Skip to main content

How to Make Your Husband Cry

Have you listened to my Ballard podcast yet? I was so honoured to be a part of the amazing group of creatives that appear on their podcast! We taped the podcast in Atlanta last Fall after Caroline, Taryn and Karen spent Day 1 in my workshop! It’s all about my system and what you learn in my courses. It inspired me to write this post: How to Make Your Husband Cry.

Melanie Turner

I have listened to most of Ballard’s podcasts, but the one that really made me stop and take notes was this one that they posted with Melanie Turner.

Melanie has a gorgeous portfolio and these are some of her images, but the conversation she had about living a lovely life was what I wanted to share with YOU my lovelies!

Melanie Turner Interiors
Excerpt from the podcast

This is an excerpt from the podcast, it’s about 45 minutes in if you want to listen. And you should just listen to the whole interview:

“I tell my clients all the time. All the time, whenever the husband keeps saying:

‘I’m not doing this, I’m not doing that’.

‘Okay Mr. Saver, but you’re making all this money and keeping it aside, 20 years from now when you go to do your house because your son or daughter is getting married you’ll look at your wife and say “Why didn’t we do this 20 years ago?’

What is the purpose?? Why would you not want to surround yourself with beauty and sitting down with your family and enjoying your life.

Everything in your life can be special if you want it to be.”

Melanie Turner Kitchen

“It’s very easy to dismiss your home, this thing that is around us all the time, it invigorates us and holds us in it’s arms all day every day, and it’s so important in our lives to make the things that we look at every day, beautiful.  Those things that you feel and touch and sit on, feed you every day.

They [husbands] get it once their home is finished, there is no turning back.

Living in a beautiful home makes every day feel like a luxury. It’s special.

Decorators add so much to people’s lives, we give purpose to how you live.

In the end, when they walk into the final reveal, it’s always the husband that’s crying, ALWAYS.

And it’s because they work so hard and they never thought they would live that way. It gives purpose.

How can you not want that?”   Melanie Turner in Ballard Designs How to Decorate podcast.

Have I Seen a Husband Cry?

I’ve never actually seen a husband cry, but when we’re at the reveal stage, I have had them walk into the house with a big delighted smile and say something like, “Am I allowed to sit down yet?” This question illuminates, “How to Make Your Husband Cry.”

Bedroom Interior Design and Styling by Maria Killam (Wall colour, BM Quiet Moments) Duvet cover here


Last Summer, when we photographed this project (which included this refreshed master bedroom above), I had picked up two little beakers (below) to display with one sprig of greenery on each bedside table because the existing end tables were small.

Barry Calhoun

Photography by Barry Calhoun

I styled them strictly for the photoshoot because the wife (Deborah) told me that her husband didn’t want any decor on his table because he needed room for a book and his glasses. Since her husbands end table was what you first saw when you walked into the room, she confided she’d love to leave it styled.

But I proceeded to remove my vignettes but left the beaker vases because well, they were small enough so I figured maybe they might stay.

Later that evening, I received this text from Deborah:

There’s No Turning Back

See? There’s no turning back as Melanie said.

Anyone who dismisses a decorating career as ‘fluffy’ (it’s happened to me) hasn’t lived in a home with atmosphere (maybe), which is another word for ‘A look and a feel’.

Living in a beautiful home truly does make every day feel like a luxury.

That’s how I feel all the time in my home, the colours, the furniture, the styling bring me so much joy, I feel lucky and so grateful to be born with this gift and it’s why I’m passionate about sharing it here in this space and teaching it to others in my colour workshops all over the country!

You don’t have to be wealthy, style doesn’t have to be expensive, but the interesting thing about atmosphere is that it doesn’t matter how many Pinterest images you save, you (or your husband/spouse/wife) won’t feel it (atmosphere) until it has been installed in your home.

So the next time your husband (spouse, wife) reacts to the decorating bill, send him/her the link to this post.

We spend so much time in our homes, it’s wonderful to have a house that fills you with happiness when you walk in the door! If you need help with atmosphere and getting your colours right in your home, check out our interior and exterior eDesign packages here.

Over to the decorators, who cried when they saw your reveal?

Related post:

I’m an Interior Decorator, NOT an Interior Designer

Atmosphere, the One Thing you Cannot Buy

 An Open Letter to my Lover on Decorating

7 pins


  • Heidi says:

    I have to remember this as we start a huge remodel (new studio for both of us, complete remodel of house, landscaping). My husband is so scared, but I learned my lesson after staging two of my homes for sale–why didn’t I do this earlier so I could have enjoyed it myself instead of doing it so someone else enjoys it?

    • EXACTLY! I had friends who took out huge sliders and put in French doors which looked so great, the first people who walked in bought the house. We all said it’s too bad we didn’t get to enjoy those fantastic doors to the pool and outdoor kitchen area.

      A husbang hugged me when I walked into a repeat client’s house. A bathroom I am working on now (last thing that needs remodeling) was the first thing the husband wanted to fix when they bought the house 25 years ago…we are doing it now and are waiting on the shower enclosure. We moved the toilet so it isn’t the first thing you see when you walk in from the front door. This house on the beach has been added to over time since the 40s and we have encountered some crazy construction when we’ve opened the walls.

  • We are in the final stages of our building process. We have used your exterior and interior packages. It has made ALL the difference in our stress level and confidence as we move forward with each step. Also, we are IN LOVE with what we have seen so far. Tricia has been so helpful with each step and answering our questions as we have moved forward. It is so funny because my husband will now say when we go to make a choice….what did/would Maria say?! Best decision we have made in the whole process was to add you to our building team. THANK YOU! I can’t wait to show you pics of our completed project!

    • Maria Killam says:

      What a lovely testimonial thanks so much Tenille, I am so happy to hear that! So much better than just blindly throwing a dart at your decisions based on ‘what you like’ and ‘winging it’ hoping it turns out and as we know, that never happens. So appreciate your comment! Maria

  • Keira says:

    Maria, This is such a lovely post. Thank you. My marriage broke up in part because my ex thought it was perfectly fine to spend money on the wiring and the pipes but…Paint? Furniture? Window coverings? Nada. At one point, I bought furniture for my home office with my own personal money (he couldn’t imagine how these pieces would upgrade the room and wouldn’t agree to use household funds)…and guess who snagged it for his own home office when we moved, and where it sits today four years after I moved out??

    I hired a designer to help me with my new home. Even though I was well aware that the place was going to look better with her involved, I was stunned at how excellent it looked after she styled my LR and DR with *my own stuff*. ha ha I felt like I was finally in *my* place.

  • Emilie says:

    My husband has fought me every step of the way for the last two years while I tried to decorate our house. It’s been extremely difficult and has rocked our marriage. But now that the main area is almost complete, he loves it. The English roll arm sofa that I thought he would hate is now “his” since he loves it so much. He shows photos of our house to friends, family, and coworkers, which makes me think that he is obviously happy with it. Our beautiful surroundings really do fill me with happiness. It makes a MASSIVE difference in my enjoyment of daily life. Also, our house is now cleaner because I love keeping it pretty, which is a huge weight lifted off of our shoulders!

    • Emilie says:

      I should add that to make this decorating/renovating happen I had to pay for all of it, because yeah, my husband could not see the worth in it.

      • Maggy says:

        What I don’t understand when I hear husbands claim they don’t care what the surroundings look like but proceed to complain bitterly at the suggestion of painting wood anywhere, moving the TV, or remove dark panelling etc. Have they not heard of “if momma ain’t happy nobody’s happy. I believe that if you are in a relationship whatever bothers one partner should concern the other. If anything makes one partner sad, upset, discouraged, unable to function within a space comfortably then why oh why are you not concerned!

  • Nancy says:

    That was a awesome Blog !
    Beautiful house too !
    So much truth in that Story .
    Yes !!! To making them cry !!!

  • Darci Foshay says:

    Maria I’ve listened to yours & Melanies podcast episode equally 3 times. I absolutely loved when Melanie talked about creating her “vision board” I made one shortly after and cherish it. The Ballard girls are a joy to listen to -I savor every episode. I’m looking forward to meeting you at your N.Y conference in April.

  • Susan says:

    Thank you for this thought provoking post. With a tight budget, my first husband and I honed our DIY skills while I read and sought out knowledge of all things that could make our house a home that gave us pleasure. We did not always agree and sometimes he got his way. After his death, with no one to veto it, I installed a pea gravel path we had argued over. When I mentioned it to another too young widow(er), he said to me, “You’re now a Committee of One.” I have remarried and this marriage is shaped by our valuing partnership and relationship. When we disagree, we work through it–remembering we want a home in which to enjoy our lives together not a pretty house. Your post was a good reminder of this as we start a major remodel!

  • Mary-Illinois says:

    I feel pretty lucky that my husband lets me decorate. And since he lets me do whatever I want (within reason) I conceded & let him have his big, ugly recliner.
    I loved seeing the bedroom you designed with Quiet Moments. That’s my home’s color. So it was nice to see what other colors you put with it.

  • Stacee says:

    So funny the timing of this post. A friend was just given a tour of our new house this weekend and she made a comment something along the lines of:

    I’d rather spend my money on traveling

    I told her I spend nearly every day in my house and I want it to feel like I’m on vacation every day, not just a week or two a year!

  • Cyndia says:

    I gues I’ve been somewhat fortunate in that I haven’t had to deal with many husbands in my decorating career. And mine just knows that he will probably love whatever I put in our home, even though I do ask his opinion. But I have come up against my hardest client of all, my son-in-law. After 3 years of assisting him and my daughter with both their first home, and now their current one, we have learned to introduce changes slowly, and let him get used to the ideas. Lately, I work with my daughter on the details, and the two of them go over everything together at their leisure. Sometimes things just have to “cook” for a little while, and then suddenly he’s raring to go.

  • Lucy says:

    Maria I have listened to all of the podcasts on Ballard. Yours was fantastic and all the others were also inspiring. Over the years I have worked with many husband’s who do not want to spend the money on their home. I think sometimes they consider the house just a place to park. They would rather spend it on cars, golf memberships or other image related things. They don’t seem to realize that thier home tells a lot about who they are. My own husband would have been happy with a crate for,a coffee table and a recliner to sit on. Little by little as I worked and spent the money that I earned (although I realize it is OUR money), on nice furniture and accessories, he finally realized it did make a difference. He now says “what should we upgrade” when WE get the money? Life is a journey!

  • Mid America Mom says:

    This is ironic? Our last home and it was a fixer upper. It was stuck in the 50’s complete with shag, wallpaper, old wiring. The first order was wiring and getting another bathroom (yes added a bathroom that had never existed – will never do again if I can help it). Then wallpaper removal and paint in the bedrooms. We changed the fridge and stove, purchased new lighting. Then life came along – money ran out – his health faltered. Later my husband and I were having a quiet moment. “Every time I walk into our kitchen I feel depressed. I do not want to feel that way” he said. I replied “We are out of money..” . “Lets get a loan” and yes we did. It took us awhile but it got done. We moved into a new home and though we hoped to make do with the kitchen – something has to give. So we are planning on getting a partial new kitchen (flooring and lights will have to wait, using same but about 3 year old appliances).. soon yeah!

  • Lynn From the PNW says:

    We bought a house with the agreement that we would remodel it. I wish I made my husband sign a contract. His idea of remodel is a new couch.
    Can you tell me the where you found the cute bed comforter and shams in the after pictures of the bedroom?

  • Sharon Shearer says:

    Last week my husband and I met with an artist/designer to go over a specific part of our renovation. While we were talking she almost made me cry and it was for a similar reason. Living in a part of the country with so many retirees, she works for people who are in some cases getting their dream homes for the first time. She said that she has had some heart to hearts with them in the vein of,
    “Why did you wait so long” to finally get to this.. having beauty and joy in your life from having a beautiful home..makes you happy. Sharon Shearer

  • holly says:

    Atmosphere is so important and one can definitely decorate nicely on a budget. I’m lucky that my husband enjoys all the changes I’ve made to our home. I frankly did them for myself as I’m more a visual person and need happy surroundings, and he’s the type that can wear the same stained tshirt for a week and not even notice. lol

  • Barbara says:

    Anyone know where that bedding come from? It’s just the palette I am looking for! So hard to find good bedding. There’s so much ugly stuff out there — and I hate to spend the money/wait the lead time for custom linens.

  • I love this entry, Maria! Isn’t it true… your home wants to tell your story! It’s been a part of my mission statement for a long time. Sometimes you just have to let go and see where the adventure takes you. It’s easy to bow to fear, but a good designer can make a lot happen with any budget… you just have to open yourself up, find a good professional and put your trust into them. Bravo!

Leave a Reply