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What it’s Really like to Live with a Decorating Addict

Readers of TLC Interiors will know all too well that I’m utterly obsessed with decorating. Chances are that you too have an obsession with all things homewares. But have you ever wondered what it’s like for our partners to put up with all this decor craziness? Wonder no more!

I’ve asked my partner Gavin to share his story below on living with me – a true decorating addict. Show this one to your partner; they’re sure to get a giggle out of it (and find solace in the fact that they’re not alone!). Chris x

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What it’s Really like to Live with a Decorating Addict

When you live with someone fanatical about homewares, there are certain things you need to learn to love and be prepared for.

There will be times you look at your partner with a sense of bewilderment so deep you cannot fathom the words coming out of their mouth. They will seem irrational; the difference between blue and aqua will be a crisis so pressing your full, undivided attention will be required.

They will resent your interference in cushion placement one minute, and berate you for a lack of involvement the next. Be prepared, stay calm, and love them.

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“….is this my house?”

There will be more than one day you come home to find your once-familiar home transformed. This will run the gamut from a new cushion or two, fresh bedspreads and new lamps, to the lounge room resembling something you were forced to watch on the Lifestyle Home channel the night before.

Boredom is like death to all diehard designers, so as soon as your house begins to feel stale, their anxiety levels rise. A new throw is a quick hit to soothe the nerves and a total bedroom makeover is enough to stave off homewares cravings for a good few weeks.

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Budget for cushions

When I got serious about budgeting for Chris and I, I set up categories for the usual: bills, food, clothes, pets and entertainment. Pouring through our accounts I began to see a pattern of purchases; $50 at Country Road here, $20 at Typo there or a sneaky $60 on eBay. It was like a monthly subscription to Cushions & Candles (business idea: cushions and candles subscription service).

I soon set up a “Homewares” category in the budget, in recognition of this deep seated need for new and exciting additions to our home. Burying my head in the sand was not going to make the financial leak go away.


Do not, under any circumstances, go to Ikea together

I’m serious. I’m not being melodramatic. It’s a running joke in a number of TV shows and in some social circles about seeing couples arguing at Ikea. Chris and I generally never argue, but every time we’ve gone to Ikea together, I swear he comes close to pushing me down the stairs to the Market Hall. The problem is, as I’ve slowly learnt over the years, I’m there to simply affirm his predetermined choices, not to add my own opinion, or god forbid disagree.

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Get interested

I’m a geek. I love technology, computer games, new phones and anything with a microchip. Chris tolerates my obsession for gadgets and has even learnt to hold a conversation with me about them from time to time. He also occasionally surprises me with tech gifts I’ve been pining over for ages (you’ll read about it soon). So it’s only fair in a loving, reciprocal relationship that I’ve learnt to engage in conversation about colours, trends and design.

When you’re living with someone with so much passion for a subject, its infectious; I find myself getting excited to talk about Shaynna’s design on Selling Houses Australia. For a while. When I my eyes start to glaze over Chris knows it’s time to send me to my computer. That’s love.

Buying Cushions - Melbourne Fed Dquare

Embrace the crazy

With all the inspiration on TV, in magazines and out and about at shops and cafes, you, my dear partner of a homewares fanatic, need to accept and embrace change.

No matter how happy you both were when you bought your new lounge, no matter how great that art is hanging above the television, it will bore your partner eventually. Those chairs could cost anywhere from $80 to $400, it doesn’t matter; they will go out of style and need a “rest” (listen carefully for this word; a shopping adventure for new items is sure to follow).

No matter how much you and I might disagree, the passionate design bug inside our partners will never be perfectly happy with their homes for long. It might be a month, or two, or six, but eventually they will need change. Embrace it; our homes and relationships are better for it.

>>> Do the behaviours above sound like you all over? Are you a decorating addict too? Drop a comment below and share a story from your home!


Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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17 Responses

  1. Yet another great article Chris however the only credit that goes to you is how you pull off your addiction with Gavin. Lol. Yes I must say I’m of the same ‘ilk’ that you are Chris; probably cut from the same cloth, so to speak. Being a female my decor & homewares addiction has somehow melded with my passion for fashion and I’ve picked up quite a few tactics from hiding my fashion purchases. The line “What ?? ….this old thing” when I’m referring to my beautiful new HUGE velvet tufted bedhead. It’s not the kind of thing that you can smuggle in the door in an Aldi bag…. Plus the fact that I’m 52 I’m starting to have selective memory loss, so I keep stumbling (literally) onto old purchases stashed away for far too long that I have forgotten about …hmmm and some that I’ll have to hold over until the next wave of that particular trend washes over the decorating world…

    1. haha oh Penny you crack me up! I never thought I’d find myself longing for memory loss, but how amazing it would be to stumble across an amazing decor gem you’ve had stashed away and completely forgotten about.

      I wish I had the restraint to hide my purchases. It’s the same with me and wine. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to put one away and let it age; down the hatch right away lol.

      Glad you found some parts of the post you could relate too Penny. Keep up the shopping 🙂

  2. I can’t wait for my husband to read this when he gets home this evening, he suffers as you do from coming home sometimes to a very different house to the one he left that morning…and I admit I do feel a little guilty for the amount of times I have asked him, (or our children), to “please help me move this table/lounge/cupboard/rug) !! But once you get a design idea in your head, it has to be acted upon!!

    1. Hey Amanda. This is Chris here, the culprit this article is written about 🙂 I hear you! Sometimes the room just needs to be moved around in an attempt to try every single furniture configuration known to man lol.

      You’d never believe the amount of times I spend a few hours trying out different room layouts, only to put everything back the exact same way again. Not time wasted, in my humble opinion. These things must be tried and tested!

      I also hate asking for help to move the furniture, because I know it will be met with questions (“why?”, “haven’t you done this already?” etc). I just struggle to move it on my own haha.

  3. Cushions! … sweet versatile cushions! I am planning a renovation at the moment and I want a secret room lined with shelves so I can store all my cushions in there. My husband thinks I’m mad…

    1. Chris is the same. So am I, about books and technology. In our ideal home I’d have a library and a gaming room (noob den). Chris would probably want a large, climate controlled space for all rotational homewares to be kept when currently not in use in the house.

  4. Ba ha ha ha: “Boredom is like death to all diehard designers, so as soon as your house begins to feel stale, their anxiety levels rise.” This made me laugh out loud because I was thinking it EXACTLY what I thought standing in my lounge on Sunday. Anxious at the sameness of it!

    1. Hahaha MJ I totally feel you! I’m often caught standing in a corner of the room examining it for 10 or 15 minutes, just trying to figure out how to take it to the next level or what needs to be thrown away lol!

  5. Scott offen (he says daily) comes home to a decor change… new cushion here accessories change there. He doesnt understand that as well as fashion interior design is on the constent move too…. he thinks i have a problem 🙁
    so be it!!!!! My name is Lisa Bradley and im obsessed with interior design@

    1. haha Lisa I would feel bad and be concerned if he came home and NOTHING had been changed. Nothing makes me more exhilarated than to turn a candle three degrees to the right or flip a cushion six times in an afternoon. Makes my heart race. And if I need to go out and buy a whole new bedding set, so be it. Gavin knew what he was getting himself into lol!

    2. Lol Lisa, poor Scott! I feel his pain. I’m all for a change around the house occasionally but I like to hang on to my cushions for more than a few months.

  6. Heh. When we buy a new place to live in, we rent the old one out to tenants as fully-furnished. I sell this as “clever financial strategy” but really it’s because I’m bored with the old furniture.

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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