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Designing in Pairs – Are You Fighting Over Paint Colors?

This straw gold paint color and desert rose tone echo the natural tones in the rock work of this rustic hacienda style home. The rose color was one of the woman's favorites and the gold color was a favorite of both spouses. Together, the colors where a unexpected and fantastic presence.
This straw gold paint color and desert rose tone echo the natural tones in the rock work of this rustic hacienda style home. The rose color was one of the woman's favorites and the gold color was a favorite of both spouses. Together, in this style of home, the colors are unexpected and fabulous.

(A version of this article was originally published in Latina Style magazine in my home decor column “Su Casa” – Your Home)

“¡Ayudeme por favor! (Help me please!) My husband and I have completely different ideas when it comes to decorating our home.  I love bright vibrant colors like deep red and citron lime. His favorite colors are beige, brown and white.  We haven’t been able to agree and we’ve hardly fought about anything until now. Do you have any ideas that’ll help us figure out a color scheme we’ll both love?”
M.E. Salazar

The colors you see in your home reflect the choices you both make to define your life together. Because you both care enough about color to fight over it, make the time to choose your color scheme together.

Don’t fall into the trap of first choosing paint and decor colors for both of you and then bring the choices to him for his approval – you’ll only end up in a power struggle.  Giving the partner who doesn’t do any of the work veto power over the other’s color choices is a sure-fire way to get into another fight or end in a frustrating standstill.

Use this disagreement over your home decor as a way to reach a new level of understanding in your marriage.  Here are a few ground rules to start – add any others as needed:

  1. Don’t be mean when you criticize any color or decor choices (including your own). You can say no to a color without getting personal.
  2. Say things you would be comfortable hearing.
  3. Remember that you love each other.  Compromise is necessary for a new beginning.

Try these tips to choose your colors together:

Begin by working together to collect swatches or examples of favorite colors.  Go through your closet together and collect piles of clothing colors you love. You might be surprised to find that your favorite color of faded blue jean is really more blue-gray than bright blue.  When you spot a great color combination, like his natural linen trousers paired with your soft turquoise blue shirt, take note. Move your separate piles of clothing out of the closet and set them aside.

Keep an open mind as you walk around the house and collect other objects that have colors you adore.  Don’t limit yourself to the assortment of colors in a few pictures or throw pillows.  Open the kitchen cupboards. You may love the deep, rich brown of your favorite blend of café or the amber gleam of a cup of brewed tea.

When you feel like you’ve collected enough samples, sit down together and look at the collection of items.  Take turns choosing a favorite color from your own pile and then a color you like (or can at least live with) from his pile.  You may both be surprised with the color combinations you discover you like.

Remember his favorite linen trousers? Team that soft taupe color of linen with the deep red of your favorite dress and you’re on your way to a great color scheme in the living room – taupe ceiling and walls with a red accent wall.  Pair the cocoa powder brown color of his beloved old leather coat with the soft pinks of your best lingerie and you now have a sexy, warm color scheme for the bedroom.

Paint the trim throughout your home a soft white or beige he likes that complements the colors you enjoy and it will unify the variety of colors you choose in every room of your home.

When you choose your colors together the home you create represents the life you create together.

Note: Color consultant Cristina Acosta is available for your residential, commercial or institutional project. www.CristinaAcosta.com