Developing a sense of style doesn’t happen overnight. For many people, going from dorm room décor to a design scheme that reflects their grown-up taste can be a major learning curve. For many men in particular, the “bachelor pad” aesthetic popular in movies and on TV can influence their interior design a little bit too much, making their apartment look more like a barroom than a place for a sophisticated adult to rest his head at night. Fortunately, just because your home doesn’t look the way you’d envisioned doesn’t mean you can’t get it there. A few polished pieces and easy changes to your living space can make all the difference. Start with these simple tips and you’ll have a home you can be proud of in no time:
Stick to a color scheme: All white works well for museum walls, but in your home, you’re going to want to brighten things up. Choose a versatile color for your bedroom walls, whether it’s a foggy gray or rich blue, and build your room around it, using textiles and décor pieces, from side tables to lamps, that pick up on the wall color or at least complement it.
Don’t leave your walls bare: Sure, if you’re living in a sleek SoHo loft with floor-to-ceiling windows, you might not have a ton of wall to work with, but for those of us with less-dreamy living spaces, there’s generally a fair amount of blank drywall or plaster all around us. While keeping your walls bare certainly makes things easier if and when you decide to move, it can also leave homes looking as though you haven’t bothered to decorate. Even if you don’t have every inch of wall space filled, hanging a few nicely-framed pieces can make all the difference.
Dress up your existing pieces: Even if you don’t have a massive budget for all new furniture, you can make your existing pieces look a lot spiffier with just a few small changes. Swapping out old door knobs and drawer pulls can refresh the look of entire rooms, and adding some fancier legs to a sofa can make it look like a much pricier piece.
Make lighting a priority: Just because you call it a man cave doesn’t mean it has to look like an actual cave. Swap out old, dingy overhead lighting for cool pendant lamps, get some dimmable floor lamps for the living room when you want to set the mood, and make sure your bedroom is home to a matching set of bedside table lamps to give the room a cohesive feel.
Cover your windows and floors: Unless you’re an exhibitionist, it’s in your best interest to cover up your windows. Whether you’re opting for bamboo shades, roman blinds, or velvet curtains, covering up your windows will make your house feel well-designed and cozy in an instant. Give your floors the same kind of cover-up treatment with a few skillfully-placed area rugs in colors that complement your walls, or, if you haven’t been blessed with the gift of gorgeous hardwoods, opt for wall-to-wall carpeting.
Just because you’re a still bachelor doesn’t have to mean your house has to have the same aesthetic appeal as a college dorm. With just a few adjustments to your current decorating scheme, you can make your home look as put together as if you’d hired a professional.