Back in the day, when a man began to cohabit with a woman, the woman took over the design of a man’s establishment. Those days are over. Just as in the case of clothing or art, a gentleman cultivates an esthetic sense to design his own environment. As in clothing, the same rules apply:
- Furnishings should be within one’s budget.
- A house should be comfortable, but comfort is not, contrary to modern thinking, adverse to elegance and style.
- Your house or apartment should look like a man lives there, even if you share it with a dame. Real men don’t wake up in bedrooms decorated with daises and flowered sheets.
- Less is more; interior design is not about endless rearrangement; it’s about creating a functional, comfortable, beautiful environment, and then enjoying it.
Brown is a fine and manly color, but men tend to overuse it. Mix it up; some brown, some black, some colors – but no pastels, unless you live in Miami and work for the vice squad. Fresh flowers add a nice note of color and life; try your local farmers market, and change the water every few days. Even if you’re not a big drinker, a bar is a nice focal point, as glassware is alluring and liquor bottles often have interesting designs.
Don’t be a cliché; a man cave is okay, if that’s your only refuge, but if the focal point of your best room is a big screen TV, that might say something about your lifestyle that is better kept to yourself. If you like gadgets, treat them like kids are supposed to treat toys; put them away in a designated place. If you’ve got a lot of computers sitting around, your place will look like an office or a hacker’s retreat.
Don’t try to make your rooms look like something from a magazine; that looks false and contrived. As in all things, design should be you, but the best version of you. So take some time, give it some thought, and try to mix styles a bit. Keep things simple; clutter is for Mrs. Haversham. A few antiques, a nice leather sofa or club chair, carefully chosen original art, your favorite books, pictures of friends, families, and lovers – Fido lying on your Oriental rug in front of a roaring fire. If you have something you see in every other man’s apartment – the same poster for instance – get rid of it. And remember, like in all of design, that you are the only one you really need to satisfy; you’re going to be spending a lot of time in your place, far more than any guest. So don’t decorate to impress anyone but yourself.