Integrating speakers into contemporary decor - can WAF ever be overcome?

This is a topic I'd like to see discussed more.  Not a speaker issue per se, but it's speakers that usually cause the problems. My partner is a hard core interior design/aesthetics type. We will shortly be combining households with all the benefits and challenges that this presents. We're both fans of a "Music In Every Room" (MIER) lifestyle, so that's a good start. But we quickly diverge. And to be clear, we're not talking about giant screens on the wall or home theater. This is audio only.

Anyway, her idea of MIER is built-in speakers or, at most, tiny Sonos units on a bookshelf or behind furniture. I had some of that in my house albeit BlueOS stuff. That's OK to a point. But my LR had KEF LS50's on stands. Obviously difference in sound is dramatic, and she admitted it. But she doesn't care. For her the improvement in sound quality is negated by aesthetic horror of visible speakers.

It's worth mentioning that the decor/design aesthetic in question is basically high end transitional with mix of contemporary stuff, Asian antiques, some colonial antiques, large format abstract oils, etc. It's >not< traditional or frou-frou, really a look where the right speakers could easily be interpreted as industrial design pieces that mesh well with the rest. The LS50s fit that description I think.

So, getting to the question here... Has anybody had any luck convincing spouse that speakers can be a part of the decor?  To think of them as some kind of sculptural elements, not "just ugly speakers?"  That they're industrial design elements that somehow add to space? Have links to pix of living spaces that integrated speakers into the look? Any help or ideas would be great. Thanks for reading, a kind of odd topic, I know. Cheers,


Partners, equal, you have the right to have some great speakers, make that plain and to the point of not in contention. Then offer to let her help you pick them out, emphasis on help. If she refuses to work this out then you are already on a slippery slope.

I learned the hard, very very hard way, give to much, lose all respect, suffer through the years, end up being very unhappily single and broken hearted.

Next partner, I simply said I am living part of my dream now, racing cars, building them as well and I will change that when I am ready. I also treated her with full respect, took breaks away from my interests and learned to enjoy hers as well. Now more into her hobbies that I was even into mine but it was my choice. I am the happiest married man I have ever met and I can have any speakers I want as long as they fit in the space I setup for them, front and center but I still want them to look like something she likes to see.




Topics like this always turn into sexist nonsense combined with exposing obvious yet utterly random weaknesses in many relationships. Would a spouse with a loud multiple exotic birds hobby feel slighted if they couldn’t impose this on their live-in partner? Most interior design doesn’t care one bit about hifi, except for the ubiquitous hidden in-wall/ceiling speakers with out-of-sight electronics. Look at Architectural Digest...maybe one speaker system (a Wilson floorstander some time last year maybe)...maybe a bookshelf speaker in a bookshelf. If you can’t work this stuff out and need advice from strangers you’re just lame. Period.

Any time the subject of spouse acceptance factor is raised I immediately think how lucky I was in that regard. One of the first times I met my girlfriend and wife to be was at a teen hangout where she invited me to join her in her new 1968 Chevelle to hear the Lear 8 track stereo with separate amplifier and upscale speakers. I swear she was as excited by the sound of the stereo as she was by having a popular new car.
We dated for two and one half years and then were married for fifty-one years. In all that time her love of music and appreciation for a great sounding stereo never dimmed. For years we had Acoustat 2+2 ESLs plus a pair of 16 cubic ft. subs plus amps, preamp, sources and wires in our den. She never once complained about the clutter but instead often marveled at how great they sounded. Only a few years before she passed away my large DIY horn speakers with bass bins of Klipschorns for bass sat in our den. I told her I was unhappy with the limited bass extension of the Klipschorns and that I wanted to replace them with a pair of 18 cubic ft. folded corner horn subs. After asking me if I was sure they would sound better she not only approved the change but also spent many hours helping me veneer and finish them.
My Mary was not only a smart, beautiful, loving woman but also that rarest of creatures a genuine female audiophile. At her funeral during an interlude when friends and relatives were invited to comment a close mutual personal friend, a former high end audio dealer, noted how rare she was as a woman who loved reproduced music but also had great knowledge and enthusiasm for the equipment which made it possible.

My Wife was with me every step of the way during the period of time that the system was being built, she has met most who I have met, and is still meeting today, individuals who I spend time with as a extension of my enthusiasm for enjoying replayed music.

The Line has been drawn on Stacked ESL 57's in the Homes main listening area, in her wisdom she suggested I create my own dedicated listening space. Strangely this was one request that was not presented to myself numerous times before I seemed to be able to hear the request being made 😎. 

Tough problem with the partner's insistence on owning decor (and sound apparently). This may just end up being the 'whip' to finish the basement as soon as you can and make it your own. Sounds like nothing will satisfy her; sorry on that.

I do know our living room decor helps support our small burl walnut Raidho D2 floorstanders. And even if much smaller than the Dyne Sapphires I traded away, the little D2s sound so much better in every way. And, they are pretty for us both.