Masculine and Feminine Decor How to Balance
We’ve occasionally been known to describe spaces as masculine and feminine, which doesn’t sit well with some of us. Of course, calling something ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ doesn’t mean that particular room or decor style is only for men or women — it means that the space being described has qualities we associate more with one gender than another. So, can a room be masculine or feminine? Let us take a look how to design masculine, feminine and mixing between the two! Masculine and Feminine Decor
How to Design a Masculine Room
The stereotypical masculine room is usually either a dark, messy man-cave with movie posters on the walls and rips in the ancient leather couch or a minimalist, ultramodern space with chrome fixtures and bare windows. The design elements that make a space feel masculine; however, offer much more versatility and sophistication than these two extremes. A well-designed masculine room can be classy, strong, understated and warm while still representing the personality of its inhabitant.
One of the key things that determine whether an item looks masculine or feminine is its shape, and another is its weight. Curvy, delicate objects look feminine; heavier, more sturdy-looking objects with straight lines and square corners look masculine. To create a masculine room, use furniture, upholstery and patterns that feature geometric shapes and straight edges. To increase variety, incorporate hard items and soft items, such as a rectangular, wooden cocktail table and a padded armchair with a boxy silhouette.
Pastels and other light, shimmery hues are naturally feminine, so to make a room feel masculine, avoid using pale or glossy colors. Instead, decorate in dark, saturated or neutral colors. Like heavy, square pieces of furniture, these colors feel strong and substantial. Black and red are among the obvious choices, but dark greens, grays, browns and metallics also give a masculine impression. Using shades of white, beige and blue can stop the room from being oppressively dark.
Leather, metal, dark wood and glass all feel masculine if you use them in combination with other masculine design elements. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use any upholstery — a room completely lacking fabric can seem hard and unfriendly. If you choose bamboo shades for the windows instead of drapes, balance them with a carpet or area rugs on the floor. Warm up a leather sofa with throw pillows upholstered in tweed, wool or another fabric associated with menswear.
Feminine spaces tend to have an abundance of accessories, fixtures and other details. Masculine spaces tend to be much lighter on these, focusing instead on the larger elements like furniture and wall color. Accessorize your masculine room sparingly and symmetrically — asymmetry, like curvy lines, feels feminine. In a bedroom, you might place a small table on each side of the bed and put matching lamps on them. In a kitchen, you might frame the door with narrow, vertical wine racks or stand a rectangular wine rack in a corner. Keep the details simple and the focus on the whole.
Masculine and Feminine Decor – Making a Masculine Room More Feminine
Every decorating scheme, no matter how neutral or how extravagant, falls somewhere on the spectrum between masculine and feminine. This is because shapes, textures, colors and combinations are visual cues that convey a sense of gender to the subconscious. When you know what these cues are, you can use them to shift your room from the masculine end of the spectrum to the feminine.
Beyond the stereotypical associations of pink and blue, other colors also contribute to a room’s sense of masculinity or femininity. Vibrant, undiluted and dark colors feel more masculine, while softer, paler colors feel more feminine. Add splashes of muted color to an otherwise neutral palette to soften the space. If the room is currently decorated in true reds, dark grays or blacks, replace some of the decorations with variants in gentler colors. Simply breaking up a monotonous color scheme with contrasting shades adds femininity as well.
Straight lines, right angles and regular geometry are all masculine shapes in interior design. To bring femininity into a room, replace some square, hard-edged furniture or decor with items that have curved sides or rounded edges. The more curves you put into the room, the more feminine it will feel. A coffee table with rounded feet has a subtle effect; an ornate loveseat with Rococo swirls for its back and arms has a more dramatic one. Use curvy lines judiciously to achieve the degree of femininity you want.
In general, boxy, bulky items look masculine, while slender, delicate items look feminine. Replace large, square armchairs with narrower accent chairs; switch out an oversize media cabinet for a smaller model with slim sides or floating shelves; take down heavy, stiff drapes and put up flowing sheers instead. Even small details make a difference. Install narrow faucet heads in sinks or slim handles on drawers, replace bulky feet on furniture with delicate new ones and use patterns with slender lines or swirls of dots instead of wide stripes or color blocks.
Regular, geometric patterns have a masculine feel. Replace them with asymmetrical designs to soften the room. Toss a throw blanket over one arm of the sofa and not the other. Hang a canopy over the bed and drape it irregularly. Place three candles on one side of the mantel and only one, larger candle on the other side. Symmetry vs. asymmetry can be a subtle way to balance masculine and feminine elements in a room — if the room starts to feel too feminine, introduce some symmetry to restore the balance.
Mixing Masculine and Feminine Decor Interior Designs
While everyone has different tastes, there are some qualities in interior design that are considered more “masculine” and more likely to appeal to men and some that are considered more “feminine” and more likely to appear to women. While each type has some particular characteristics that make it seem “masculine” or “feminine,” it’s possible to use both effectively in the same room. Blending masculine and feminine design and decor can not only make it easier to appeal to two different taste aesthetics, but can make a room appear more balanced in general.
Men and women are often attracted to different colors, which can make choosing a color scheme for a room shared by a couple more challenging. Masculine colors are typically dark or heavy. Natural or earthy tones are also more typically masculine. Feminine colors tend to be brighter and lighter; pastels and pale colors are often more feminine. To blend the styles together, try using a two-color scheme for the room, such as brown and pink or blue and gray. Often, the more masculine color is good for walls or furniture, and the more feminine color is good for accents and interest. You can also use one of the two colors as an accent wall.
In general, furniture that is masculine focuses on function. It lacks embellishment or adornment, focuses solely on the essential function of the object and often is blocky, heavy or has angular lines. Feminine furniture, on the other hand, tends to focus on form. Feminine furniture is often lighter in style, has curves and embellishments and is attractive to look at. When blending the two styles, it’s a little easier to make masculine furniture more feminine than feminine furniture more masculine. For instance, adding a decorative cloth or some pillows to a masculine sofa would make it more balanced. You can also mix masculine and feminine pieces together in the same room. Try to coordinate color, wood type or fabric type to make pieces that are different styles go together better.
Some fabrics or upholstery types are considered more masculine or more feminine. Lightweight fabrics are typically more feminine, while heavy fabrics or coverings are more masculine. As an example, leather upholstery is often considered masculine. A gauzy curtain would be feminine. Men and women tend to prefer different patterns, with men often choosing angular, geometric patterns, plaids and stripes and women leaning towards softer and more complex patterns, like florals or damasks. Fabrics have the potential to make a feminine room a little more masculine or a masculine room more feminine. Choose fabrics that go along with your general style and color scheme to ensure that you have a good match with the other items in a room.
“Utilitarian” is a quality that is commonly associated with masculine decor. Accessorizing in general is considered more feminine. You can use this to your advantage when trying to blend together the two qualities. For instance, if a room has mostly masculine furniture and coloring, adding some distinctly feminine items gives it more balance — and the feminine items stands out against the more masculine decor. For instance, you could add flowers, glassware or other items that are beautiful but lack function. While it’s easier to add feminine elements to a more masculine room, you can do the reverse, as well. Items that are dark in color or heavy in style are more masculine. Natural items, such as driftwood, can be masculine. Metal and wooden items are often masculine, as well.
How to Make a Knotty Pine Room Feminine
Masculine elements, such as knotty pine walls, ceilings and flooring, become more feminine with the right touches. A feminine space with a bit of masculinity keeps a design from appearing too biased, over the top, old-fashioned or cloyingly sweet. Use the walls, window dressings, furniture and accessories to feminize a room as much — or as little — as you like.
A Womanly Wink to Wood
When it comes to interior-design inspiration, there are no fashion police to bust you — you are in control. You do have to consider, however, resale or your rental-decorating privileges before altering something as fixed or permanent as wood paneling or tongue-and-groove surfaces. If you can’t paint wood walls white, paint a white, drywall ceiling in a richly contrasting charcoal, medium gray or royal blue in protest. If you can finish the natural wood, translucently whitened or pickled pine has a more ladylike aura — and the knots become highlighted as art in the process. But it’s quicker, easier and less risky to adorn natural-wood walls with the right window treatments.
Space-Softening Window Treatments
Against the relatively hard texture of wood, white lace, silk or velvet adds visual softness. Plain fabric won’t compete with pine’s decorative knots, but if you want to use a pattern, steer away from polka dots; although feminine, they resemble the wood’s speckled appearance. Instead, go with something distinctly different, such as elegant paisley, damask, or a floral or French-country print for interest. Rather than just framing the windows, a wall of see-through sheers or lace provides the illusion of elegance and enhancement.
You may be inclined to reach for a curvy, pink-velvet upholstered chaise, headboard or pair of Queen Anne wing-back chairs, but unless you’re heading in a shabby-chic direction, such furnishings read as awkward, outdated — or desperate. Knotty pine has an earthy, down-home country vibe that needs consideration. So instead, use simple, small- to mid-scale — or womanly sized — off-white furniture that delicately separates itself from pure-white window treatments, and allows stylish accessories to shine.
Bring pops of color and sheen into the neutral setting with fem — but not-too-fem — accessories. An understated crystal chandelier offers an unexpected element without flamboyancy. Elegantly simple crystal, glass, silver or chrome candleholders, vases and figurines do the same. Provide a dash of semisweet color, such as dusty rose, yellow-green, sun-faded red or icy blue, throughout with artwork, throw pillows, fresh-cut sunflowers and an area rug for a look that’s womanly, not syrupy sweet or girly.
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