It’s all very well knowing how you want your home to look, but if you live with someone else you may find they have, shall we say, alternative ideas as to how your pad should be pimped. Or worse: no ideas at all, but a refusal to agree to any of yours. So. Annoying.
The first rule of any fight? Know thy enemy. If you know what kind of opponent you’re up against, and the weapons you have at your disposal, you’re more likely to defeat them. This quiz will help you understand your opponent and your personal fighting style, and I’ve included some useful hints and tips to help you overcome your nemesis. Shall we get started?
NOTE: I refer to husbands and male partners in this feature, but all my points apply equally if you're a bloke/lady with an interiors-obstructive female partner.
Q1 When you suggest painting the walls pink, what’s your partner’s response?
A) “It doesn’t matter what I say; you’ll do it anyway”
B) “Hmm, not sure…but I HAVE liked everything you’ve done with the place so far”
C) “Not a chance”
D) Speechless astonishment that you’ve been so brazen
Q2 How happy are you with the design and décor in your home so far?
A) Delighted. It’s exactly to my taste. But I haven’t seen my husband for a few days…
B) It’s definitely taking shape even if everything’s taking longer than I’d expected
C) It’s not too bad. But it’s a bit of a compromise.
D) It’s pretty much exactly as it was when we bought it
Q3 Think of your favourite item of furniture – who chose it?
A) Me of course – same as every single thing in our house
B) Me, but he thinks it was his idea
C) Me; I still can’t believe he let me
D) I don’t really have a favourite
Q4 Which of these films/TV shows do you like best?
A) The Wolf of Wall Street
B) Big Little Lies
C) The Devil Wears Prada
Q5 What happens when you’re on holiday?
A) Someone comes round to our house and papers the walls in a fabulous wallpaper. But don’t tell my other half
B) We spend lots of time in hotels and restaurants that just happen to have those beautiful dining chairs I’m after
C) I try – and fail – to bring up the burning subject of what colour to paint our bedroom
D) I read a book/run around after the kids/attempt to get a tan
Q6 The waiter brings the bill at lunch, but they’ve overcharged you. What do you do?
A) Throw a fit and demand compensation
B) Point out the error so charmingly they give you free drinks
C) Worry they’ll think you’re making a fuss, but let your dining partner bring up the mistake
D) Pay and leave
Q7 Who wears the trousers in your relationship?
A) Me – and they’re perfectly tailored to fit, too
B) He thinks he does but he’s not very observant
C) I’ve got a pair of culottes, do they count?
D) I prefer skirts
Q8 Which of these is your spirit animal?
Mostly As: Slayer
There is no doubt you are winning the interior war, but are you in danger of losing your relationship? There are only so many times a fish-hater can return from holiday to find his wall papered with fish before deciding to move to a less fish-infested dwelling occupied by a less décor-demanding dweller. Pick your battles carefully and you’ll be winning at life, not just with your wallpaper.
TIP: You can achieve the same décor effect with a more subtle approach. So instead of using a sledgehammer (either literally or metaphorically – you should always get planning permission AND partner approval before knocking down a wall), try something more softly-softly, for example taking him for dinner in a restaurant with that fish wallpaper so he at least has happy memories in connection with it…
Mostly Bs: Warrior queen/king
You’ve got this war-winning thing down to a fine art. You know when to push and when to pretend the whole new sofa thing was your partner’s idea from the start. And you understand that patience is a huge virtue in the interior wars. Either that or you’re one of those annoying people whose fellow home-dweller shares the same taste. Or doesn’t give a shit what you do with the décor. Whichever way, lucky you!
TIP: You know most of the rules in the war-winning book, but to give your sieges extra clout, always be sure to make a big fuss when you do something with the decor that your other half would appreciate: Gone off that cushion? Tell him you see his point about minimalism and you’re donating this cushion you ‘love’ to his favourite charity
Mostly Cs: Foot soldier
You don’t want to compromise on your brilliant design plans, but you’re finding it hard to stand up for yourself and your neon/leopard print/patterned tile obsession. But rather than shying away from the subject, the best thing you can do is address it head on – show your partner your detailed plans, then ask him to draw up something similar so you can see what he likes. Give him a deadline. Chances are he’ll fail to produce the Pinterest-board goods, giving you much more creative leverage.
TIP: Instead of actual compromise, merely appear to compromise. Focus on how the décor idea you have will be the solution to something HE cares about, e.g. perhaps he favours an uncluttered, minimal look: this vintage sideboard with its amazing storage capacity will help achieve exactly that
Mostly Ds: Conscientious objector
You think you don’t even care about the cause, let alone want to engage in battle. You’ve repressed your thoughts, feelings and opinions for so long you can hardly remember that you have any, let alone what they are. It’s not that you’re unable to win the war; you’ve forgotten there’s even anything at stake. But living in a home that makes you happy makes a huge difference to the quality of your life.
TIP: Remind yourself of what you love – in décor, as well as in life – by making a Pinterest board of any image that fills you with joy. This will help you reconnect with your preferences and will be a great starting point for discussion. Who knows – your partner might even agree with you, negating any need to start fighting!