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Interior Design

Design Differences & Grown-up Discussion

Often when writing these blogs I’m asked by the big guy upstairs (no, not that one) to touch upon certain topics. With this topic I think he was reading my mind! Me and my fabulously beautiful but design clueless better half are currently in the middle of extremely tense negotiations regarding the future of our most immediate surroundings- in other words, we have bought a house and from the teaspoons to the tiebacks the bedspreads to the bath, we haven’t agreed on a single thing!

Being a qualified interior designer, with the experience of running my own- albeit small- furniture design company and due to the fact that I regularly lecture to at least three students a day (oh there are lots more than that in attendance but come on, how many do you think are listening hung over at nine thirty on a Monday morning?) on the subject in the local university, I will admit that I rather presumptuously assumed that she would look to me as a sage of design wisdom and just generally go with what I’d decided. This was not to be.

So far what I’ve discovered in terms of the difference between men and women when it comes to interior design is this:

1. Women (who are called Alex and engaged to me) do not like “overly masculine design”. Things that can be considered overly masculine in their appearance are anything chosen by the man.

2. Men are much more definite in what they are trying to achieve through their design than women. When asked what kind of things they like, women (who are called Alex and hopefully still engaged to me) don’t actually know but are certain of one thing- it is definitely nothing that you point out.

3. Whereas paint, wallpaper, glass, steel and wood are the preferred design mediums for most interior designers, women (who are called Alex and hopefully still engaged to me) tend prefer more unusual one such as irony, sarcasm, scorn and impossibility. To give you an example, though women (who are called Alex and in all probability are no longer engaged to me) get to hold the purse strings and constantly state the importance of coming in on budget, they are satisfied only by types of reclaimed antique parquet flooring that would bring us in wildly over budget and even if we were cats, in debt for every one of our nine long lives.

In all seriousness though, I’ve discovered that what is most important to women in interior design is not so much choosing things that adequately demonstrate to their friends just how stylish and ahead of the game they are (fellas you know that’s what you’re doing!), it is instead about creating a home that can actually be lived in. The feel is very important. Supposedly the emotional sex, women use their heads so much more when it comes to interiors.

They question their choices much more- unfortunately this in turn means that they question my choices much more than I’d like but that probably is a good thing when you have just spent £5000 on a Charles Eames chair and ottoman and decided that the best thing to do is to get another one to give the room “balance”- the only thing that needs balancing currently is my bank account!

What else? OUCH! Oh that’s right, women are generally better at, what’s that? Oh, everything…and they smell better too. Right, I said what you wanted Alex, now can you take your heel off my foot please (and your thumb off my head)?! No? That’s fine too.

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