Beyond Black Leather Recliners

Beyond Black Leather Recliners

“Men and women must contribute synergistically to the process of creating a beautiful life at home. This is something that should be thought through carefully if we are going to feel true satisfaction and pleasure of creating and living in a home together.” Alexandra Stoddard

I often hear from clients and friends that their husbands have poor taste, no interest in decorating, or leave the entire process of decorating up to the wife. If you live in a home with a man, I hope that you consider his tastes, even if you think he has questionable taste! I know that can be scary if you live with a man who is all about black leather furniture, but hang with me here! Homes will simply not be authentically beautiful, in my opinion, if a husband and wife live there and the husband’s tastes are not taken in to consideration.

Find subtle ways to include him in the process if he appears disinterested! Consider his hobbies, what colors he seems drawn to, where he likes to nap, his size, his interests in and out of the home.

You’ll find out more about his taste as you include him in small ways. If you see a beautiful painting, you can comment on it and ask him how he feels about it. Does he like the frame? What about the texture or intensity of color? Show him pictures of rooms in a magazine and ask him what he likes about them, or dislikes. Over time, you will begin to discover styles and colors you can both agree on, or ways you can incorporate things he is drawn to with things you like.

I know many men appear disinterested, or you are afraid of the results of including him. I completely understand! You’d prefer to just do it yourself because you trust yourself to come up with something you will love! But trust me, if you want a home that has depth, meaning, authenticity and is truly a home, it is the combination of your taste and his that make it a beautiful place to be for both of you.

It may not be 100% YOU, but living as a couple is not about being 100% YOU. It is blending your taste with his taste and coming up with something more beautifully layered and complex than you alone. And it doesn’t have to include black leather recliners any more than it has to include all frilly pink things in every nook and cranny. Find ways to compromise and include the best of both of your taste!

This is important: you want to compromise on matters of opinion and personal taste, not on matters of good taste or good design. If something is tasteful, just not exactly YOUR favorite, you can compromise and it will work in the grand scheme of things. And honestly, I think the house will actually look better for it. More real, more layers, more interest, less perfectly staged. That is just my opinion.

I know some of you may throw rotten tomatoes at me, but I am just putting it out there. What you do with it is up to you!

Photo: Pieter Estersohn, designer John Bottitt, from Cottage Living online
Beyond Black Leather Recliners


  1. Oh my goodness, you have a beautiful blog!! I love all of the inspiration and advice! Thank you so much for visiting me. I have really enjoyed visiting you and will be back!


  2. Esther Sunday says:

    Morning. I can’t do EXACTLY what I want to do cuz of Artie, but he has been pretty good about letting me do my thing since he knows how much it means to me. Our only pre-nup issue was his “fins and feathers” room. His rec room that I have been strictly forbidden to decorate. It has all his animal heads, etc. I have told him that I could make it even better, but so far, no way. We kinda laugh about it. I did do our guest room in a northwoods/log cabin style and he loves it… so I am still working on him, but he doesn’t know that…hee,hee.

  3. Hi, Melissa–

    I have always hoped to marry a man who didn’t really have an opinion on how I appoint our home. It just seems easier that way! My wonderfully traditional sweetie and I recently got into a discussion about kitchen cabinetry–he said “just so long as it’s oak, it’s fine.” Sorry to all the oak lovers out there, but this is one wood I just can’t cotton to! I looked at him with a horrified expression on my face. “Oh, no no no,” I said. “Pine? Maple?? *Painted* oak???” He didn’t react other than giving me a big, resigned sigh. When push comes to shove (not literally, of course!), I have a feeling that as long as it looks great, he won’t mind what’s under the paint. Down the road, I guess we’ll see… :)


  4. This is easier said than done! I have always listened to my beloved husband but the times I have let him choose colors have been disastrous! Grey TILE in my bathroom (I hate it now, but it is expensive to replace, what was I thinking!?) Our bedroom painted dark brown! Aaaakk! We laugh about it and I continue to try to meld our tastes, but frankly he does most of the compromising because I can’t live in a brown & grey house. He always likes how things turn out when I do them he just has a hard time visualizing things before they are done.:>)

  5. You guys are funny! And your GUYS are funny!

    Yes, Kathy, it is easier said than done! Believe me, I work with couples on this very issue! And many men do like how the house turns out when it is done, even though they couldn’t picture it in the first place. But still, I always recommend considering his taste when you make decisions. If you know he will like it, even if he can’t picture it, you are probably good to go.

    All I can say is never go with something horrendous or awful just because one of you says you should. That is not a good compromise! Too bad about your tile, I can feel your pain! :-)

    Compromise on things of matters of personal opinion, not on GOOD TASTE! I will add that line to my post because I think it is a good point that maybe I didn’t make clear enough.

    If you can’t agree, call in a professional! :-)

  6. The bed in the picture is just exquisite! I would love to wake every morning to this environment! Luckly for me, I have a husband who adores my decorating. There is never a conflict, well should say never…sometimes he mubbles; but in the end he always says I’m right!

  7. I completely agree, we usually forgot that our house have another owner with same rights.;)useful post!

  8. I don’t know Melissa, I overheard my husband the other day talking about a “Man Cave”. Frankly I was too scared to ask him to elaborate…LOL!


  9. Hi Melissa!
    Thanks for stopping by.
    You have a beautiful blog! I can’t wait to go back and read more of the articles.

    Seriously, what is it with men and leather furniture?!
    If we ever find a larger home, he can do whatever he wants to the family room….well, maybe. LOL

    Kimberly :)

  10. What a wonderful post! You a so very right. We can sprinkle items that they love into our displays. I love your beautiful blog! xxoo, Dawn

  11. Penny, Mosaic Artist says:

    I am very fortunate that my husband has a voice in our decorating. He likes more color than I do, we end up somewhere in the middle and I think it all works out.

  12. This is a really fantastic post! A few months ago, my boyfriend came home to brand new pink and orange Dupioni silk curtains and all new, very vibrant throw cushions on our sofa, and asked, (obviously very confused), “Hey, what happened here?” It’s true that if you’re interested and very excited about interior design and he’s more on the quiet side about it, you tend to go ahead and do what you want with your place, yet it really isn’t 100% you if you don’t consider both of your likes and dislikes. Thanks for reminding me to consider his opinions and it’s definely something I’m going to pay more attention to from now on.

  13. Oh,what a gorgeous picture! Yes, that is a very feminine room, but I’ll bet that the man who is invited into that boudoir will feel very special. My house has lots of wood, and some dark colors, but I like to think it is decorated in a very romantic style nonetheless. Oh, and our bedroom is pink and white, and my husband loves it.

  14. Hi Melissa,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Yours is absolutely beautiful and I want to spend some time reading through it.
    I am about to give our bathroom a facelift – paint and new shower curtain since we cannot afford the time or money now to totally rehab it…any ideas for dealing with that old powder blue tile?
    I found a shower curtain that is a paisley with soft blue and a taupe color that really matches well with the paint color I have chosen which is the color you find on authentic Williamsburg Pottery. I get a small piece each time we visit Williamsburg and display it on a shelf in the bathroom.
    If you get a chance I would love your opinion.
    Becky K.

  15. I have the OPPOSITE problem…LOL!
    My husband has very classy – and classic – taste. I’ll suggest things and often he will just look at me… and I know it’s back to the drawing board for me. I do trust his taste. As an example, friends have seen the colors of draperies, wallpaper, etc. in our Master and all are very impressed.
    I also take him when I need to buy clothes: his eye is incredible and knows just what looks good on me.

    All this from a man whose career was the most “macho” you could imagine…

  16. Oh I agree with you in theory, Melissa. LOL!

  17. That’s a great post-luckily my husband shares my taste, not sure I’d be too keen on letting him decorate if he didn’t lol!!

  18. Jennifer Froh says:

    This room is so beautiful. My gosh.. I’m trying so hard to make my bedroom pretty and then I see a picture like this and I’m blown away at the talent of interior designers! Wow.. I just LOVE this room. It’s so soothing and peaceful, yet beautifully elegant and upscale. It’s just perfect!!!!

  19. Your exactly right about compromising. As much as they say they don’t care they do! I enjoyed visiting your site. the pictures are gorgeous.

  20. Our house was a duplex at one point and my husband and I literally each got a different side of the house to decorate. After a year in this house we are slowly trying to meld the two distinct looks together. My side is traditional and heavy on the antiques (but boring as he says). His side is artsy and quirky (a little messy and bachelor-ish in my opinion). I will say that it is nice to have a husband with an opinion, who can appreciate art, on the other hand I want total control!

  21. Gorgeous room…as always Melissa. I agree, I think compromise in decorating is vital. My husband and I luckily have pretty much the same taste but when there is something we don’t agree on, compromise is the way to go.

  22. Penny, Mosaic Artist says:

    Hi Melissa! Come to my blog to pick up your award! You have been awarded the “You Make Me Smile” award…

  23. Oh my goodness, that photo is completely dreamy!

  24. Oh, yeah, my hubby has opinions & makes sure that I get his most of the time when I’m considering something new around here. So, he’s the reason we have blue in some parts of the house & it’s grown on me too. He usually lets me do what I want, but will sometimes veto something & that’s OK too. I pick my battles wisely.


  25. What a beautiful blog and great advice. I plan to come back for a longer visit……thanks for visiting with me and taking the time to comment…please come again..Betty

  26. Oh, thank goodness he gave me my own room… But actually, my guy is pretty funky, so it all works out very well…… Men should love their homes too. Now, let me move right into that photo…. I would be so happy there!!! xxo

  27. Kenny is pretty open to however I want to decorate. And the answer I normally get is – whatever babe, get what you want. Gotta love that in a man. But, if he would ever really want something or really NOT want something, I would have to abide because he’s so lenient any other time.


  28. Oh well, I don’t really have much choice. My husband insists on being in on almost all the decorating choices! Sometimes I wish he’d just let me do my thing as he slows down the process at times. But overall I’m grateful that he’s interested. He has come around from the black leather furniture phase that he was into when we got married! Thank Goodness!!


  29. I am so glad you came by my blog and left your name and location, 1st) “Thank you so much for your sweet comment”, 2nd) “I LOVE DECORATING…AND LOVE YOUR BLOG!!” I was actually going to school to be a designer..and became pregnant with my 1st son, you saw on my post. Well, decided to stay home, and then the 2 others came along…and, well (i am a SAHM), LOL!! I hope you come back and visit me, I will you!!

  30. Hi Melissa…

    I have decorated our home, for the most part, with my own ideas, with some input from my hubby. J is always the first to tell anyone, Pat designed the plan for our home. He is a sweetie. My “work” is in the two upper levels. J designed his area. It is about 700 square feet in the lower level of our home. It’s done with his collections. The room looks like a lodge or fishing cabin. Only it isn’t the pretentious sort of cookie cutter lodge look, we see often. His “room” has a collected over time look. His collections were gathered over several decades. Comfortable furniture, a fireplace and wonderful soumac and dhurrie rugs, make this room comfy, cozy welcoming and masculine. It’s the room where guests gather, most often. It was also a hit of our house tour, last year.

    Our home is a collabortive work, like everything else in our lives.


  31. ps… You’ve been award the “You make me smile” award. See my blog for details :)

  32. THis post is right but it is hard to involve men in decoration …They are just too lazy to be part of the process ..

  33. asking a man about decor is a stretch for me…but i want that bedroom…blessings, rebecca

  34. Well, I won’t throw anything at you!! ROFL!! As you probably read in my blog, my husband had his say about the entire kitchen remodel..down to the cherry wood cabinets and stainless steel appliances. This is why I have a mix of painted and non-painted furniture…he has to have the real deal wood stuff. I think he could live with less foo-faw, but I like layers of texture and little kitsch things tucked in here and there. Now, the garage is another story! All his…no feminine touches there whatsoever!

    Great post Melissa! I love Esther’s fins and feathers comment!



  35. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving such an encouraging comment, Melissa! Your blog is fabulous! I’ll be back to visit again. ~ Lynda

  36. Hi Melissa (younger than your husband), you are right, we do have ALOT in common. I love your blog – – it’s beautiful!! I’ll be checking it frequently for inspiration too!

    Blessings from younger than her husband Sher (Ha-Ha)

  37. You were so sweet to drop by my blog and leave such a nice comment about my decorating style. It meant the world to me. Please visit anytime. You are always welcome. ~ Lynn

  38. Great post, Melissa! I really do try to take my dh’s likes into consideration. I know I haven’t shown it much on my own blog, but my dh loves horses so in several areas of our home you will find horse pictures, horse statues, etc.

    Thank you for your visits and the sweet comments you’ve left on my blog…I appreciate it!

  39. I saw this bedroom picture and thought, oh my gosh, where have you been all my life? :) Lovely post about including the guys.

  40. lovely i like that , but i think it will look more better , if it would be in pink!

  41. If I left my husband up to the decorating he would still have one of those banquet tables in his bedroom along side his large black filing cabinet……he called it his office area. He also had a black leather couch. :)

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