After last week’s post about how your space reflects yourself and that improving it can improve your life, I’d like to focus on a group that really needs to learn it : Single Guys. I don’t know what is up with that group but, gay or straight, you’d be hard pressed to find me a Horror movie scarier than a bachelor’s apartment. It used to be guys lived like Donald on ‘That Girl’ in a clean lined, tailored space with a kitchenette and fully stocked bar. Now they live like Jodie Foster in ‘Nell’. And I know because I’ve been in many of them. From a Nautilus machine instead of a dining table to garbage bags taped up on the bedroom window in lieu of curtains, I have seen some nonsense. So as a Designer and bachelor myself, I thought I’d give my Top Twelve Tips for creating a stylish guy’s apartment.
The Floor Plan
So this is a typical apartment or condo you’d find in an urban centre. About 450sq ft with a Living/Dining/One Wall Kitchen, Bedroom, Bathroom, some closets and windows on one side. It’s small but with big potential. Let’s look at the Designs for the Main Living Space and Bedroom.
Just the Tips:
A great colour palette for men is camel and grey (see my earlier blog “The Neutral Zone” for more). Your ceilings, trims and doors are likely white so leave them and paint the main space a mid tone grey or beige and a darker shade of that colour in the bedroom. It’s nice and harmonious and during the day will look bright and at night darker and moodier. Once painting is done you can move on to furniture (that doesn’t all come from one store). This means spending money on more than just a big ass TV/Entertainment Unit. I hate to break it to you but you need a place to sit down more than you need a television the size of a Drive-In Movie screen.
Whether vintage or a modern reproduction, mid century modern furniture is clean, contemporary and manly in feel. Spurred on by the success of “Mad Men” you’ll have no trouble finding something. From Ikea to Kare to Elte, it’s everywhere. I’d recommend a couch in this style.
Something in leather is also great for a guy. I recommend using it on the couch, an armchair or upholstered bed frame or headboard. It’s great to the touch and durable against wear and spills and stains.
You can’t just eat off the coffee table (which should be an actual piece of furniture and not a cardboard box turned upside down or milk crates). In my design above, I’ve floated it between the kitchen and living room. This gives you double duty as the table can be used as another work space for cooking or a desk if you have to bring some work home.
A credenza or other closed storage unit is your best friend. You can put your tv and components on it while hiding your DVDs inside. In the dining area, you can store extra dishes inside and set up a bar on top for when you have people over.
Light The Way
Those boring ceiling lights aren’t enough. You need to have lamps with bulbs at different heights. This gives the lighting a layered look and creates mood.
Keep It Simple, Stupid
Keep your patterns and accessories to a minimum. Two square and one horizontal throw pillows on your couch and bed are perfect. Keep them in your neutral palette with simple patterns : solids, stripes, geometrics, overall patterns. Get some decent art too. It can be as easy as taking some pics of architecture or nature, changing them to black and white or sepia and having them printed up and framed.
Whether real or impressive faux-tanical, having a plant or some flowers shows you’re totally adulting.
Reduce the look of clutter by putting or grouping things in containers or on a tray. A nice lidded box on your coffee table can hide your remote when not in use and putting kitchen utensils in a container or items on a tray keeps them tidier.
Throw Some Shade
Flags and garbage bags are not curtains! You can buy curtain panels and a rod or roller blinds in lots of places for next to nothing. When closed, curtains should not look like bedsheets on a line. If you’re buying a pair of pre-made panels buy two sets and hang one set per side so they still look full when pulled over.
Iconic film director John Waters once said “If you go home with someone, and they don’t have any books, don’t f*ck them”. I really can’t add to that other than they also make great styling accessories or can be stacked under a too short lamp to change its height. Have some.
Have a decent coffeemaker. When I graduated from Design School I gifted myself with a very sassy cappuccino machine. If you’re tight on counter space, get a French Press and an inexpensive grinder that can be stored in a cupboard. You’ll thank me every morning especially if last night’s dinner date turns into this morning’s breakfast companion.
Keep It CLEAN
A study in 2011, reported by NBC News, found that the average bachelor pad has fifteen times more germs and bacteria than the average bachelorette. 70% of guy’s coffee tables contained traces of animal feces - likely from putting their feet up while wearing shoes. This is just gross. You need to have a regular cleaning schedule in addition to your day to day tidying up of sweeping the kitchen floor and washing the dishes. The night before your weekend is prime time to do this. Clean your kitchen, bathroom, dust and vacuum. If you’re generally tidy, this will only take an hour to an hour and a half and then you’ll have a clean place for the weekend and your weekend time free to do what you like. Also, remember there are two types of people: those who make their bed every day - and monsters.
Now let’s look at all twelve tips being used in the design:
So there you have it. Twelve super easy tips that any guy can handle to go from slob to sophisticated. Of course, these are only a few of the many tips Designers have to create a stylish home for any Singleton. Personally I love doing men’s apartments because I know from my own how great it is to live in a slick bachelor pad. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d like help designing yours or you’d want to hire us for a consultation to improve your space.
Until next time, thanks for reading and striving to live the Well Designed Life.