Let’s face it. Home décor can very easily lean toward to the feminine side. Pillows with fringe, toile and bedskirts are not on most guys’ lists of must-haves when it comes to decorating.
If you’re looking to turn an underused space into a television room or study, here are some simple rules to help a man feel at home. None of these tips is difficult to follow and you'll be able to make some simple changes, such as rearranging furniture, in a day.
If you're doing a complete overhaul, it might take longer.
Reflect His Interests and Personality
Is the man a sports fan? Is his favorite pastime curling up with an historical novel? Is he outgoing or reserved? Answering these and other questions will give you a sense of what feel the room should have. You’re shooting for something that reflects his interests and personality yet can work well with design elements in other areas of the house.
You may decide to go with a theme based on a hobby like fishing and round up memorabilia, favorite photos and other objects that have meaning to him and can convey his experiences when placed on the wall, atop a table or in a bookshelf within the room.
Pick a Function
Think about what the room will be used for. If you are creating a library or study, you’ll want there to be plenty of room for books and CDs, a music system, a desk with a large workspace and storage and – most importantly – a comfortable desk chair and lounge chair.
If it is a room for watching television, the TV should be the focal point and the furniture arranged to maximize viewing. The cliché is that men and women do battle over where to place the television. Men tend to want it to be clearly visible and unobstructed at all times. Women generally want to place it in a piece of furniture so that it is not the focal point of the room.
How’s this for a compromise – a flat-panel television hung on the wall? Read more about designing entertainment rooms. Among the other functions you might consider – a workshop, bar and pool room or a game room.
Take as much out of the room as possible before you begin, so you can create a new space, focusing on the man who is going to use it. If there are items that he particularly likes, gather them together and keep them nearby so that they can go back in the room later.
Paint the Walls and Choose Fabrics
Research, such as the Roper/Pantone Consumer Color Preference Study, shows that men gravitate toward blues, greens and reds.
Blue is a calming color. Green is associated with the environment, nature and wealth. Red evokes intensity and power.
Not sure what color to choose? Pantone, the color design company, offers suggestions for the type of mood you want to create in a room. Lean toward using paint colors found in nature and consider herringbone patterns, tweeds and plaids for fabrics.
You may want to Scotchgard upholstered pieces or choose materials, such as leather, that can withstand heavy-traffic and spills.
Here's a little-known fact: quality leather is actually among the best materials to use wherever there are likely to be spills, kids, dogs, etc. Just wipe soon after spills.
Choose large-scale furniture. Select a sofa or chair that allows him to stretch out. Consider getting a recliner. Designers have made them sleeker and more contemporary looking. Or, get a chair with an ottoman.
Dark, heavy woods give the furniture a masculine look and industrial materials, such as glass and metal, offer a clean, solid appearance.
Read about some other ideas for furniture that might appeal to men.
Don’t Overdo It
Don’t load the room with accessories or it will look cluttered. For example, a large vase with bamboo is a better choice for the mantle than several votive candles.
Ask the man for input and listen to his answers. Showing him photos as examples might also be a good idea.
Paint can make a dramatic difference in a room. Don’t be afraid to experiment. If he doesn't like it, you can always paint over it.
Have fun. You are designing a space where he will feel comfortable.
Kera Ritter is a freelance writer and former reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper.