Valentine's Day is history. The roses are starting to droop. The chocolates have been eaten -- and turned into cellulite. That makes it a good day to talk about reclaiming your space after losing (or ditching) your ex.


I'm not talking about you, honey, in case you're reading. I expect to continue cohabiting with you for the foreseeable future. But let's be honest, there's not a coupled person alive who's completely in synch with all of their partner's decorating and housekeeping quirks.

As a catalyst for redecorating, divorce is probably right up there with having a baby. After splitting with her husband five years ago, Canadian color marketing expert Catherine Larose painted her bedroom the deep bordeaux red she'd always wanted -- a color her practical ex had vetoed as bad for resale. One friend of hers bought a new mattress and painted her bedroom a bold pink. Another repainted her entire house.

Paint color is often the first thing people change after a split, said Kathy Basil, showroom manager for Hirshfield's Design  Resource, who has worked with a lot of former couples  -- sometimes both spouses. Paint is relatively inexpensive, yet can have a dramatic impact, she noted. "It starts with budget. Many times after a split, people don't have the [money]" for a major makeover, "which is probably why paint comes up first."

And the bedroom is often the first space that gets repainted. "Even if you have to keep the same furniture, if you only have the budget for paint and new bedding, that can make a huge difference," she said. (Kitchens and family rooms are other popular targets for post-divorce decorating, according to Basil.)

Makes sense to me. If my hubby and I were to split, the first thing I'd do would be paint our bland beige bedroom a deep smoky aubergine (eggplant purple). I've always loved that color; he finds it dark and dreary.

How about you? What did you do to make your space your own after splitting with an ex? And if you were to split with your current spouse/partner, what would you change first?