Things I Like: A Workable Compromise

All couples have at least one hot button – that topic virtually guaranteed to be high octane, with a high risk of devolving into shouting, followed by periods of silent brooding.

For Gilles and I, that topic is painting.  Not the actual act of painting itself, but the seemingly harmless process of selecting a colour.

You see, I like cool colours of blues and grays.  Gilles, on the other hand, prefers a warm palette of what I tend to think of as endless shades of oatmeal.


Our family room/kitchen has been in desperate need of repainting – partly because I’m sick to death of its vaguely orangey colour and partly because, well, it’s been a long time.

For the past year (I wish I was kidding), there has been a parade of various colour swatches taped to the walls as I attempted to coerce Gilles into a decision.

None has met with his approval.

Finally, in frustration (with a healthy dash of spite) I proceeded to start painting anyway … MY colour choice.

Now, there’s always a risk in stomping off to do things your own way in spite of opposition. In my case, I made a couple of unfortunate mistakes.

After having painted the largest wall in the room, I discovered that I had bought the wrong paint.  I now had a very shiny, GLOSSY wall in a south-facing room that was already very bright.

In addition, the soft gray I had selected was now being completely washed out in the bright sunshine.  I resisted the urge to put on sunglasses in this room with its shiny, virtually white wall glowing like a beacon.

I quietly cleaned up and put everything away.  For a week – a week Mother Nature decided to bless us with blinding sunshine everyday – neither of us spoke about the glowing elephant in the room while I contemplated my options.

I could pretend nothing was wrong, that this paint choice was exactly what I wanted, and proceed with painting the rest of the room (just kill me now).

…. or, I could swallow my pride, admit to my mistake (the horror!!), and re-open the discussions on colour.  If you knew how volatile this hot button really is for us, you could appreciate my extreme reluctance in doing that.

I finally decided that – pride, be damned – I could not compound a mistake with a bad decision.

The bottom line is – miracles do happen.

We had an almost civilized discussion about colour choices and a compromise was found with which we both could be reasonably happy – or at least, not miserably unhappy.

I am now in the process of painting … with a smile on my face.  Neither of us think it’s perfect, but we found middle ground and it works.

… for now.  I haven’t the heart to bring up the issue of a new colour choice for the bedroom.  Maybe next year …


  1. Hahaha, I love this! I can just see you both tiptoeing around the elephant in the kitchen. I’m glad a compromise was found – I would have been tempted to just buy another can of paint and start over and never, ever mention it. This is why I’m single.


    • yes, it was one of the options I considered, however unfortunately I just KNEW I would have to explain why I was repainting the same wall again :/

      I am now almost finished, I’m reasonably content with the results, and there have been no major skirmishes. Overall – a resounding success!! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ha! I can so relate to this post. My first husband didn’t care about stuff like paint color and was happy with whatever I chose. I happily painted whenever I wanted. He did not help but he didn’t argue either. Twenty years later I ran into Rick who is VERY particular about the color of walls…every wall must be off white! He did do painting for others and painted whatever color they chose but when it came to our house, white was it….inside and out!

    I have not won any rounds with that one but I did make some progress…our project house will be a pale gray/green with white trim and possibly black accents. 😀 We will see about the insides…I’ve found some neutral grays that don’t offend him too much.


    • It’s not so easy living with a partner who is highly opinionated about decorating … but veers to the bland. I guess it could be much worse. Could you imagine if their taste was truly horrendous?!! 😉


      • Oh, that would be awful! At least he doesn’t mind…I can decorate with as much color as I please, as long as it’s not on the walls. 😉


  3. My Hubby’s and I have worked out a great system for home decor. I get to choose everything! He doesn’t really care how it looks anyway as long as it’s comfortable. He is really good at following my instructions too, when it comes to painting and wallpapering. 😊 BTW…if you want to paint the bedroom next year you might want to start sticking up splotches now!


  4. Thankfully, none of the men in my life so far ever was picky about colors. I had a great room called autumn wheat and you would have probably disliked it. The white cornice molding was a crisp white. My kids called it “tan foundation cream color!” 😀


  5. OMG so funny!
    I do wish you better luck for the bedroom. I f-ed mine up last year. I didn’t write a post on it like I did for my bathroom as it would have been about what NOT to do! Ha ha!
    My hubby and I agree on painting. I paint. He doesn’t.


    • hahaha! I have a few painting horror stories too, but I rarely make the same mistake twice 😉
      I too am the painter. I find it rather peaceful – I break a room down into mini-projects and take my time.
      I get an inordinate amount of satisfaction from the end result 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m glad you guys were able to work something out, and in a civilized manner rather than in a choice of weapons and a ten pace march-off. My wife and I also have big disagreements about painting. I try to convince her that she’s the best painter, so that she’ll do all the work, and she tries to convince me that I’m the best.


  7. Having lived in a ‘soft white’ (yellowish tint) house for the past 5 years (rental so can’t paint it) I am dying to have the opportunity to wield a paintbrush again! I used to redecorate all the time, before I got married again, basically as soon as I had finished going through the whole house I’d start again at the beginning. I learned over the years which colours work in which rooms (all to do with the amount of light) and fortunately the OH is happy to leave the decisions to me when we move into our new house. And guess what? I’m going for white and grey with a touch of bright accessories like yellow, blues and maybe orange. I love orange, such a cheery colour and apparently good in the kitchen as it increase the appetite 😀 (I once had it in the cold north-facing bathroom, must admit it woke you up in the morning.)
    Thanks for the amusing tale – I loved your glowing elephant. And orange looks lovely against grey 😉


  8. Color is such a hot topic! My husband loves “earth tones” (translate – BEIGE). I like earth tones too (translate – COLOR). Ha ha ha. Most of our house is beige, but my writing room is a kaleidoscope of rich color (And the bathrooms are pumpkin and brick – earth tones, right?). I’m glad you found a compromise! Good luck with the bedroom 🙂


  9. Oh dear Joanne! This makes me so grateful that my husband could care less when it ones to choosing paint colour. He may have had one when we were first married but he gave that up long ago!😛


  10. Oh, Joanne, I laughed so much I cried. I’m still in hysterics. Loved the “glowing elephant in the room”. That will have me giggling all day.

    When we repainted, we paid a colour consultant to come and tell us what colour to paint all the walls. It was worth the money to avoid months of indecision and grumpy brooding.


    • I made that mistake once. That’s how I ended up with the colours that are currently in my house.
      Unfortunately the consultant sided with Gilles’ opinions and that’s why I have a colour in my bedroom that makes me cringe.
      The next consultant I hire will be bribed before they walk in the house 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m in the middle of transitioning our living room from warmer colors to cooler ones (I, too am a big fan of greys, taupes, and blues). My husband wasn’t going for it at first. Then, a friend of mine who has a good eye for design suggested the same color ranges. All of a sudden, my husband thinks it’s a great idea! I decided to keep my mouth shut and enjoy the win quietly. On the other hand, I once saw a picture of a beautiful cobalt blue powder room and decided to try it. My husband said it would be too dark. It was… I re-painted it feeling the sting of his silent “I told you sos.” Who would have guessed that paint colors could be such a source of marital conflict?


  12. Oh I can sympathize and I love alone. No one to please but me and still the swatches stay up forever and I spend a fortune on “sample paint cans”. $9.00 for a 1/2 a wall – they have our number. Just painted my bedroom gray and now I’m fussing over new flooring. No, I didn’t get all of the swatches (floor, walls, bedding, drapery) and put them together sensibly. I simply painted. There is a reason I never did interior design!


    • Oh Cheryl, we are kindred spirits in the decorating department!
      I confess I take the trial-and-error approach to most things …. in spite of having taken a course in interior decorating.


  13. I wanted to ask about the negotiated paint color, but I see you’ve already shared that.
    It’s always taken me forever to choose a paint color. I cannot imagine having to be voted down.
    I feel for you about the first wall you painted. Who did the sanding? 😀


  14. I’m of an optimistic nature and do not foresee having this color discussion anytime soon. We are moving into a new home and, because my wife always has liked how I originally decorated my “bachelor pad”, she has abdicated the right to criticize any of my future decorating decisions. We shall see!


  15. How many times have I been proved right about colour…. we’ve ended up buying 2 sets of drapes, etc. Then returning HER choice. Do we learn anything from that process?

    I’ll let you decide….

    That was a fun post! Very real!


  16. Oh dear. 🙂 All’s well that ends well, though.

    Next time you need to tackle a paint colour, feel free to invite me into the mix. I will sell him on the chosen colour in a way that will have him convinced he picked it on his own. I’m that good. 🙂


  17. After giving in to, and living with for years, pale green with mid green feature walls, we now have heritage white, which we both like. I miss the mid green feature walls but not the rest of it. Glad it all worked out for you in the end.


    • I don’t know what it is about trying to find a colour for our living space that can trigger so much angst!
      With my olive complexion, any shade suggesting green would be promptly vetoed by me! 🙂


  18. Ha! We recently took the plunge and decided to paint our apartment. Luckily both my husband and I agree on the funky colors we ended up with. I’m glad there was some sort of compromise on your end.


  19. Oh Joanne; part of me wanted to laugh, but I’ve been there and bought the wrong paint and had to re-do …. so I empathise. Given how much home renovation the Big T and I have done over the years, it’s lucky that paint isn’t one of our trigger topics. Actually, we’re both indecisive, so the paint swatches stay on the walls for ages because neither of us can choose. Eventually, we’ve compromised on a really basic off-white for most of our walls, on the basis that we need a blank canvas for our art. Now, whether to fence our yard or not …. but no, I’m not going to mention that.


    • HA! We can do all the big stuff without any problems. Rip out walls, flooring, rebuild, … we’ve done it all in 2 different houses without issues … until we get to the colour stage. Then everything comes to a grinding halt.

      You mentioned your blank canvas for art. Yeaaaah … don’t get me started on the issue of art!!! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hehe. We tend to fall out over my, er, perfectionism — or as I like to call it, attention to detail. T is meticulous in his workmanship, but is happier to compromise on purely aesthetic things. The very things that drive me mad! Our art policy is pretty basic: support local artists; go to graduate shows; go to gallery openings; buy work for each other; appreciate the creativity within the family. One of our favourite works is a painting (about A1 size) of a fish that the boy-child did at school when he was six. The school had a specialist art teacher who spent a whole term with the class. They looked at real fish, drew fish, played with colour, etc. and in the end every single child in the class produced a painting that made people go “Wow.”


            • When I was younger, I had no inclination or interest in art, but as I get older, my appreciation for the arts grows.
              I can’t help but wonder if I had had any exposure to the arts as a child, I might have arrived at an appreciation much earlier in life.

              Liked by 1 person

              • That’s quite likely. I was very lucky as a teenager to have a truly inspirational art teacher, but even then the prevailing notion of what it meant to be “good at art” blocked my creativity for a very long time. I’ve found my way back by enjoying others’ work and trying to spend as much time as possible with creative people. No judgements, no negativity. Bliss.

                Liked by 1 person

  20. I love choosing color and I love…just love to pain. Gosh, I wish we would live in the same city, I would have so much fun convincing you -or not.

    There are actually webpage like where you can upload a picture of the room and try new wall colors first. It’s actually fun to see how different a room can look with different colors.

    Had to laugh about the “almost civilized discussion,”….priceless.


    • Oh Bridget, I think if we lived near each other, we could get ourselves into a whole mess of mischief 😉

      When you posted the other day about having the ability to ‘see’ colour, I wished I had someone like you to mediate on our behalf.
      I will acknowledge I’ve been told I don’t see colours the way other people do.
      I took a decorating course a few years ago and it was quickly apparent to me – and everyone else in the class – that I might be colour-challenged.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Your post made me laugh out loud.

    “For a week – a week Mother Nature decided to bless us with blinding sunshine everyday – neither of us spoke about the glowing elephant in the room while I contemplated my options.”

    It was big of your hubby to not rub your paintbrush in your face, so to speak. 🙂

    I hate painting. Wanna come over and paint my washroom? The paint is chipping off, like a snake shedding its skin.


    • Actually I think Gilles was afraid to say anything and the look of relief on his face when I acknowledged it was a mistake was almost comical. I think it set the stage for finding a solution because anything would be better than that bright shiny wall!

      I like painting. It has a zen feeling to it and I enjoy the transformational process.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I think finding a workable solution is the key to marital disagreements and it sounds like that is what you guys did. 🙂 I just don’t like the smell and I’m forever plucking paint out of my hair for days afterwards. lol!

        Liked by 1 person

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