The Masculine Home
Janet of Newmarket writes, "My son has purchased his first home and is having trouble making it feel homey while still making it masculine. Can you help?"
What a great question Janet! One trip to your local decor store and you're likely to find that a number of styles and fabrics are marketed to appeal primarily to women. The good news is there are lots of options that will let visitors know that while warm and welcoming, a man owns the home.
If your son is a stylish dresser, I encourage him to look inside his own closet for queues on how to make his home feel more comfortable. Alternatively, he can browse the pages of GQ Magazine to find inspirations on what style of men's clothes he likes.
Clothing preferences can help determine where to start when it comes to a masculine home design. Consider sticking to stereotypically masculine colour options such as black, blue, grey and brown and masculine fabrics like wool, tweed and herringbone.
While modern furnishings that pair black leather and chrome provide a decidedly more masculine aesthetic, they are often cold and impersonal looking. If your son wants an urban, more cosmopolitan feel, he need not rely solely on this look.
Combine virtually any colour leather seating with chrome or stainless steel chair legs and straight, clean-lined arms to establish a modern aesthetic. Pair durable, easy to maintain leather furniture with structured, un-fussy but cozy fabrics. Introducing fabrics by way of a large, coffee-table-ottoman or a couple of chairs will ensure to soften the look of the room while adding warmth.
First time homeowner's with budget concerns may want to scour a local Home Sense store for inexpensive area rug options. If his furnishings are very modern, pairing them with a less modern looking area rug will help warm-up the overall look.
Darker, chunky lamps and shades will hold there own in a clean-lined space, instead of the stainless steel lamp options that are often the go-to lighting solution for many men.
Large scale, vibrant canvas-only or black-framed artwork will keep his place clutter free and sleek looking, while adding punches of colour to the space. Consider using a subtle colour from the artwork as wall colour inspiration, but be sure not to make the colour too dark.
Part of the urban aesthetic is the existence of a high-contrast but often neutral colour scheme. If you are set on infusing a pungent colour into the space, select one wall (perhaps behind the largest piece of furniture or a fireplace wall) on which to use the colour in order to create a focal point and finish all adjacent walls a neutral hue.
Try to let the artwork stand out on its own and resist the urge to match throw pillows and furnishings to it. Select good neutral hues like black, or a more current grey as the larger furnishings in the space and then look to darker, lighter and patterned versions of those neutrals to act as accents in the room. If you still want a pop of something different, introduce one chair with a highlight fabric on it, but be sure not to overdo it. A layered, subtler look is a good goal if you're not sure about working with colour.
If your son is looking for a more traditional aesthetic, leather furnishings may still be in the cards. Hammered steel and antiqued wood combined with a small amount of glass on the tables to lighten the look up, is a wonderful way of pairing vintage items with worn-looking brown leather furniture.
Avoid ornate, curvier and more feminine lines when selecting tables and table bases, and look to bulkier, straighter legs to established a more substantial, masculine feel.
Create a contrast to the more traditional looking furniture by selecting modern area rugs, like shags or sisals. Place area rugs over natural, warm-tone floors to keep the colour palette cozy.
Mid-to-dark coloured wood floors are a good solution in any room, but there's nothing like creating a dramatic look with slate tiles. A natural stone like slate will also provide you with plenty of colour inspirations from which to select your wall colours.
If you love slate but don’t want the fuss of a natural stone, don't let the fear of a maintenance-headache scare you out of the look. There are a number of wonderful porcelain tile options that looks just like slate but provide you with a maintenance-free flooring solution.