If your bedroom looks anything like this, you may be in for a bit of an adjustment. Gorgeous though this room is, your man may feel a bit… um, emasculated…. In this space. How do you reconcile your gorgeous, girly décor with his barcalounger? Make It Gender Neutral Finding neutral ground can be a great way to bond with your partner. After all, the space you live in is a significant expression of who you are as a person, so it should also reflect what you are like as a couple. A great way to find neutral ground is to figure out what colors you both like and build from there. To tone down feminine vibes, avoid detail, scrolling, and rounded edges in furniture and major pieces. Once you establish more “masculine” base, you can add pops of color and feminine touches without causing your boyfriend to need testosterone injections. Here are a few examples of spaces that are “gender” neutral: This bedroom from Kishani Perera has dark, masculine colors, but is also very elegant and vibrant:. The bed is a good balance between feminine and masculine, and the pop of color from the flowers brings a feminine edge to the room.
[Steven Gambrel’s living room design is a great inspiration for masculine spaces that are elegant and gorgeous. It’s a great balance between masculine and feminine. The colors are warm, but masculine, the lines are clean and simple.
Here’s another great Steven Gambrel living room. The orange bar station is modern with clean lines, but the pop of orange has a feminine vibe.
Understand Each Other’s Cleaning Habits Before you move in together, get an honest assessment of what your cleanliness habits are (I’ve known both men and women whose partners complain about each others’ cleaning habits). If your habits differ, consider some modern appliances (without a dishwasher, my boyfriend and I would have split long ago!), and if you can afford it, consider handing over some of the responsibility to the pros. My boyfriend doesn’t do laundry, so he sends it out to an affordable local cleaner every week. Problem solved. Consider Ditching Some Items Review each other’s furniture and decide what you can both live with. When I moved with my boyfriend, he got rid of a clunky, broken desk, and I got rid of my extremely feminine bedding. We are both happy with the results (although I miss my lacy bedding sometimes, and I’m sure he misses his desk). Make a Man Cave If you have the space, let him create his man-cave while you create your girly haven. For my boyfriend and me, this isn’t an option (living in a small urban space, you usually don’t get a few extra rooms to play with). However, I know a lot of couples who have separate offices or art studios where they can decorate to suit themselves. If I had such a space, I’d channel all my girly instincts into that one spot, and let the leather furniture take over in the living room. Compromise, Compromise, Compromise Finally, when moving in with your man, remember it’s an exercise in compromise. You may have to live with his leather couch, but hopefully, he’ll graciously live with your perfume collection, giant collection of heels, and blanket your Grandma crocheted for you. --- Lilah is a writer living in a small Victorian in San Francisco, California. Her small living environment inspired her to explore the world of small-space design. Along the way, she started the blog, Urban Sardines, to share what she has learned about creating a warm, inviting home in a small space.