In a moment, I’m going to ask you to close your eyes. But first (since, you might well know, most cannot read with their eyes closed), I want you to just imagine your dad or another man very important to your life. What does he look like? What setting do you imagine him living in? What colors and textures come to mind? What traits of great dads across the globe (warmth, kindness, openness, strength—just to name a few) can you cherish with design as we think about this upcoming Father’s Day?
Take a few seconds. Go ahead, and close your eyes.
Nowadays, the cliché masculine room ends up looking one of two ways: a messy man-cave with walls painted black and a ripped leather sofa in front of a widescreen TV, or a stark minimalist room with metallic fixtures and harsh geometric lines. While these two looks are surely masculine, they are just the edges of the masculine design spectrum; masculinity, just like femininity, is much more nuanced and complex than that. You can design a masculine room that is strong and sophisticated without losing the warmth and kindness that represents our dads as we remember them most.
Get It Quick
how to design a masculine room you love too:
-feature geometric shape and hard lines, but vary texture and material
-use deep, warm, and neutral colors that are masculine without being too dark or oppressive
-blend traditionally masculine materials like leather and wood with lighter fabrics and upholstery
-keep your detailing simple and symmetrical
Feature geometric shape and hard lines, but vary texture and material. Feminine rooms tend to have more curvature: shapely table lamps, chaise lounges, chairs with circular seat backs and plump cushions…you get the idea. To add some testosterone to the room, use furniture and patterns that have geometrical shapes, straight edges, and square corners. Just take a look at all of the straight lines and geometric patterns featured above! Our own Kathy Kuo and our creative director Ro are DYING over this rug-on-rug look and halo painted onto the ceiling (Like, where do we keep the paper bags? They are hyperventilating). You also want to choose furniture and decor that is sturdy and strong, just like dad. Watch out though: You don’t want the room to become boxy and cold. Create a layered look by adding in textured wallpaper, wall art, decor, and neutral (yet interesting) fabrics. Adding in this variety will keep the all-man look alright for living.
Use deep, warm, and neutral colors that are masculine without being too dark or oppressive. We’ve all seen the man-cave with the all-black walls. And while this strategy definitely makes a room more manly, the dark colors will often absorb all of the light and create a dim and gloomy space. To counter this effect, add in white or beige elements and natural lighting (featured above). Even better, try deep and rich colors instead of black (reds, browns, blues, and grays seem to work well). Our favorite grays? Behr Paint in Intellectual and Suede Grey (as seen on our How To Paint A Floor blog post). We love the dark leather chair featured above, perfect for dad to sit on while he reads the morning paper. Throw in a few table lamps with warm, soft lighting, and you will have an atmosphere reminiscent of one of dad’s bear hugs. Also, don’t be too afraid of color: A bright burst of blue, orange, or red can read masculine while livening an otherwise dull space (featured below).
Blend traditionally masculine materials like leather and wood with lighter fabrics and upholstery. Leather, burlap, wood, and metals are all traditional materials that look great in a masculine room. They are healthy and durable and remind us of when we had to call dad to help fix a bookshelf or squish the spider that got in our room. But be sure to even out the room by mixing in fabric. A room without fabric is like a person without friends—lonely and longing for something they’re missing (woah, that simile got dark). Linen, wool, and tweed work great here. Check out the great blend of materials used above and below! And if you’re in love with these blue chairs like we are, get dad this Art Deco Velvet Wing Chair. It’s velvet upholstery, trimmed in nailhead, and distressed black hardwood all scream style fit for a king.
Keep your detailing simple and symmetrical. For many men, simplicity is the key to life. All dad needs are his keys, phone, and wallet, and he’s well on his way. While feminine rooms tend to value asymmetry and accessories, masculine rooms can be made by focusing on simple statement pieces, such as a wall color or a large piece of furniture. Try to keep things symmetrical: think matching table lamps on each side of the bed or matching sconces flanking an entryway. All of the featured photos in this post display such symmetry, but in case you need more inspiration, check out the office space below. We’ve fallen for those wrought iron bookshelves and that clear, modern desk. (And is that a giant sea urchin hanging from the ceiling? We don’t know, but we bet dad will think it’s cool).
This year for Father’s Day, make sure to check out our Father’s Day Sale at Kathy Kuo Home, and check in again soon at the Kuotes for when we release our top picks for dad!