At Home With L’homme: 3 decor themes for style-conscious chaps

ideal houses for sale for men

Man caves have come a very long way. Gabrielle Fagan reveals the trends to tap into now.

The days of men taking a backseat when it comes to decorating are long gone. In fact, they’re now well and truly in the driving seat when it comes to their own homes, and often still ensuring their taste is reflected in shared spaces.

They’re design-literate, and just as keen to show off their branded homeware as they are the designer contents of their wardrobes, and their desire for relaxing, practical spaces is in step with the whole trend for functional homes, where character and personality shine through.

So call it what you will – man cave, bachelor pad, or boy base – there’s no excuse for that men’s room not looking stylish any more, with an array of cool kit and furnishings now designed with men in mind. Here are three style personality types, and inspiration for getting the look…

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Mr Cool & Contemporary
Less is more for this man and he demands high design and quality for everything, from the contents of his wardrobe, to his car and his decor.

Measured and analytical, he’ll put endless research into sourcing furnishings and furniture that’s just right, and regard them as investments which will turn his home into a space worth bragging about.

“Masculine-inspired design is all about sleek, subtle sophistication,” says Sivan Metzer, furniture buyer, Heal’s. “To get the look, opt for a careful combination of clean lines and sturdy materials in a neutral colour scheme, for a masculine effect that’s as elegant as it is functional. Strengthen this streamlined aesthetic, created by simple, straight lines, by accentuating the rich pigmented tones of polished oak, with details like bright brass or copper finishes.”

She recommends deep grey for a room’s base colour, to conjure a “an easy-on-the-eye look that will maintain its appeal over time. Statement leather furnishings introduce moody characteristics with strong, masculine undertones into a space,” Metzer adds.

Boy zone
This guy wants his home to be on-trend but fun and functional, so that it’s an easy-to-maintain and airy space, where he can chill out and entertain. He’s a playful lively character, happy to have affordable humorous touches that can be easily changed as fashions change and will sit alongside his collection of boys’ toys and comic book heroes.

Unfussy, uncluttered – he knows good storage can hide a multitude of mess – he’ll love multi-functional furniture (a coffee table that converts to a dining table) so that he can make the best use of every inch of space.

“It’s all about shining a light on a man cave and letting the style in,” says Rebecca Snowden, interior style advisor, Furniture Choice. “Whether you live alone or are sharing your space, there are easy ways to add masculine touches to your home. Start by displaying your interests – a solid, well-made picture frame can do wonders for comic book prints, movie posters, a football team photo, and then group a collection for a personal wall display.

“Colour is another way to express yourself,” Snowden adds. “The colour-shy could opt for easy, interesting neutrals – grey, khaki and sage – which are great alternatives to black and white. For the bold, subtle pops of bright shades, such as navy blue, mustard, and even a flash of vibrant pink will add a fresh twist to your scheme.

“If you’re new to decorating, don’t worry about trends. Stripes, chevrons and other geometric prints never go out of style, and materials like leather and suede are classic choices.” A Newark Teal Fabric 2 Seater Sofa, currently reduced to £399.99 from £599.99, Furniture Choice, would inject a splash of colour into a room.

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Retro man
He’s part of the retro-revolution celebrating those iconic items from the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies, and displaying them in a funky, industrial setting. He’s laid-back like his style, and knows that the coolest homes should feel ‘collected’ as opposed to ‘decorated’.

Warm, weathered and raw elements like dark woods, coupled with renovated machinery and pieces crafted with care, make for a macho-look that oozes character and is constantly evolving. He’ll definitely opt for vinyl over downloads, and vintage over contemporary.

“Men have never been as savvy about design and interiors as they are today. The huge growth of Pinterest and Instagram has brought interior design to the masses and interiors inspiration is everywhere,” says David Harris, design director, Andrew Martin.

“Funky neon artwork, modern art wallpapers, architectural lighting ranges, and great furniture covered in rich velvet and leathers is all helping to attract a more masculine following. Men are now feeling more confident than ever about their interior ideas and want to show off their taste.”

Tiles, Laminate or Luxury Vinyl For Kitchen Flooring?

In need of a new kitchen floor, but unsure what material to opt for? There are lots of options, but a few important things to consider too. “Fitting out a kitchen is very exciting, but often you forget to think about the flooring, which is likely to be one of the largest surfaces in the room, so its selection deserves careful attention,” says Jordan Reuben, from Canadian reality series, The Property Brothers.

First and foremost, there’s your budget to consider, but keep in mind that it’s not necessarily just a question of how much the floor will initially cost to buy and fit – some types of flooring will require more specialist cleaning, for example, or may be prone to damage and wear and tear, meaning further costs down the line to replace or repair. Your choice will need to be a practical fit with your lifestyle too and, of course, you need to like it!

As Sian O’Neill, head of marketing at Topps Tiles (toppstiles.co.uk), notes: “As the hub of the home, kitchen design is of the utmost importance to homeowners, so it’s important to select flooring that is not only beautiful and hard-wearing but will stand the test of time.” Here’s a look at three key options…

1. Tiles

“Tiles are an excellent choice, as they are durable, design-led and able to stand up to the demanding conditions of kitchen spaces, with high traffic, potential spills and food mess,” says O’Neill. “Natural stone tiles provide a cosy and timeless look, especially for those living in an old country-style house. It’s worth keeping in mind that due to their porous surfaces, these types of tiles will need additional care before and after laying, to ensure they are sealed enough to last in humid areas, and to keep their finish in top condition. As long as you’re happy to maintain and look after them correctly, then the final result is luxurious and homely.” Reuben adds: “Stone flooring is available in a wide range of colours, sizes and textures, but you must ensure the stone is sealed to keep it in top condition. Remember, limestone is porous, so it will naturally suffer wear and tear. If you’re looking for a hard-wearing and totally hassle-free option, porcelain tiles are great. It can be made to replicate the look of wood or concrete. The tiles are often highly durable and fit well in a high-traffic environment.”

If you’re lusting over a gorgeous slate or marble floor – but your budget doesn’t stretch to the real thing, there are lots of lookalike tiles out there. “If natural stone isn’t the right fit for your home, there are plenty of additional options that offer the same aesthetic, but without the associated maintenance. Consider stone-effect tiles as these are waterproof, which means they’re easier to maintain and, thanks to modern technology, can now be made to look identical to the real thing,” says O’Neill. Wood-effect tiles can also offer a far cheaper alternative to real wood flooring (easier to lay and clean, too).

2. Laminate

Want the look of real wooden boards, but that’s not a realistic option budget-wise? There’s good reason why laminate flooring is a trend that’s stuck around. “Laminate wood floor is as popular as ever,” says Reuben. “It’s very modern and looks fantastic. As long as the product is factory sealed, those wine stains will just wipe away.” Josh Ashby, of UK Flooring Direct (ukflooringdirect.co.uk), adds: “Good quality laminates make a great floor for the kitchen, allowing for that authentic wood look without the drawbacks. Easy to install and maintain, homeowners can enjoy an affordable, stylish floor that will stand the test of time. More and more are now water resistant, adding to their appeal, and are suitable with underfloor heating.” Reuben notes that long laminate boards “can make any room feel bigger, whether it be dark or light flooring”, plus, “laminate is supplied in planks that are generally easy to fit, even for the novice!”

3. Luxury vinyl

“Modern vinyl is becoming increasingly popular as a cost-effective option to tiles and laminate. It comes in all different patterns, and good-quality vinyl can be very hard-wearing,” says Reuben. Sophie Hautekeete, of Quick-Step (quick-step.co.uk), agrees: “Luxury vinyl is undoubtedly the floor of the moment, offering that perfect blend of good looks, durability and ease of maintenance. Our vinyl planks have an embossed surface, which means the texture on the top surface matches the design, to create fantastic interpretations of the real floor it imitates.” A big part of the appeal is the scope of designs available. “Cushion, or sheet vinyl, has enjoyed a significant rise in popularity over the past five years, as modern methods of construction mean that wood and tile-effect designs look and feel like the real thing, with knots and grouts adding texture and interest,” says Stuart Reeves, Avenue Floors (avenuefloors.co.uk). “Design choice is almost unlimited, which means this type is often the go-to kitchen floor for those looking for performance, style and value.”

Tired Of Grey Skies? Here’s How To Give Your Rooms 6 Shots Of Sunshine

If you’re longing for sunny days but the weather’s not cooperating, you could change the climate indoors by embracing a sunshine colour palette.

Adding splashes of yellow to your decor with a lick of paint, a feature wall in a zingy paper or some vibrant accessories, will give it an instant lift.

Pick a shade you like, whether it’s canary, daffodil, buttery or a mellow golden hue, and then sit back and bask in the glow (no sun protection required).

1. Turn the tables on the weather

Yellow’s sunny properties make it ideal for a kitchen or dining room. Lift the spirits with a bright tablecloth or, if you’re up for some spring DIY, paint kitchen chairs in a bright yellow shade, or add a citrussy splash back.

2. Colour up with yellow

If you’re nervous of yellow (for some people, it can fall into the Marmite category) simply add pops of the colour in accessories, from tableware to lights.

3. Wake up a window

Guarantee a sunny outlook by dressing a window with bright yellow shutters, a blind or curtains. This colour is the ultimate mood booster – with a mellow undertone, it’s cheerful without being too in-your-face, or in its boldest form, it gives rooms confidence and  freshness.

4. Sit in the sunshine

No need to wait for summer blooms – take a shortcut with Joules’ Cambridge collection from DFS. Teamed together, yellow and neutral tones are in natural harmony. Calming greys or whites tone down the strength of yellow and, in return, the uplifting, sunny shade gives a scheme a personality and strength. Keep an eye out for DFS’s funky Tide sofa, in yellow velvet graffiti, too – available early June.

5. Warm up the walls 

If you’ve fallen in love with a yellow palette, create a feature wall with a patterned wallpaper. Alternatively, use the shade for paintwork – doors, windows and skirting – this is particularly effective when contrasted with a dark shade for walls, and will really make a scheme sing.

6. Brighten a bedroom

Turn up the heat in the boudoir with a shot of yellow for bedding, and if you’re yearning for tropical climes, conjure a far-flung sanctuary vibe with vividly patterned bedlinen. Add a few faux palms and some rattan furniture, and all you’ll be lacking are cooling sea breezes.