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Couple Counselling For The Kitchen

Aug 27, 2008
The kitchen is no longer the domain of women. True equality has occurred in the kitchen and men now take as much interest as women as to what constitutes the hub of their home. So what has brought about this change?

The likes of Jamie Oliver and all the celebrity chef programmes that make for light entertainment these days have gone a long way to making the man feel more comfortable in the kitchen. Of course, it can be a little infuriating for the woman who comes home to find her other half has thrown the contents of the fridge around, pretending he knows what he's doing after watching one of these programmes where they make it all look so easy. The kitchen is a mess and you can never be quite sure what you're going to end up eating but at least he tried.

Of course, the other deciding factor in all this new era, new man stuff is the fact that the kitchen comes equipped with so many glorious gadgets these days. We all know that anything with a digital display or beepy buttons to push is going to attract male attention in their need to master everything electronic. Even the dishwasher is not beyond the reach of males these days. Wiping surfaces is something else entirely but one step at a time.

Another interest of the male in the kitchen is his need to provide input into the decorating. Of course, this comes with a degree of understanding from the woman seeing as he is going to be providing much of the labour in bringing it all together. Building cupboards, putting up kitchen tiles, plumbing in sinks and taps, these are all things that, while we may like to think we can afford a fitter to do it all, is not always a realistic hope.

This is where it is always handy to have a man around. Pick those kitchen tiles, demonstrate your desired layout and let him get on with it. He'll be able to get messy, he'll climb about on work surfaces and feel like a bad boy after being told a million times not to do it as a child, and he will feel like he has achieved something. You get your kitchen tiles up without too much ado and everyone's happy.

Of course, choosing kitchen tiles is something you can do as a couple. This can be a real bonding process. The choice has long moved on from white square ceramics to a plethora of styles, colours, textures, prices and sizes that will require a minimum of three weekends trawling around DIY shops and tile shops to agree on something.

Try to discuss your options before going out and narrow it down to a few styles or at least colours. This will avoid the necessity for a mid-shop row that results in divorce threats - never nice for onlookers. Often, though this is not easy, try to decide on a material before you go too. Kitchen tiles come in ceramic, glass, stone, slate or marble. Will you want them on the floor as well as the wall? Will you want them matching, contrasting, brick shaped, large square, small square, mosaic, with borders or without?

There is a huge choice these days but, ladies, if you see something you truly can't live without in the tile department, and we all know that decoration is so much more important to you than him, then compromise.

Compromise in a way that means he doesn't realise he is compromising. Do your homework, find out what digitally lit, snazzy little kitchen gadget he thought was really hot and take along a brochure for it when tile shopping. As soon as he starts to disagree with your choice of kitchen tiles, whip out the brochure and distract him. If you agree to this gadget he will agree to the tiles. Compromise where you both get what you want is the best sort of compromise possible.
About the Author
Interior design expert Catherine Harvey looks at the way kitchen tiles are something a man likes to have input on.
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