Written by AphroChic Updated 07/10/20
For the more cynical members of the home decorating business, a “guy’s room” has always seemed like the one in which all the design stops. It’s the room with the old, ratty furniture, mismatched accessories, and nothing on the walls but a really big television.
Perhaps that perception is not entirely fair, but it’s true that for almost as long as it’s been around, interior design has had a definite focus on women. However, it’s entirely possible to create a space that’s both masculine as well as stylish and contemporary, provided you know the right elements to include.
So when you’re ready to take on your next man-cave overhaul, skip the AstroTurf carpet and foam finger wall art and try creating a space with these six elements of modern, masculine design.
- 01 of 06 Masculine Colors phototropic / Getty Images. No matter what room you’re decorating or what style you plan to decorate in, it’s always a good idea to make choosing the color palette your first step. Of course, a masculine room isn’t one where you’re likely to find a lot of bright shades of yellow or pink (though you may find some). Guys’ colors tend to run a different gamut, ranging from moody shades of darker colors on one hand, with warm neutrals on the other side.Classic neutral palettes such as black and white work well in any masculine space. Given the tendency toward darker tones, pops of color are an important way to break up color blocks. For this role, warm metallics like gold or brass are always a good way to go.
- 02 of 06 Geometric Patterns ExperienceInteriors / Getty ImagesWith the possible exception of bright florals or butterflies (though either could find a place in the right masculine space), it’s hard to define a pattern as strictly masculine or feminine. But some do make a better argument for inclusion than others.Generally, you can’t go wrong with a strong geometric pattern in a man’s space. Masculine design is all about clean lines and sharp edges, as opposed to the curves and colors of more feminine styles, so having geometric patterns on textiles and accessories allows you to weave that aesthetic all throughout your space.A great way to achieve that patterned effect is with a rug. Beni Ourain rugs from Morocco, with their beige and black color palette fast becoming a classic, are a perfect choice for masculine spaces. The neutral colors and diamond geometric pattern are ideal for fitting into a neutral heavy space or brightening up a moodier one. Depending on the size of the rug, the scale of the pattern can add visual interest to the entire room, alleviating the need for other patterned textiles.If you’re feeling really creative, look for furniture pieces that have some geometric design built in, like the stylish yellow credenza shown above.
- 03 of 06 A Mix of Textures YvanDube / Getty ImagesPerhaps even more than pattern, masculine spaces are a mix of textures, with an emphasis on hard, rough, or weathered surfaces. Natural materials such as stone and unfinished wood are always the first choices for creating a space with a rough-hewn, masculine feel. Brick walls are another perfect fit, adding color as well as texture. Also, on the man-made side of the equation, metallics continue to be a preferred texture. A smooth-finished counterpoint to rough stone, brick, or wood, metallic finishes can be used in small doses through accessories and lighting fixtures, or on larger pieces, such as a credenza. The masculine kitchen seen here is a wonderful mix of textures, blending brick, stone, and strong metallic finishes—including the oxidized metal of the support beam.
- 04 of 06 A Range of Accessories Nikada / Getty ImagesJust because the room you’re decorating is designed to suit a man’s tastes, that doesn’t mean that your accessories options are limited. Look for pieces that add to the texture of the room, such as stoneware, statues, or pottery. Books are another great choice, particularly older works with interesting or vintage hardcover bindings. Finally, textile pieces such as throw pillows remain an excellent option for adding color and pattern to the space.
- 05 of 06 Colorful Art Sisoje / Getty ImagesArt is the perfect finishing touch to any space, and masculine spaces are no exception. Art is one of the easiest ways to add spots of bright color to a moody or neutral space. Gallery walls combining multiple pieces will create eye-catching statement walls while offering opportunities to include other non-traditional wall art. Black and white photography is also a fantastic possibility for spaces with a quieter, more reflective feel.Finally, look for ways to connect your art to the wider decor. Using your art pieces to pick up and echo the patterns and colors found in your rugs and textiles is a way to create a nuanced, layered look that will add depth to your man-centered room.
- 06 of 06 Leather FOTOGRAFIA INC. / Getty ImagesLet’s face it: Whether you’re designing a room for the guy in your life, or you’re a guy looking to upgrade your decor, you’ve got to have at least one leather piece—though more than one is by no means out of the question. Leather is one of those quintessentially masculine materials that works in just about any space that aims for a manly aesthetic. Large pieces like Chesterfield sofas or side chairs are the perfect anchor pieces for masculine spaces, bringing a timeless, classic feel that you can build on with various textures, accessories, and art. Best of all, leather can be found in a variety of colors, from black to warm browns and even white, so in whatever way you choose to incorporate leather, it can have a big impact on your room.