My Best Tip for Choosing Decor Together

How to create a mood board with your partnerYou guys made me laugh REAL HARD last week. So, I was taking questions for a Q&A on Snapchat and, like, every other question was some version of, "How do you get Jeremy to be cool with all your decor choices?" We died laughing because it's not always easy, and he definitely doesn't always agree. 

But after giving it some thought, I realized that I actually had ONE really helpful tip that was a game changer for us. 

Make a mood board together. 

So, before we moved into our current home, we picked a color scheme together as well as some general inspirations for our new space. It was such a simple process. I spent a couple hours putting it all together, asking him a million questions along the way. We talked about all the different elements that would come into play (wood finishes, metals, colors, mixing different styles), and we decided on a theme that we both really love. 

Our color storyThat was close to a year ago! And as crazy at it sounds, that simple exercise has really helped us make the one million little choices that have come along since then. Now that we know what style and colors we are sticking to, we don't have to have long debates about style and colors! Haha! 

Big picture, I really believe this mood board is the number one reason our current home is coming out more cohesive, more functional and more cozy than our last home. It's just been SO MUCH easier to resist random cute pillows at Target (that don't match my colors) and trips to the flea market where I want to find a treasure (oops – more junk for my basement closet! Haha). With this space, we've been laser focused and although I've made a few mistakes, overall I feel it's coming together fast and feeling exactly like the vision we set out to create.

Alright! There's my elevator pitch! Now, who wants to make a mood board?

Here are 5 things to consider when making your own mood board. You can make a Pinterest board, a real-life bulletin board or a folder on your laptop. Whatever you do, I recommend keeping photos on your iPhone in a special folder that you can refer to when you're out shopping! 

       1. What's your color scheme? 

This is by far the most important choice. And while I don't think your entire home has to color-coordinate, I highly recommend it! I love that our house has a color scheme because I can swap furniture from room to room effortlessly, which is really fun for curing those winter blues and making a space feel different without spending money. It also makes it much easier to shop and your rooms will come together much more easily when you commit to a color story.

I recommend choosing 1-3 colors that will be your main colors. You can pick a few fun accent colors as well.

For more info, read my article about choosing a color story for your home!  

       2. Describe your style in three words. 

Yes, really. I know how cheesy this can feel, but I promise it's worth it! 

Choose three words that describe your style. The first one should be the style of furniture you like (think– Mid-Century, Reclaimed, Scandinavian) the next could be a word that describes the mood you want to feel when you walk into the space (think– fun, cozy, relaxing) and the last word can be something that really describes the two of you as a couple or makes your style unique! 

       3. Choose one or two wood finishes. 

Choosing wood finishes is a big deal. I would recommend picking two for your floors and most of your furniture. In our house we have mainly very light wood and painted white wood. There are definitely a couple exceptions, which is not a big deal. The purpose of choosing a wood finish is so if you collect pieces over time, they have something that ties them together. Even if they're not all from the same store/collection, they can coordinate and look more polished if they have the same finish. 

A lot depends on the color of your floors. So once you know what color they are (or pick one out), search for rooms on Pinterest that have similar floors and see what furnishings look best to you.

       4. Choose one or two metal finishes. 

There is no sin in mixing metals! I really don't think every piece in your home needs to match. But having one main finish that you use most of the time helps tie everything together. 

       5. Choose your wow-factor pieces. 

Each room should have a couple pieces that steal the show. It can be an amazing, oversized art print, a cool sculpture, a fun colored sofa or (in my case) a crazy eight foot cactus. Really anything that you LOVE that excites you can be the centerpiece of a room. 

Once you've chosen your wow-factor pieces, you can take a little pressure off all the other choices because, in order to let the crazy pieces shine, it's good to make some other low-key choices. For example, in our living room, since there's a giant cactus and a turquoise floor, the wow-factors are obviously already there. When I pick out the rest of the pieces, I'll be focusing on comfortable, cozy, neutral choices. 

This makes the whole process SO much easier. 

Choosing decor together Whew! I hope these notes are helpful to you. They really helped us. Please let me know if you do this process with your husband, wife, boyfriend or roommate… I am SO curious to hear all about your process and experiences! xx- Elsie 

  • Sometimes can be difficult to go shopping and decorate together. For us is a total war every time haha. The good thing is that at the end, we manage to combine both styles 🙂

  • Super helpful post thank you :))) your new home looks beautiful so whatever the two of your are doing seems to be working great!

  • I love these tips! Whenever I pick pieces I always make sure it’s something my husband won’t hate looking at for the rest of his life… he hasn’t hated anything yet which is typically a good sign.

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

  • What would be your advice if you already have a home and lots (read: too much) stuff and furniture? How would you go about pulling it all together so that’s cohesive, without getting rid of or replacing too much stuff?

  • This is a really great article, and it’s come at the perfect time! My partner and I have recently decided to buy our first house together (!!), so I’ll be keeping your tips in mind 🙂 thank you!! – Mike.

  • Decorating a new place is one of those times I’m thankful to have my girlfriend at my side. I’m always the one to take charge, but luckily she trusts my taste and loves just about the same things as I do. I love this post, though! Bookmarking it because you’ve laid out the best way plan out any space, period. Love it. Thanks, Elsie!

  • I’m going to college this fall so these mood board tips are going to be really fun to try out for my dorm room!! I’m not married, but I think a mood board will still be helpful because it will make it easier for me to decorate! I’ve never really had my own space to decorate so a mood board will be so helpful! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • [email protected]

    This advice came too late for me, but I really want to try it in the future! We would have probably avoided most of the fighting if we had done this in the first place. He still reminds me of that kitchen clock he wanted to put in the living room…which was a no no for me. Either way, things are good now (even though the kitchen clock is in the kitchen).
    Greetings from Greece 🙂

    http://karpalo93.blogspot.gr/2016/01/new-home-kitchen.html

  • My process is: explain my plan for something to him, he think sit sounds sketchy and is not very into it, I go ahead and do it anyway when he’s away, and then he is surprised and likes it when he comes back and sees it!

  • Yep, combining tastes, a lovely way to test your couplehood!

    And by “lovely,” I mean “varying degrees of painful, ending in anything from stubborn silence to tears and threats of divorce.”

    We’ve managed to find ways to compromise, but mood boards and design boards don’t work for us. I take the binder with when we go shopping/looking, but Husband has to see the actual thing in its actual size…So it’s helpful to have a reference, but not in the way you’d expect or hope. And don’t even get me started on paint chips. I’ve painted more four-foot-square pieces of foam board than I can count, and he still “can’t tell” if he likes a color.

    We joke that the only time we don’t like being together is when it’s time to choose something for the house.

    On the other hand, a salesperson at Pottery Barn once patiently listened to us discuss the merits (and lack thereof) of a particular sofa, and afterward told us she’d never heard two people with such different tastes and opinions work them out so well. (THAT has come after many years of practice!)

    Either way, decorating together is still my least favorite thing to do together as a couple. But I love and adore him, and he loves and adores me, so I can give in on the drapes and that frighteningly ugly clock. (I’m not kidding; it’s horrid.)

  • Great post! Super helpful and a fun way to get excited about creating a home!!!

  • My boyfriend and I are moving into an apartment together at the end of April and we are so excited to decorate together! We have very similar styles which makes decorating so much fun.. I will definitely bring up the idea of making a mood board with him!
    xo, Rowan | rowanmorrissy.com

  • These are incredibly helpful and could not have come at a better time as me and my boyfriend are moving in together soon.
    He always says that he isn’t bothered about the decor yet I know he can say that until he doesn’t like something!
    These tips are perfect to get him involved and begin to get some of his ideas whirring, thankyou xo

    Sophie | sophiehurry.com

  • The idea with the mood board is wonderful! But I’m actually lucky enough to have a boyfriend who allows me to decorate as I want, that is, I create the overall concept and when I find different kinds of items I include him in the decision. This has worked wonderfully for our new apartment!
    https://www.makeandmess.com/

  • Love this article! Just one week after we met, my husband and I went furniture shopping so he could buy a sofa for his new apartment. We spent more than an hour browsing, sitting, chatting and getting to know each other. Good thing I liked the sofa he chose; little did I know that it would end up being OUR sofa when we married just eight months later. http://www.shopwithstyle.com

  • Love this article! Just one week after we met, my husband and I went shopping to buy a sofa for his new apartment. We spent more than an hour browsing, sitting, chatting and getting to know each other. Our furniture tastes were very similar, and I loved the sofa he chose. Good thing, since it ended up becoming OUR sofa when we married eight months later! http://www.shopwithstyle.com

  • I feel like this is going to be my experience with my husband. So far we have only lived in a small basement apartment & now my parents’, but we will have a house soon and I’m dreading all of the interactions & conversations regarding decorating it. I am really into interior decorating so I can come across strongly & he just reacts to that and digs his feet in. Also, he has no interest in trying to figure out his style or ways to describe it. He insists on having to see each and every thing, to know if he hates it or not. I am so looking forward to being able to decorate our own home, yet know that I’ll be pulling my hair out in frustration over how complicated it will be. It is helpful to hear about other couples who struggle with this, but have figured out ways to communicate well. Thanks for sharing!

  • My husband and I love working on our home together, but we are going to try this next time. I feel like I tend to always get what I want because he doesn’t care to push what he wants, but the one thing he put his foot down on was our nursery. He wanted to try your Clementine stamped wallpaper and I was scared. Thankfully he told me we were trying it so I just better jump on board. I love it and am so thankful for your amazing ideas!!!! We did blueberries instead of clementines because our theme was off of an old children’s book, but we love it and so does baby. I haven’t found anything else out there quite like this blog and I just love all the posts and beautiful crazy ideas!!! Thanks again for the inspiration! We couldn’t have done it without this blog!!!! Here is the link if you want to see it. http://chickensandchalkboards.com/2016/03/22/blueberries-for-sal-nursery-part-ii/ I feel like you guys were a part of it even though we’ve never met. We spent a good amount of time on your blog the post was very helpful!!!

  • Hi Elsie,
    Thanks for sharing nice idea and tips for “Choosing Decor Together” ! I really like the way you present your this post & mention valuable points but Elsie, I must say now a days mobile apps are also a strong point to get better idea for Decor a home Together !

  • My husband and I are recently married, and we are looking for some home decor for our new house! We want to make these decisions together. I liked your idea to describe your style in three words. This can help identify and narrow down what sort of decor you’re really looking for. We will be sure to use these tips! Thanks for sharing! http://www.hiddenhilltreasures.com/default.asp