The Pink House editor Emily says:
I feel your pain. As someone who has, shall we say, rather colourful tastes, I find the Pink House Husband, with his love of white-with-brown (or, occasionally, brown-with-white), can be a little obstructive when it comes to my more fabulous interior ideas. Luckily for you, I've been dealing with this situation for a long time now (our 10th wedding anniversary was in July), and so I bring you...
The 7 Rules of Getting Your Own Way
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.
If you want to paint the hallway pink, WHATEVER YOU DO don't say, 'I want to paint the hallway pink.' Unless your husband is a hipster or doesn't give a toss about your home (in which case this post isn't for you), I can pretty much guarantee the answer will be, 'are you having a laugh?'. Instead, choose the exact shade of pink (or turquoise, or gold, or whatever) you're after, and give the colour its 'proper' name. For example, in our hallway, I thought Farrow & Ball's dark pink 'Setting Plaster' might work well, and pitched it as such, with no mention of pink at all. Plaster has a nice DIY, manly feel to it, and I stressed that it was a 'rich, warm colour' which would 'go well with the navy blue carpet.' Funnily enough, Pink House Husband had no objections.
2) Bend the truth
Although the PHH had agreed to Setting Plaster, this wasn't my final hall colour destination. The colour I REALLY wanted was Farrow & Ball's Pink Ground, which is lighter, and - yes - pinker than Setting Plaster. Annoyingly, it also has the word 'Pink' in the title, meaning tip 1 was not an option. But I had a plan: I bought tester pots of both Setting Plaster and Pink Ground, and painted sections of the hallway in Pink Ground ONLY. I then showed the PHH: 'What do you think?' I asked. He assumed it was Setting Plaster, and despite a narrowing-of-eyes moment when I thought he'd seen right through me, he simply said, 'hmm...OK'. A little later I painted sections of Setting Plaster alongside the Pink Ground. When he emerged from his office I said, casually: 'I tried this darker one too but I think it's just too brown, don't you?' He agreed. Next week our hallway will be painted pink.
3) Appeal to his lazy side
This trick works best on partners who are too busy or preoccupied to spend any time doing up the house. However, it does require a bit of patience. Say you are redecorating your bedroom, but can't get him to agree to your carefully thought-out plans (best if you can show him mood boards or at least a Pinterest board to demonstrate how much effort you've put in). Instead of getting frustrated, sweetly ask him to pull together his own Pinterest/mood board to show how he would like the room to look. Leave it a week, then ask to see it. It's highly unlikely he'll have done anything at all: you are now in a much stronger bargaining position.
4) Use subliminal advertising
Introduce the ‘wacky’ idea (in my case, the perspex Philippe Starck for Kartell Louis Ghost chairs, pictured) as early as possible. Expect flat-out rejection at first as he struggles to deal with the new concept. Then, over the following few weeks, casually leave magazines lying around showing gorgeous rooms featuring the chairs. Next, locate the item in either a cool bar or restaurant, or stylish friend's house, and casually hang out there. You might say, 'Oh, aren't those the chairs I liked?' Use past tense so he doesn't feel pressurised. After a month or two of this subliminal advertising the item will literally seem part of the furniture, and will have been shown off in its best light, without pressure to buy. This tip is so effective you may even find he suggests buying the item himself, thinking it was his idea (this happened with the Ghost chairs).
5) Appear to compromise
This is about knowing his interiors hates (which ideally are your interior loves), and making a showy 'sacrifice'. For example, I know PHH hates cushions, seeing them as unnecessary clutter (he's a minimalist at heart - it's a wonder we ever got together) whereas I have something approaching a cushion fetish. It's an ongoing battle. So when I set my heart on a deeply impractical (and expensive) velvet sofa, knowing PHH would resist, I came out with: 'it's such a gorgeous sofa. And it would look even more amazing with these (showed picture of outlandish cushions), but I know how you hate the extra clutter so I'd be willing to sacrifice those *sad smile*'. The sofa (and cushions; I'm good) have been a fixture in our home now for a few years.
6) Find things he'll 'love'
This one's genius, because if he genuinely believes you've selected an item of furniture or decor out of love for him, it takes a hard-hearted man to knock you - and that upholstered headboard - back. 'So you know how you get a sore back reading in bed? Well, I've been doing some research, and I found this super-comfy headboard in the sale...' Or: 'I know how you hate all my magazines lying around, so I've found this magazine rack at the Conran Shop - they do such clean, simple designs - that'll keep everything nice and tidy...' You get the picture.
7) Time it right
As in any relationship, timing is everything. Which is why I waited until my birthday before telling him about the enormous scrape down the side of the car. Same goes for those big, important interiors suggestions. The La Voliere bird cage lamp, was agreed to after he’d just returned from a week-long work trip to the US, leaving me with the kids and a stinking cold. As he saw it, buying this ridiculous lamp was the least he could do. So I suggested he pop out for some chocolate and champagne.