I’ve noticed a definite trend towards more single men wanting design and decorating advice when setting up home. Many admittedly have gone through a separation or divorce and are downsizing into apartments, although there are some who simply realise it’s okay to be a bloke and have a home that is stylish, just as it’s okay to dress fashionably!

The main thing to consider is to ensure the space represents who you are and how you live. Here are some general tips to guide you.

#1. Go gender neutral with a masculine edge

While it’s okay to be masculine, try not to turn your space into a man cave. Don’t make the colours too heavy or the furnishings too dark - but do have elements. For example, a dark leather sofa is great, but make sure you tone the armchairs down to something lighter in tone and look. A piece of sporting memorabilia is okay but don’t turn the walls into a homage to rugby. Do represent who you are though: don’t dress the space just to impress, show your authentic self with items like books on the coffee table that show off your hobbies.

#2. Ensure you have a unified scheme

A unified scheme simply means that everything in a space works together. That doesn’t mean to say it should look overly formulated - in fact a scheme that just “works” without it being obvious why is the way to go. Make sure that some common elements repeat through the spaces: an oak coffee table in the living room with an oak dining table in the dining space, and perhaps oak bed side tables. Again the trick is not to use a material or colour too much and make everything match, but enough not to make a scheme look piecey.

As a general rule, I like to keep a scheme fairly neutral but vary the tones: a charcoal sofa with light grey armchairs, with a rug that marries the two tones together. Don’t introduce too many features - the eye has to know where to rest. And use colour sparingly - books, artworks and feature chairs for example. The result will create a harmonious scheme that is restful but not boring. Again, create a masculine edge but don’t overdo it.

#3. Don’t be afraid to accessorise

Women tend to like accessories more than men - scatter cushions, ornaments, vases and the like. Generally speaking, men tend to keep to the main pieces and functional items. Perhaps people see accessories as more feminine, but there’s no reason why you can’t accessorise in a way that represents the male: coffee tables that show off our hobbies, candles with more masculine scents such as leather, wood or tobacco, and floor or table lamps in bolder styles with darker colours. Finally, one or two scatter cushions on your sofa or bed in colours and materials that are more masculine.

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