Men versus women: War of the home decor

Nov 13, 2012 at 4:29 a.m. ET

Ready, aim, fire: the battle has begun! It’s the war of decor -- men versus women -- and a treaty is nowhere in sight. There’s no need to feud over "his and hers" decor. Just follow these tips to create a stylish space that’s perfect for men and women alike.

Learn to compromise

Too often, the word compromise is viewed in a negative light. But in the world of home decor, compromise means blend, rather than sacrifice. Neither you, nor your spouse, should surrender your personal style to that of the other. Instead, learn what draws you to the style you each love, and then merge the best of both worlds into a custom style that’s all your own.

Here are a few examples:

Her pick: Platinum grey Dupioni clear glass vase table lamp (Lamps Plus, $145)

His pick: Possini Euro Design open frame gourd base table lamp (Lamps Plus, $80)

The compromise: Possini Euro Design black table lamp (Lamps Plus, $100)

Her pick: Morgan arm chair (Home Decorators, $373)

His pick: Victor chair (West Elm, $551)

The compromise: Tess chair (Crate and Barrel, $1099)

Her pick: Waterfall ruffle duvet cover (Urban Outfitters, $149 to $199)

His pick: Magical thinking zigzag stitch quilt (Urban Outfitters, $69 to $79)

The compromise: Circle chain chenille blanket (Urban Outfitters, $79 to $89)

Neutral is best

Michelle Hinckley, blogger at 4 Men 1 Lady, is no stranger to feeling outnumbered at home. As a wife and mom to three boys, she shares her home with four men. She says, “Training my husband and little men to not treat our home like a bachelor pad is a challenge. Plus, there is the fact that I’d like to splash pink all over, but my men seem to have an allergic reaction to the color.”

When asked how she represents both decor preferences throughout her home, she responds: “What I’ve learned is that neutral colors work really great for men and women.”

Photo credit:, photo by Michelle Rasmussen of

Hinckley’s neutral of choice may surprise you, especially for a house filled with men. She explains, “I have kids (plus they’re all boys), so you would think white would be the worst color ever to use in our decor. Surprisingly, it’s more family-friendly than you would think.”

After recently renovating the kitchen and family room within her home, Hinckley goes on to defend her color choice. “With the chaos that goes on in a busy family, white calms the space and doesn’t cause sensory overload. By using white slipcovers you can also wash and bleach them, to not only keep them clean, but kill all the germs that might be brought into the house.”

Embrace mood swings

Since creating a gender-neutral space requires give-and-take, keep a few pieces of gender-specific decor on hand to conquer your mood swings. Hinckley suggests, “You can always add pops of color with accessories, throws, pictures and pillows. I have some cool gray graphic pillows that live on our sofas. However, I do also have pink pillows. When I feel like a pink mood, I can change my throw pillows and completely change the look and feel of the space.”

Quick tip

Get more ideas on how to blend feminine and masculine design elements in our War of the decor photo gallery.

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