Whether buying furniture for a brand new home or updating the interior design of a house you’ve lived in for yours, revitalising the decor can be an exciting project that should be enjoyed by everyone, both husband and wife.

However, after surveying 2,030 married couples we discovered that even happy relationships may discover discord in the interior design department as nine in ten respondents (91%) admitted to arguing over interior choices with their partners, and the majority of men (54%) saying they have only ever chosen one piece of furniture for the home.

The most popular cause of argument was said to be clashing tastes. Two fifths of men (42%) said they let their partner make all of the interior design choices, but only 15% said it was because their wife has better taste than them. The rest (24%) said it was to avoid future arguments and a third also admitted to secretly disliking their partner’s furniture and interiors choices!

Most women seem to agree that they are the decision makers in this department (85% believe so). However, their reasons for this differed to the men; 51% say it is because they have superior taste, while 26% say it is because their husband shows little interest in interior design.

There was also a big divide when it came to deciding on a budget for home furnishings. Most women said they were happy to spend over £10,000 on furniture in the home, while the majority of their husbands said they would prefer to spend less than £2,500.

To see how these results compared to other purchases, we also asked about televisions; most men are willing to pay up to a grand for the perfect TV, while women would be happy spending less than £300. Quite the difference in priority!

So is the secret to a happy marriage to let your wife be in charge of interior design? Or is this just an effective way of avoiding an argument? If you are struggling to find a happy compromise where you are both agree on your home design, our interior expert Sharmeen Shaheed has shared her top tips for harmonious homeware shopping:

Divide the rooms

If neither of you want to compromise on your choices and don’t think a combination of your two different styles will work in each room, then why not divide the rooms. One of you could lead the design in the kitchen, while the other gets the living room. This way, not only will the both of you have your own space to express your style, but the variety between rooms could also liven up the home.

Give them their own space

If you don’t trust your partner’s taste enough to choose furnishings and décor for any of the main living rooms, but you have a spare room, why not allow them to go wild with the design. Give them a room (or ‘man cave’) where they can make all the decisions and you never know, you might find that you are married to a secret interior design talent!


If you feel like you have been making all of the choices in the home for years and your other half shows little or no interest in the items you choose, why not task them with choosing the next piece. Give them the sole responsibility of selecting a key item of furniture, don’t judge, don’t give any input and be pleasantly surprised by what they choose.


Interior design can be very subjective and a lot of it is down to personal taste, but there is also great joy to be had when going on a home development journey with your partner. Approach interior design with a positive attitude and an open mind and it suddenly changes from a problem that needs a solution to an opportunity to express yourself and collaborate together.


If you are both feeling a little underwhelmed by recent interior design purchases, why not mix things up a bit and go on the hunt for something totally different. Maybe a bold, new lighting fixture to add wow to a room or a piece of art on the wall that will be the perfect conversation piece. If you both work together with this new approach, you might find it works and your traditional safe shopping can go out of the window, to be replaced by more bold and daring choices. 

Nick Moutter, founder of Olivia’s, said,

“It was quite surprising to see that there is still such a gender divide when it comes to making decisions around the home, and I think if anything this survey has proven that the best way to avoid an argument about furniture is to let the wife decide!

“For many couples really struggling to find a happy compromise with their decor and furnishings though, our interior expert, Sharmeen, has put together some great tips for achieving harmony in the home.”


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