her space

Man caves and she sheds have helped to solve some of these issues. But let's face it, most homes do not allow space for these luxuries. So create a his and her space in the home. A nook or area where each may have their own "stuff." A yoga area for her. A TV area for him.

Merging lives, merging space

This can be tricky. He has his stuff. She has hers. Honestly, it seems to work best when the two start off with a new space that can be "theirs." then go through what might work and what should go. And now, it's time to make new purchases together.

Pick your battles

Some disagreements are not that important. Figure out what you can live with, compromise and go from there. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you have a happy home to call your own and that you are sharing it with someone that you care about.  And when all else fails, call a decorator or designer. We are really good at providing creative solutions to decorating conflicts!

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog