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‘Tis the season…

The season to decorate the crap out of our condo. At least that’s the way Wife Ninja sees it, and for the first time ever, I’m okay with it. Sure it might cost a pretty penny. But eating off Corelle dinner plates is a heck of a lot better than the paper stuff I was using in my bachelor pad.

We rent a small 1br/1ba condo from a pretty cool guy. The key word in that sentence is “rent.” To me, that implies, we are living in some dudes house and we are therefore limited in what we can and can not change. Sure, we might be able to take a towel rack down, or change a mirror out, but that is where I draw the line. Wife Ninja, however, is a little more ambitious. Specifically, she wants to paint!

I tried to tell her that painting was not really an appropriate thing to ask since we don’t own the place. But after a little trickery (darn you women and your cleverness) she convinced me to ask the landlord if we could. Not only was he fully on-board with painting the bathroom, but he paid for it! It turns out Wife Ninja is the first woman to ever live in this place and, as he says, he wants her to “feather the nest.” That means she can pretty much do whatever she wants to the place to make it more “homey”.

I’ve concluded the fundamental difference between man and woman, when it comes to decorating, is the value of form vs function. For a man, function is the only thing that is important. I don’t care if a couch has a horrendous floral print on it, if it’s comfortable (and cheap) I buy it. Who needs a fork and a spoon, when you can purchase a spork instead? And why do I need eleven (yes eleven) different decorative pillows on my bed? Answer: I don’t.

The other day Wife Ninja returned home with a few decorative purchases. When I asked  where she planned to put one of the wicker baskets she bought, her response was “I don’t know, but it’s just so cute.” What? You bought something that serves no purpose in our home, simply because it is cute? Turns out, that is exactly what she did, and something tells me it wont be the last time she does it. Gotta love her 🙂

So I sit here typing in our Crate & Barrel-esque condo, with a freshly painted bathroom, and enough candles to light a small country, and think to myself “It’s good to be home.”

Men/women chime in with the crazy things your significant other does decoratively. Women, why do you sacrifice purpose for cuteness? I just don’t get it.



  1. I use my wicker baskets to hold extra toilet paper (or magazines, depending)!

    My husband always questions my design purchases when he goes with me to Target or wherever. He thinks things look ugly in the store, but if I buy it and bring it home, he gets the full picture, and he likes it. So… I’ve stopped taking him to the store with me. I just do what I want, and he likes it.

  2. Ha! Sounds like you and Wife Ninja are polar opposites when it comes to home decorating! But I can’t say I’m surprised.

    I do appreciate beautiful things as a woman, and I’ve had to stop myself many times from buying every wicker basket in Target just because I think they’re gorgeous. But there’s no point in buying something that’s pretty if I don’t have any use for it. When we first started dating, my husband brought me pillows for my couch. But they were an off shade of the same color as the couch! They clashed! But I couldn’t toss perfectly functional couch pillows just because they’re not pretty. Oh well! 🙂

  3. I am a guy in my friendships…and apparently in decorating too.

    Look, I anticipate wanting to nest….ONCE we have our own place. As in, bought. As in, OWN, not rent.

    I’m not going to waste my effort and time otherwise.

    I’m not really big on decorating anyway. I like things pretty minimalist. Maybe a couple of photos on the wall. I’m not into artwork or ornaments etc (the less things to dust the better!)

    The one thing I can’t get rid of is a few of my stuffed animals 😀 I used to arrange them on the bed, but that didn’t last long. Right now their home is on top of my guitar amp, hehe.

  4. My fiance would decorate with duct tape if he had his way. Just saying…sometimes we have to save you from yourselves.

  5. I was a little unsure of commenting on this until I saw the pillows on the bed thing. Man, I dont think I hate anything more than decorative bed pillows. They just sit there stupidly all day, then you take them off the bed at night! Then you sleep and have to put the stupid things back on the bed….Oh man it drives me nuts!

  6. In my house, the genders switch. I’m not much for decorating. I like it when it happens, but have no skill in that area and don’t notice much if it’s not done. People harassed me that I had nothing on my office walls for almost a 18 months. I just didn’t care. Now that I’ve gone to buy art to put on the walls, I like it, but it’s not like I was longing for it. DH, on the other hand, bought a vase years ago becaue it was going to fit the room he wanted to have when we bought a house. As in, we don’t have the room, or even the house, yet, but he knew he’d want to decorate the room around that vase. I shook my head at the time, but now he’s got his “man-land” and the vase fits perfectly. All this just to say, it’s not always the women!

  7. We have Thirty pillows in our apartment. So whenever a bus load of people are dropped off at our house to stay the night, they each will be able to rest their head on a pillow. We are just taking care of the community. (ie the amount of pillows in our house are ridiculous)

  8. I am definitely not feminine in this area. At one point, I was changing apartments twice a year! Useless throw pillows, baskets and knick knacks are not important enough to be moved and take up space in a small apartment.

    I do not understand decorative pillows on a bed, I do not keep candles around that I don’t use, I hate wicker!

    My decorative style is definitely more modern than country and I swear by Frank Lloyd Wright’s motto that, “If it’ can’t be displayed, throw it away.”

  9. Maybe if I owned a home I would care more about decorative stuff (pillows, bookends, vases, wicker baskets, etc). In the meantime, however, these sorts of things add to my list of items to be dusted, washed, fluffed, taken to the dry cleaner, etc. I have to agree with Wife Ninja about the paint, though. Even if it’s just an accent wall, a little bit of [inexpensive] paint can change a room from “blah” to “bla-splackity-bling-dang!” (<)

  10. I’m a man and I actually kinda like my stuff to look nice. Maybe it’s just me. I don’t spend a lot of money on decorative pillows, towels you can’t touch, candles, and the like. But I will spend a little extra cash for a nice painting or piece of furniture that will last and look good as well as serve a purpose.

    I have a very minimalist attitude that keeps things from getting out of hand, so I don’t spend a ton of money on something that won’t bring me any value. But if I think something looks nice, and will go with the style that I already have going then I am willing to put out a little dough for it.

    Art auctions, and estate sales are great for finding good pieces of art cheaper than retail. So it’s possible to make your apartment/condo/house look great for a lot less than you think.

  11. Even when I was living in the house we owned, I didn’t decorate or paint because I knew that we would only be there for a few years. We currently rent and my husband is the one who puts up the pictures and artwork and every decorative pillow in my house was a gift. I am picky about the furniture we buy, but thats because I have to live with it for YEARS. Though we still love cast offs and hand-me-downs to avoid buying things, so much of our house is mismatched.

    I figure my nesting instincts will kick in when we live in a house that we OWN, not rent, and I know we are going to live there for more than 2 years. I see this happening in about 5-7 years. But I do occasionally dream of painting.

  12. I am a man and I like my home to look nice with nicely painted walls and art to put on them.* A few years back, I had my co-op apartment painted for the first time using colors other than white, and it made a big difference to the mood of the place. It cost a lot more than I expected to use high-quality Benjamin Moore rather than the cheap crap the co-op office suggested, and I thought the painter I hire was a bit of a crook (I hope ya’re reading this, you know who!), but the result was terrific. I have a couple of pillows on the sofa, but I draw the line at candles. Fire hazard, and what’s wrong with turning on a lamp?

    * See my guest post, “Collecting Art on a Budget,” from when Ninja was busy doing other things.

  13. I am minimalistic and need a function for any item in our house, or it’s out (rather not even getting in). When there is a function, the item might be cute, or at least not ugly, like a wooden box holding belt buckles (race memorabilia), or a few (like, 3) photo frames. But if we don’t have a use for a thing, it doesn’t exist. Oh, yeah, I am a female in a marriage:)

  14. Ok, I’ll say it:

    Decorative pillows and bed skirts and sea shell bathroom soap holders and the like are not homey or feminine or wifely or motherly.

    They’re for people who like stuff. Which is fine– I don’t mean to hate on the stuff-lovers. But if you’re just really into stuff or the idea of stuff or whatever, own it.

    Don’t pin it on the ladyfolk, Ninja. It’s more of a personality thing than a gender thing.

  15. I’m not a normal girl – I only buy for purpose. The only reason we own candles is that my husband enjoys the cinnamon scents and we live in Houston – great for power outages during hurricanes. I will never buy decorative pillows since we have dogs and that’s just something else for them to shed on. If I do need to buy something for a specific purpose though, I try to make sure it matches our dark wood decor and looks modernly elegant. I have a (I hope) good sense of style, but I don’t want girly stuff all over the house. 🙂

  16. I’ve been on a decorating kick lately. But I do make sure that I have a specific use for everything I buy. I’ve had too many “cute” things end up in the trash/goodwill pile. If it doesn’t have a purpose, it’s just a waste of money.

  17. I definitely am like your WIFE (!!) in that I also love to decorate with no purpose other than for it to look nice. My man feels the same way, and although he generally comes around on things such as numerous pillows and high thread count sheets, if it doesn’t actually benefit him (like the softness of sheets would), he’s never won over on it haha. I think for like-minded people, we just like the overall appeal of having a place that feels WARM and COZY in our own way, instead of cold & empty like most men would let their places be. Makes it just feel more like HOME 🙂

  18. I love decorating and nesting! I just bought a bin at Target and was determined to make it work in our closet. Which led me to throw a bunch of junk out. But I’m just saying, I think some pillows here and there and some candles spruce it up. Makes it look like yours and like home. 🙂

  19. Absolutely not. I hate knick-knacks. Is she also in charge of doing the dusting? Ugh. Obviously I must be a guy.

    And my husband, back when we were first married would buy random (guy-like… dragons, juggling balls, that sort of thing) bric-a-brac. Since he’s taken over dusting he’s seen my point on the not needing clutter.

    Books in bookcases are the only decoration I need. Forma sique funcion.

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