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How To Incorporate a 150-Gallon Saltwater Aquarium & Save Your Marriage | Couples Design Therapy

The Story of How I Designed a Family Room With A 150-Gallon Saltwater Aquarium

“Color balance is much like balancing a relationship. The only difference is one must replace a therapist with a designer.” 

Welcome to D’KOR Home! Our little dose of Texas D’korating combined with a bit of design therapy! Ready to grab a couple of marriage & aquarium room design ideas at the same time?

After over 20 years in my first career in management all over the United States for the department store, Target, or Targët as some call it, there are not too many problems I can’t solve. Add 30 years of happy marriage to the ONE man in my life, and yes, I do consider relationships more important than a single room design or an entire home design. The story of our Collin County, Texas couple Shabab and Baber is much in the same. He’s an excellent MD! Without his daily expertise in pain management, the Frisco, Plano, and Dallas community would not be the same. Focusing on pain management for our community is his business. Interior design and decorating are ours. Fortunately, Baber and his lovely wife, Shabab, along with their two high schoolers and one college-aged child, moved into Chapel Creek, a subdivision near Frisco. They lived in their home about a year and a half before calling on us D’KORators. She likes color. He was all about the aquarium. You can imagine after hearing everyone gripe about their pains all day. Baber just wanted a peaceful oasis. Baber is a lover of color. Here’s what we didn’t do…

Decorator, Quote, Dallas, Texas, Interior Designer

First Lesson In Couples Design Therapy Thanks to The Family Room With an Aquarium

The first lesson when battling out a design dilemma with your spouse is…”Don’t throw the fish out with the furniture!” Really! Like a marriage, balancing colors and untypical tones aren’t always natural, but in most cases, it can be accomplished with a little give and take.  Sometimes that means calling in “me,” a “DEE,” a “Lori,” a “D’KORator” instead of a therapist. Trust me…we are much less costly than a therapist plus – we transform daily lives for the better.

Not in Plano? Frisco? Dallas? McKinney? Colleyville? Southlake? Highland Park? Don’t worry! We are Texas-based yet located less than 15 minutes from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. 🙂 We all have passports and love to travel. We’ll come to you. Now onto a little design therapy to help save your marriage with design and compromise.

How To Save Your Marriage & Design a Room With An Aquarium

Please allow me to take you on a tour of the beautiful Chapel Creek, Frisco home of my clients, the couple – Shabab and Baber. To give you the full picture and complete view of the impressive architectural and space details that we had to work with, see the photos below. The opposites attracted, but sometimes they can clash too. We are grateful to these chose to call us to help balance their decorating dilemmas & space to solve their furniture layout dilemma in their oversized family living room. For us, the solutions were rather simple. Unlike some of our renovation projects, in this case, the architecture was impressive! 

Before We Designed The Room | Aquarium Room Design Ideas

Here is the family room on our first visit. It’s not terrible in the least. The architectural bones and scale of the space can feel overwhelming, but at least it’s all good stuff. Maybe not exactly what we would have chosen in terms of size and color, but let me show you how we made it work.

How To Incorporate a 150-Gallon Saltwater Aquarium & Save Your Marriage | Couples Design Therapy 1 - Dallas Interior Designer serving Plano, Frisco, Dallas, Allen for Decorating Den Interiors D'KOR HOME by Dee Frazier Interiors

Our team was fortunate because there was a vast amount of floor space; however, this can also be challenging. The windows are open to the outdoor area when left with no aesthetic division. 

Shabab and Baber had purchased a couple under scaled neutral and yellow upholstered chairs and a sofa that were simply too small for the family room.

How To Incorporate a 150-Gallon Saltwater Aquarium & Save Your Marriage | Couples Design Therapy 2 - Dallas Interior Designer serving Plano, Frisco, Dallas, Allen for Decorating Den Interiors D'KOR HOME by Dee Frazier Interiors

1. Create an appropriately sized focal point. 

Removing the understated projection from the fireplace was also a must. The before photos above show what I mean. Our trusted mason would need to come to the rescue. On the rendering, we specified a local natural stone that would be stacked. Giving the family room a deep-rooted, traditional Texas feel and nicely balances the scale of the fish tank. Plus, selecting local materials allowed us to do our part to save the environment by reducing green gases was too.

How To Incorporate a 150-Gallon Saltwater Aquarium & Save Your Marriage | Couples Design Therapy 3 - Dallas Interior Designer serving Plano, Frisco, Dallas, Allen for Decorating Den Interiors D'KOR HOME by Dee Frazier Interiors

2. Don’t ignore the necessary components that should be a significant part of the design.

Instead of ignoring the 150-gallon saltwater aquarium, the most significant focal point in the room Baber’s pride & joy, we embraced it. With the saltwater fish serving as live art, and gunmetal and gold sculptured wall art from a local artist, the wall is perfectly accented. Notice the sculptures fill the void without taking away from the “live art.” 

Aquarium Room Design IdeasAquarium Room Design Ideas – 3D Rendering

Aquarium Room Design Ideas

3. Select furnishings that fill voids and fit the space. 

To fill the space, additional furnishings and a beautiful, new square, silver leaf cocktail table, and small clover style ottomans for extra seating completed both the room’s look and function. 

Dallas, Texas, Interior, Designer, Aquarium Room Design Ideas

4. Balance colors and tones.

Teal and blue accent vases and accessories gave her more of the color she wanted and balanced the aquarium’s tones. 

living room, coffered ceiling, Aquarium Room Design Ideas

5. Use window treatments to gain height and separate spaces.

Notice in the before photos all you may have noticed was the window frames, honeycomb shades, and outdoor furniture. Now, with a window treatment installation. The window treatments serve as the focal point on this wall. Your attention probably went to the window treatments vs. the fact that the windows had two feet of wall above them.

window treatment design ideas, yellow chair, gold drapesAquarium room design ideas
Aquarium Room Design Ideas

6. Draw attention to architectural details & coffered ceilings.

To further balance the furniture color tones, we painted the coffered ceiling squares a beautiful golden honey color; this was absolutely perfect with the yellow-toned Texas stone.

Aquarium Room Design IdeasAquarium room design ideas 

7. What To Do When You Can’t Afford Design Therapy.

Working on a project with a spouse or loved one can be a detriment to some. No matter what – ALWAYS listen. Learn about your partner’s functions, needs, and expectations. List these expectations. Try to accommodate both of your needs first. At a minimum, even if you don’t think you can afford a designer, keep in mind we are a lot cheaper than an attorney, a divorce, or purchasing mistakes. Many of us will complete an e-design for you. Save your marriage at all costs. Don’t lose your cool over a room, a house, a condo, a penthouse, mansion, yacht, or anything else for that matter!

I hope you enjoyed my aquarium room design ideas and advice. Let me know if you need help solving a design dilemma.


P.S. If you’re not already following us on social media, find us @DeeFrazierInteriors or click the link to your favorite social media site by scrolling down.

P.S.S. Here are a little Dallas, Plano, Frisco, and other home interior design inspiration that you must SEE…ENJOY!


Chief D'KORator, Early Riser, Coffee Lover, Gardening Guru, Estate Sale Maven, Mover, Shaker, Wife, & Mom


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