I’ve always wondered how I’m going to settle on an interior design theme or style for my future home.
During recent discussions with an interior designer, I realized that both me and my fiancé were experiencing a classic example of the interior design dilemma! It’s like you can see exactly who has claimed that part of the house as their territory.
Coming from a big family of six, I’ve seen exactly how interior decorating can go slightly awry with the addition of so many other influences. In retrospect it was kind of funny to go from Chinese landscape paintings to the wall of teen idol worship to the Pinterest fail room.
Now that I’m looking to settle down with my partner, I’m cringing at the idea of the exact same thing happening again.
From what I’ve heard, the “man cave” is becoming an increasingly popular thing. It’s strictly demarcated area marked as his and only his. It’s supposed to contain the quintessentially “guy” things like gaming consoles, but fundamentally it’s just “My territory – You have no power here.”
No matter how haphazard or messy it is, it’s completely out of your jurisdiction. So here’s my question: Is such a home dynamically inevitable?
Do Unto Others What You Would to Yourself
Are you gunning for your own walk-in wardrobe? A vanity mirror? Or an entire room as your office/beauty area? Then guess what, your partner’s entitled to the same.
Sometimes we have a tendency to discount other people’s wants and desires as frivolous but deeming our own demands as entirely justified. Be kind and fair, don’t place unequal expectations on you and your partner. Try using a budget to work around this possible bias.
Ultimately it’s the two of you that are contributing towards the household income, so counting the dollars and cents works out for everyone. This is especially true for big-ticket items like electronics.
Also, don’t take it to heart when he chooses to spend some alone time in his demarcated area. It’s not so much of literally needing physical space away from you, it’s just a time for solitary R&R.
Take time out to revel in your own company as well. I find it much easier to do my crafting and when I don’t have a pair of eyes peering over my work. (Especially if I decide to be lazy and cut corners).
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
It’s not worth picking a fight over him having cream coloured accents instead of eggshell ones. If he needs an enclave, so be it. Out of sight, out of mind.
Don’t get too carried away with having everything just right. Similarly, a vanity table overflowing with beauty products can be ignored (Unless it starts to encroach common territory, like the bathroom sink).
Take the easier way out. Throw a cover or something on it. Block it from the line of sight with strategically-placed potted plant. Essentially, you should focus on trying to work around and accommodating your partner’s personal “territory” (as well as all the weird habits and arrangements it entails).
Yin and Yang – A Semblance of Both
The visual concept that the yin and yang symbol espouses is that one still exists in the other – so it is possible for there is still small semblance of you in his area.
Man caves have always been getting flak for supposedly promoting sexist ideals, like being the last stronghold of masculinity in the household. I believe that having one’s own personal enclave doesn’t necessarily mean that it will reflect a gendered ethos.
One way you can try and overcome the rigid lines of your space vs his space is by offering storage solutions and organizational tips and tricks.
Help keep track of your partner’s numerous wires and chargers by writing “Phone”, “Laptop”, “Tablet” on some washi tape and then taping them around each cable. Storage boxes are also a good way to create some sense of order and to keep to the general colour scheme of your home.
While there are definitely ways to control and minimize the divergence his space versus her space, I think it’s inevitable that there will be a sense of territory within a household. No matter what your overarching interior design theme or bespoke interior style you start off with, there’s bound to be other influences.
Can you imagine what will happen with every addition to your household? (Point of reference: My own house).
To make sure you stay relatively on track, consider hiring an interior designer and voice out your concerns about the feasibility of the intended style you want for your home.