Tuesday, January 24, 2012

decorating with a man in mind, part one

moving into a new apartment is always exciting: you have a great blank canvas that will serve as a backdrop to your life. paint colors, rugs, bedding, a statement sofa... the possibilities are endless.

my dream living room (this week) might look something like this:

<via my pinterest/apartment therapy>
love the accent wall, the pop of yellow, the mixture of classic and modern. the thing is, i don't live by myself. i live with a boy who tolerates my quirky, artsy aesthetic but decidedly does not want to live in an apartment that screams, "A GIRL LIVES HERE!" upon walking through the door. a number of my friends are facing the same challenge, and i thought i would include a series of posts about the conundrum of decorating with a man in mind. 

now that you've seen my dream living room, let's take a glance at my real living room:
apologies for the awkward tight angle! brownstones = long narrow spaces!
my favorite things: the gallery wall, the classic/modern blend of new pieces with antiques passed down from parents and grandparents, and the overall cozy feel of the room. it definitely does not feel girly, but at the same time it doesn't come across as a bachelor pad.

we used these three guidelines when we were making decisions to stay focused:
1. practicality for your lifestyle. we went with all dark woods, since we already owned a few pieces with that aesthetic. i gravitate toward white, but it is VERY hard to keep clean (boys make messes. period.)
2. budget. we both work for non-profits, so we got creative with sourcing. we are huge fans of craigslist, and IKEA has some great pieces that don't look cheap. 
3. space limitations. our apartment is small, so we have limited storage and needed to capitalize on the vertical wall space. we also couldn't have any oversized furniture.

our first major choice was seating. i absolutely fell in love with this sofa from west elm: great neutral color, amazing tufting, perfect size, reasonable price.

west elm elton settee
unfortunately, my selection was vetoed (apparently boys find tufting to be old-ladyish.) after scouring other sources, we came upon another west elm sofa that was on sale! i didn't love it as much, but the boyfriend liked it and it did have a classic modern silhouette, was the right size for the space, and the gray-blue color tied into some of the artwork we had in the room. 

west elm sutton sofette (old color)
we later found this amazing leather slipper chair (also west elm; yes, i am addicted to their stuff.) on craigslist! i love the way the sofa and chair have similar lines, but provide different textures so the room looks more curated and less matchy.

titus on "his" chair
you can also see our dining table in the background: we opted for something high to play on the room's long and narrow dimensions, and i loved the idea of mixing brushed aluminum chairs with the wood table (you get a clearer view of it in this post.)

finishing touches: our bar area. the boyfriend found this marble-topped rolling bar cart on craigslist, as well as the mini-fridge, which we use for mixers, juices and beer. i love having people over, and it's helpful to have all the fixings for a nice cocktail at the ready!
that's our kitchen in the background - one of the huge selling points of our place! we love the open plan, so if you're cooking you are still part of the party! we added counter space with the rolling butcher block cart, also found on craigslist.
so, there you have it: decorating with a man in mind. we created a living space that reflects both of us by balancing one part masculine with one part quirky artistic flourish, and the outcome is a living room that we both love to come home to! 


  1. This reminded me of your gallery wall a bit: http://camillestyles.com/2012/transformed-the-great-wall/

  2. that is similar! love her variety of frames.