2016-10-10 / Entertainment

Couple may clash over decor

Sense & Sensitivity

DEAR HARRIETTE: My fiancee and I are finally moving in together. This is my first time in a while living with someone other than my children, and the same goes for her. I have a very minimalistic approach to how a house should be decorated, while she loves to make a house into a home. I’ve been struggling with how to incorporate both of our decorating styles into a shared living space. She loves earthy tones, while I love modern, sleek furniture. Is there any way each of us can win without clashing? – Mix & Match, Indianapolis

DEAR MIX & MATCH: Here’s where creativity needs to step in, along with a healthy dose of patience. What many couples do – if they have the space – is to let each partner have a room that they can decorate any way they want. This gives you complete freedom of expression in at least one area. The rest is a negotiation.

The idea of making the house a home is a great one, which you should acknowledge. Move from there to discussing how to incorporate dashes of color into her earthy palette. Get some interiors magazines to give you ideas. Look at some of the decorating shows on HGTV. Watch together and talk through design ideas and solutions. If you get into the project together, you will have a better chance of developing a shared visual identity that will make you both comfortable. Just remember that compromise is the key to happiness!

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DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a newfound love for entering contests. I love the possibility of winning something for free. Although I’ve entered over two dozen contests (for a free bike, free vacation, free fitness classes, etc.), I’ve never won. I am disappointed, but I keep going because I know my day will come. My friends say this is the beginning of an addiction, but it’s all free! No harm if I’m not spending money, right? – Love Freebies, Minneapolis

DEAR LOVE FREEBIES: I hate to break it to you, but the saying is largely true: Nothing in life is actually free. What do I mean? Even if or when you do receive a gift from one of these offers, what have you given in exchange? Usually, you have given up lots of personal information that marketers use to bombard you with promotions, hoping to lure you into buying something from them.

The amount of time that you invest in trying to get something for free could be better focused on getting yourself closer to a big goal that you have. Rethink how you spend your time and what you really want. And think through the free offers. For example, if you win a free vacation, how will you get there? Do you have the disposable income to enjoy yourself once you go? The swirl of energy that makes these offers so enticing usually fizzles out fast when you face reality. I vote for keeping your eyes on your own dreams rather than a random freebie that just keeps you hyped up.

— Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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