In a recent post (about using purple in design), I wondered aloud if using purple was very dude-friendly. That made me think more about designing for the sexes. Emily Henderson has tackled this issue a million times better than I ever can/will. Have you ever seen her show? She is able to harmonize 2 styles, so that the couple is equally satisfied. However, I have a super limited budget and limited time, as I'm sure a lot of you do too (plus I'm obviously far from a professional). So I haven't learned it all yet and am still trying to push the envelope in our home, but wanted to share some tips I've learned.
One key is mixing masculine and feminine details. What does that mean? Well, things can be "masculine" from their color or their form = darker colors, straighter/cleaner lines, leather etc. Feminine details tend to be bright or pastel colors, more ornate details, frilly details, softer, etc.
A good way to deal with this is to mix and match. Have masculine lines? Maybe use a more feminine color or vice versa. Or use a gender neutral color. Here are some good examples -
Above - the couch and dress are both more masculine shapes - clean lines, but in my feminine and brighter colors. The orange bed is more of a neutral color and even though the chair is a dark blue, it's in a pretty flush fabric. And how about those black tufted couches? Ahh. The tufting is more feminine but in a masculine dark color.
Next up - accessories. For us, I think it works best to have some more masculine key pieces (couch, tables, etc) but then layering in more feminine details to soften it up.
Above - the first bed is dark but the light bedding, art, pillows and animal print chairs make it a little more lady-friendly. In the next space, the details are feminine, but the bases (the couch and coffee table) are more typically manly. The chesterfield sofa and industrial coffee table in the third photo are more dude-friendly while the pillows and rug girly it up a bit. The navy bed is more guy-ish but the pink accessories (in this bedroom done by the aforementioned fab Emily Henderson) girl-ify it a bit. Now the last space (done by the amazing Bailey McCarthy of Peppermint Bliss) is overall more girl-ish but there are some more male elements to it to keep it from being 100% girly (the black inlaid chest, the dark flooring and the horns).
Another tip from me would be graphic prints in black and white - this creates visual interest, but can work well for both genders. Here are some good options.
Above - I love love love black and white. If you're having trouble getting your guy to agree to fun so-called "girl" colors or fabrics, I think black and white is so classic. It can be a little masculine, but overall it comes off as pretty fresh and classic, but also modern to me.
Agree/disagree with any of these tips? Any tips you've tried or used that have worked well? My house is still a huge work in progress, but I'm hoping to inject some more fun details and color into it. I want it to reflect both of our personalities so that we both love it equally!
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