This Old House


Dear Dharma,

I’m a stay at home wife and mother.  I work very hard to keep our children fed and our home nice.

We bought our house 10 years ago, just moved in and never did anything to make it our own.  I would like to redecorate, not only to modernize, but to create something that reflects more of our personal style.

BUT, my husband wants nothing to do with it.  He would rather spend the time and effort going on trips with the children.  He feels they will get more out of life experiences than new indigo colored towels.  Any suggestions on finding a compromise?

Making It Ours

Dear Making It,

Yes.  Find a compromise.  🙂

Your husband has some valid points as to why he doesn’t want to invest time and/or money into a make-over project.  Spending time with the kids, travelling, learning and experiencing new things – all good, right?

However, your desire to make your home feel more like your home is not a frivolous thing.  Having pride in your surroundings and creating an atmosphere that you feel happy and peaceful in makes a difference to your everyday life as well.

Can we not find a way to incorporate both mind sets here?  One less trip in place of a redecorating project?  Maybe don’t tackle the whole house at once, but room by room over a period of time, a work in progress if you will.

And any reason the kids can’t participate in this, to make it an experience for everyone?  If you all work on it together, wouldn’t it be something you would all take pride in once it was complete?  That sounds like a lovely definition of a family home to Dharma…

I just don’t see why it needs to be one or the other, forever more…

Would love to hear if this approach works, so feel free to come back and let us know!



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  • Anonymous says:

    Take cheaper trips so some money can go towards the home. Do the decorating on a budget. I have a friend who finds amazing deals on Craigslist and her home looks amazing and on trend!

  • Sue says:

    I agree with the husband!! Renovations and decorating is so overrated. Experience and learning is far more important than some new paint on the walls.

    • Dharma says:

      I think it’s only overrated if it’s not important to you… which it clearly is to the LW… Dharma still doesn’t understand why it strictly needs to be one or the other…?

  • Having it all on a shoestring says:

    Women are typically nesting individuals.Given that your writer has shared she’s worked from home 24/7 for all those years raising kids, it’s as much her workplace being a mom and household caregiver. I can totally understand her longing to jazz up her tired office. Has the husband looked at the same four walls in his office? And that would be half the time spent there given an average 40 hour week or more. I think a compromise is in order here. It doesn’t have to be an HGTV reno job and it doesn’t have to be a trip to Paris. Love your idea about making it a group effort. And yes, Craigs List is excellent, for both renovation materials but also finding inexpensive holiday adventures. Been hiking the Pacific range as of late?

    • Dharma says:

      Thanks for your comment, Shoestring… great point regarding women being more nest-y – and the fact that she’s in the home a good portion of the time definitely factors in…

Whether you agree with Dharma or think she missed the mark on this one, leave a Comment!

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