There comes a time in every guy’s life when he is no longer living the college, frat-house-esque simple life. When he’s passed the stage of his mom taking care of him, but before the phase where his wife will tend to essential household necessities. Gentlemen, this is the time for your very first “bachelor pad.” And when it comes to designing and decorating this space (because trust me, it’s important), the first thing that comes to mind, after a huge TV and Xbox, is simplicity. From my experience, single guys living alone value a more livable space over a more “designed” space. They prefer a minimalist approach that speaks to efficiency, practicality and functionality. Keeping all these aspects in mind, I’ve come up with 7 essential design elements that will transform your post-college dwelling into a sophisticated home that will impress both your mom and your future wife.
Never underestimate the power of an entryway, no matter how small. Upon opening that front door, this is the first part of your home that will make a lasting and significant first impression. The last thing you want is for your guests to walk into a cluttered entryway, filled with shoes, coats, keys and god-knows what. Be smart and invest in the following:
A small shoe and coat rack. Even if you have a closet for that stuff, having something right by the front door will help keep things neat and tidy.
Whether it’s a thin console table, dresser or shelf, having a tabletop of some sort will serve as a flat surface for you to temporarily place whatever is in your hands when you walk through the door. Because guys, you know you love to leave your mail, car keys and loose change anywhere and everywhere. Which leads me to my next thought…
Place a small bowl or tray on your tabletop for all the little knick-knacks mentioned above.
#2. CONCEAL CLUTTER
Most men consider picking up after themselves a very difficult task. Low-maintenance is key and eliminating clutter will make your place easy to clean. So consider purchasing practical furniture to quickly contain clutter. For example, a coffee table with built-in storage is perfect to throw in TV remotes, game controllers and the occasional iPAD that are always eye sores, especially in a small space. Built-in media storage is ideal, but not all homes will come with luxury features. In that case, look for something with doors and cabinets that will conceal cable boxes, wires and speakers.
#3. WINDOW PANELS
A common cliché associated with bachelor pads is to leave windows bare. So not true. Window panels are not feminine at all and are essential in creating a warm and inviting space. Opt for gender neutral fabric with masculine colors and textures – they instantly create a welcoming atmosphere.
#4. WALL DECOR
While feminine and gender neutral spaces tend to have an abundance of accessories, fixtures and other details, masculine spaces focus on larger elements, like wall decor. Incorporating sophisticated wall art, personal photos, floating shelves and mirrors with masculine textures are all great examples. (Old college posters don't count). Whatever you chose to do, just make sure it’s framed.
#5. COMBINE TEXTURES, TONES & FINISHES
If there is one thing I’ve learned about guys, which trust me, it’s a learning process, I know that they HATE excessive pillows. Too many on the couch and piled high on the bed...they just hate it. I hear ya guys, they can be uncomfortable to sit on and annoying to arrange every morning when you make your bed. Therefore, make it a point to mix up tones and textures on the wall (i.e. bold colors, wall paper and accent headboards) and finishes on furniture (leather, metal, wood, glass). Any combination of these elements will create a dynamic design and provide more visual interest, so you don’t have to over accessorize with the dreaded throw pillows.
#6. MATCHING BEDDING
I’ll give you guys minimal accent pillows on the bed, but even the simple and clean look has a few rules. Make sure that your sheets, pillow covers and comforters all match, and are the correct size. Pillow inserts drowning in a sham, mis-matched fitted sheets and a comforter that is too small for the size of your mattress are so sloppy. Make sure everything fits, coordinates and complements.
#7. AREA RUG
Carpets and boys don’t mix. At all. So most guys chose a place with hardwood or tile floors. While this is great in terms of maintenance, a room lacking fabric and upholstery can seem cold and unfriendly. Incorporating a simple area rug in the living room, bedroom or home office adds style and a sense of coziness. It helps to define the space and makes the room feel warmer.
In the past, a certain look comes to mind when you hear the words "bachelor pad" - leather couches, lounge chairs, entertainment centers and a fully stocked bar. But that doesn't mean forsaking a stylish home. By following the rules above, you're on your way to creating a home that is comfortable, stylish and accommodating. And if you can't decide on paint color, fabric for a couch or how much thread-count your bed sheets should be, hire an interior designer ;)