There are a few decorating disasters that seem to be uniquely the mistakes of men, but most of them stem from simply not putting much thought into how your place looks. We’re not asking you to become an interior designer overnight. Just, don’t let us find you doing any one of these things.
Not treating furniture like an investment
When acquiring new furniture, invest, literally, in the long-term: a quality sofa will last you 10 years, and furniture like dining tables and armoires can last a lifetime. Stop filling your home with what just happens to be around, such as the couch inherited from your brother, or the end-table that was cheap at that yard sale down the street. Your broke student days were in a different decade; move on from the cast-offs.
What’s the plan, exactly — leaving space for that Picasso you plan on buying one day? Bare walls scream “I don’t plan on staying here very long.” Plus, art and wall decorations are the number one way to bring your personality into a space and make it feel more like a home. You can buy original art online at a wide range of price points — even for less than $20, which means that money can’t be an issue. Or: frame record albums, display a curiosity collection (ex. antique typewriters), create a photo wall. And if you decide to hang posters, frame them.
Making the room all about the television
A television is an appliance, not a style statement. You needn’t hide it in an armoire like most interior designers would have you do, but it usually shouldn’t be the focal point of the room, either. If you don’t have a dedicated media room, you should lay out your furniture to facilitate other activities as well, such as having people over. Create a “conversation area” by facing furniture towards each other, instead of having every chair and sofa facing the TV. Just place the set at a good viewing angle from your favourite seat so you can still enjoy your flicks.
Decorating the living area like a Big Box electronics showroom
Shapeless, cheap, black-leather sofas; laminate-and-glass TV stands; giant speakers. These are the sins of electronics retailers and they shouldn’t be yours. Don’t model your décor after the place where you got your stereo and television — and definitely don’t buy your furniture there.
If your heart is set on a leather sofa, that’s fine, but instead try something classic like the Lancaster from Restoration Hardware. For a TV stand, go for a credenza like the Annex media stand from Styleagarage, which has enough space to store plenty of Blu-ray discs and video games. And your speakers shouldn’t look like they belong on a concert stage; the rooms in most homes are small enough that quality bookshelf speakers are sufficient to fill the space with sound. Soundbar technology has also evolved significantly.
Image courtesy of Yiping Lim.