Interior design for men: the bachelor pad. Find out how to create the ultimate bachelor pad through masculine interior design and manly decor ideas.
FYI: I wrote the below article for Ventura Homes, the premier home builder in Perth. As it’s such a great, resourceful article, I’m re-sharing it below:
Bachelor pads, man caves and interior design dubbed ‘masculine’ all evoke thoughts of dark colours, angular, clean and graphic lines, limited decorations, metal and wood finishes, leather and rough textured fabrics, stylish gadgets and automated home systems. Historically, masculine interiors had large club chairs, wood paneling, trophies, animal heads and sporting gear and a few playboy posters here and there. Fast forward to 2014, and some things really haven’t changed, it’s just that masculine interior design has become more refined, immaculate and simple.
The average single man spends so much time working, exercising and drinking with the boys that the very thought of interior designing seems like a complicated, time-consuming chore that he just doesn’t need or have time for. But rather than spending half an hour hurriedly cleaning out your bachelor pad every time a pretty girl comes over, why not start making gradual long-term changes to keep it organised and stylish all year round?
The overflowing trash can, cockroach poo, 3 day old plates in the sink, excessive dust, empty beer cans, leftover pizza, photographs of ex-partners, odd stains, a drunk mate passed out in the garden and adult magazines sprawled on the coffee table will leave quite the first time impression on visiting guests, but not necessarily a positive one. The home is a reflection of you. So why not put your best foot forward and enhance your surroundings as well as enhance peoples perception of you. You want a home that you’re proud to show off and entertain, plus people will respect it more (rather than trash it) and you’ll earn extra brownie points from the ever-observant females! So who can complain about that?
So be like an independent James Bond or George Clooney that is confident around the house rather than a clueless guy that can’t survive without his mummy. Step away from your party house days and say hello to a bachelor pad that will impress, a stylish space that’s not only masculine and manly, but also livable and classy. When designing your bachelor pad think organisation, modern design trends and personality. Now let us begin.
1. Colour, Texture & Materials
Choosing a colour scheme is an important part of interior designing, as colour psychologically affects our moods and feelings. When selected carefully, certain colours can illuminate dark areas, brighten up other areas, and make a room appear larger than it really is. You ideally want to select a colour palette that makes your home not only feel manly, but also warm, cosy, welcoming and especially in the bedroom, more intimate and romantic.
With a solid design should come strong contrasts and comfortable colours with deep tones, like rich red wine colours of dark burgundy and rich mahogany, forest greens, navy, black, tans and browns. Block dark colours that have neutral and earthy tones are a safe bet, along with an accent colour to highlight focal points in the room, think accent colours like greens, red or blue. When choosing your colour palette, stay away from soft colours and pastels.
When thinking along the lines of textures and materials, wrought iron, leather, exotic wood and heavy fabrics all manifest strength and comfort.
When it comes to flooring, choose timber or black tiling. Both are hard wearing and can stand up to abuse from stilettos and help to obscure the spillage of beverages.
2. Kitchen & Dining
By definition, bachelors are solitary creatures, and you may think what is the point of having a big dining table when you may not be cooking that much for yourself anyway and you have the alfresco table – but investing in a small dining table (traditional or turntable) will add a sense of homeliness and encourage home made cooking (maybe even encourage female guests to do cooking for you – hey worth a try).
When it comes to the kitchen, keep it simple and organised, with only the regularly used appliances staying on the countertop. As I mention later on the idea of investing in a second ‘beer’ fridge outside, try and keep the counter tops free from excessive beer carton packages, leftover food, and other evidence of last nights ‘quiet gathering’ at your house. Adding a cook book on display and a single geometric vase or sculpture add nice sensitive touches without going overboard in decorating.
If your home doesn’t come with an in-built bar, invest in a liquor cabinet and bonus points if you build it yourself (if you’re a handyman and can build something, build it – showing off your hard work and skills never fails to impress). Add on display 30 year old single Malt, Brandy, Scotch, Bourbon, Whisky and a crystal decanter with aged cognac – you’ll be like Mad Men’s Don Draper, so suave.
If a liquor cabinet is too expensive for right now, then a simplistic wine rack displayed nearby the kitchen will do the trick. Buy a few bottles of red and have them on show. You may only be a beer drinker, but when female guests come over, you’ll be well and truly prepared to wine and dine them.
For lighting in the kitchen, shop for unique shaped hanging pendant lights for a dramatic statement. LED lights offer so much interior design flexibility, and as they last up to 20 years, you won’t have to get out the ladder to replace the halogen bulb ever again really. And while you’re at it, create an uber cool Miami Vice, 80’s electro vibe with neon signs in the kitchen that will make you want to slide along in your white socks and underwear singing to Old Time Rock’n’Roll ala Tom Cruise in Risky Business.
Finally, don’t forget your bar stools. Try and get a set that is both light and industrial with a healthy dose of plush softness and with no embellishments.
3. The Living Room
The Living Room needs to immediately show off comfortability and effortless style. Free of clutter and kept minimalist. Your large screen TV, stereo surround system and gaming station is the ultimate feature here, so ensure they’re all collectively presented awesomely.
Blend fashion and function when it comes to living room furniture. You can’t go wrong with a super comfy L-shaped dark coloured couch and lots of pillows on it, as it can make for a great second bed too. A separate plush recliner (leather) is another ultimate investment you’ll never regret buying and for spoiling yourself – get a massage chair. For furniture even more simplistic, check out the Barcelona chairs and couches.
Don’t forget the coffee table. There’s the Ottoman design, where they have coffee tables that also act as foot rests and storage containers – or there is the traditional kind. Regardless of which you get, you need somewhere to put your premium craft beer (or Victoria Bitter). In terms of lighting, just ensure it’s indirect lighting – which means no fluorescent, direct lights in the face. Women don’t like that.
When it comes to accessorising the living room, there is some great fine art photography out there to get framed for your walls. Think Nick Veasey’s X-Ray wall art, which is quirky, weird and manly all at once. Wooden wall panels, large abstract art, black and white pictures, framed sports posters, and modern prints are all great alternatives. If you really must hang all your ‘ZOO magazine’ centrefold posters around the home, try and hang them in less obvious locations, like the back of the pantry door for example. Otherwise, just remember to take them down when you invite a date over for dinner.
Having a fireplace makes the living room so much more cosy, especially on those rainy nights. For something more cost-effective, think about an electric gas heater. You want the home to feel warm and inviting, not cold. Scented candles are a nice touch too, and will further benefit the covering of any offensive odors.
Finally, show off your music collection in the most handsomely way possible. You want to impress everyone with your fine taste in music as well as convert them. Patrick Bateman from American Psycho enjoyed blasting Hip to be Square by Heuy Lewis and The News as well as having profound discussions on the sounds of Genesis and Phil Collins. Turn on the stereo in your home and encourage sophisticated music banter.
4. Home Theatre
The home theatre is the room that is devoted to the best possible reproduction of picture and sound. It usually comes with a door that is closed to ‘seal it off’ from the rest of the home for a movie experience, however in Australia, a majority of floorplans design the theatre room to be open, so it can be converted into a games room, secondary lounge room or whatever you like (some builders will give you the option to ‘seal off’ the theatre, but at an extra cost). If you’re not going to be using your home theatre as your gym room or band room then don’t neglect it – use it for what it was intended for. The ultimate movie experience.
TV’s are great and all, but for epic entertainment, get a projector for the home theatre. It will give you 100+ inches of high definition in larger than life presentations, movies and video gaming. They are a two piece system where you get the projector, and then the screen which lets you see the image. If you’re a movie buff that wants to go all the way with interior designing – then get a row of dedicated comfy home theatre seats, and have indirect lighting which gives you the ability to darken the room to pitch black. Of course, you need an awesome surround system, with speakers posited at the best locations in the room.
5. Activity Room
Whether it’s the gamesroom, the activity room, a converted theatre room, the garage, outside shed or the living room, you need somewhere for games, entertainment and alot of rowdiness to occur.
Great ideas to incorporate into your activity area – a gaming station, pool table, ping pong table, ‘kegerator’, foozeball table, beer pong, poker table, dartboard, keg setup and bar fridge for easy access to more beer. Don’t forget your PG friendly rated game Twister.
If you’re in a band, deck your activity room into the ultimate ‘boom room’, complete with decal stickers on the wall that reflect what you’re all about.
6. Home Study
Got a home office/study? Think of this often neglected room like a mullet. Party at the front, business at the back.
With that being said, conduct business like a pro. Out of the entire house, you should at least aim to be somewhat serious here. Keep it sleek. Get yourself organised with a file cabinet organiser to make sure all important documents are ready for when you need them.
Are you a reader but never find time for it because the rest of the house (or roommates) are a distraction? Convert the study into a mini home library that you can escape to and finally finish reading your Game of Thrones books in peace.
Are you a PC gamer? Turn the home office into gamer heaven with Alienware computer software and make it lan party central. Get quirky decor for the the home office with nerdy action figurines, a skull, atlas map, rotating world globe, a bookshelf and a cactus.
The bachelor pad bedroom shouldn’t have sterile white paint, bad lighting or a poor quality mattress with a creaky metal frame. Don’t let the living room get all the love, the bedroom is not just about impressing others – it becomes a sanctuary – a place where you find a moment’s peace, whether it be from a bad day at work or a house party gone feral down the hallway. Make your bedroom comfortable, warm and cosy – put an area rug (one with a geometric pattern or of a solid dark colour) under your bed so you get no more ice-cold morning feet.
Invest in mood lighting – ditch the stiff bedside lamps that have bright white shades. Get either a lamp that moves to create soft glow ambiance or a lamp with black shades. Speaking of which, you’ll need a bedside nightstand to place your lamp, clock, a book you’re reading and your mobile phone. If you got shelves, use them, and display all your proud sporting or music trophies. Don’t be ashamed to show off you were once a talented saxophonist.
Beds with leather headboards, such as the famous Chesterfield Bed design are iconic. Teamed with earthy toned bedsheets, it creates an elegant, masculine style. Also think of ways to maximise storage in the bedroom without creating a mess – such as utilising extra space under the bed to stack boxes of your stuff.
For a more intimate and romantic setting, scented candles are the way to go and mirrors – either ceiling based or full body length on the ground.
Masculine bathrooms are usually dark, black or grey, and quite strict, minimalist and simple. Add splashes of colour, like green, red, metallic silver or blue through decorative soap dispensers or a sculptural vase. If your ensuite comes with a twin shower (two shower heads) that’s even better for extra space.
Have a bathtub? Set up candles on the side, and keep the colour of bath towels dark. Say NO to white bath towels. For a quirky touch, a lock-room style industrial storage unit looks great to store your man-care grooming products.
Don’t forget about the toilet. That definitely needs one of those long-lasting candles and an air freshener spray on standby. Also ensure stains are removed from the toilet bowl regularly. Remember, you’re a ‘gentleman’ (at least when guests are over).
9. Outside Alfresco & Garage
The outdoors is a true manly man’s domain. With your alfresco and decking, you’ll want a dedicated outdoor BBQ area and a killer outdoor speaker system. Besides having another beer fridge out here, you’ll also want a wood fire pizza oven for those nights where you want to be a little more fancier than Domino’s. Are you into MMA? Then get a freestanding punching bag (or hang one) and punch it silly till your hearts content. A swimming pool, spa, DIY outdoor gym shed and a slippery slide in the garden are also great things to think of when designing your alfresco.
When it comes to your garage, think about smart storage solutions and ways to make more space in it. You’ll need space for your camping gear, that motorbike you have your eyes on and previous dusty boxes you haven’t unpacked from the last house you were in. Also consider getting an extra large recycle bin so you don’t end up with two green waste bins and a wheelbarrow full of empty cans.
10. The Personal Touch
A false assumption is that bachelor pads do not need decorating at all. Although they are to be kept organised, functional and simple, interior design for men should also show off their personality. Their likes, hobbies, favourite sports team, favourite movies, games, bands and manly decor like weaponry and survival tools should all be in display in the home to add that vital personal touch. Not only are you staying true to you – but it all makes for great conversation starters with guests and you’ll quickly be able to find out who shares your common interests.
Are you a surfer? Skateboarder? Star Wars fanatic? NASA enthusiast? Movie buff? Fisherman? In a band? Show it all off and display them in a cool way. Travel souvenirs, pictures of you riding an elephant in Thailand, a signed guitar, a telescope, AFL memorabilia and a photograph of your pet all help make your home feel like a real home and less a display home. It all says who you are without you needing to talk yourself up.
Brighten up your home with greenery with indoor plants. Apprehensive about looking after a plant? Then get a cactus – they’re hard-wearing, long-lasting plants that don’t need much water.
Take in what you will from this article but remember one thing: at the end of the day, your house should not be a soulless one. As life gives us ever-fleeting moments, you should be taking in and capturing each one.
As much fun as a bachelor pad can be, no doubt there will be some rare moments where you’ll find yourself feeling lonely. After all, you’re only human, and it’s normal to crave companionship time to time. This is where a pet comes into the equation. If you don’t already own a pet – but you are ready for the responsibility and commitment that comes with owning one, then a dog will give you all the companionship you need and more, especially on those lonely bachelor nights. But remember, a dog requires attention and a backyard with grass and room to play. Otherwise, if you’re not into commitment (mind the pun), then a glorious massive fish tank will suffice – but again, don’t forget to feed the fish.
12. Other Awesome-Expensive Ideas
A bookcase that opens into a secret room via a book being pulled, a wine cellar, mini home brewery, somewhere to make beef jerky, massive kitchen with more burners, gun rack, hydraulic car lift, car workshop with cnc and 3d printer, antique barbers chair, a walk in humidor too for your wonderful collection of imaginary cigars, or for something less effort, make a humidor drawer. A private sauna, a boat, laser security system, automatic lights that turn on at the front to watch any punks, under floor pool table (that rises upon remote control, DJ booth and a jukebox are all awesome ideas too.