While there are some things men and women will never agree on—for example, why it’s an absolute necessity to own one more dress, that pajamas and bath towels should always be washed after three uses, and that packing light is for sissies—one item on everyone’s checklist is a soothing, comfortable bed we can sink into at the end of a long day. But what if the man in your life isn’t exactly design-minded, or prefers to have his bedroom decorated for him . . . just not with feminine florals or buckets of color? We’ve got your exclusive guide to creating a masculine bedroom design that still has tons of visual appeal and—dare we say it?—looks pretty fab.
To build a man-friendly bed, follow these decorating tips:
1. Blue is the ultimate standby for decorating a man’s room. Though any shade of blue goes, more intense shades, like navy and indigo, have an instantly sophisticated vibe and go with dozens of man-friendly neutrals, from chocolate to charcoal and white. Even better, blue bedding is so universally liked among menfolk that you can get away with introducing a little pattern into the mix. Stripes and geometrics are classic choices, but don’t be afraid to try a unique botanical print (note: you’ll want leaves and branches in this one, not just a bunch of pretty flowers) or an ethnic-inspired block print.
2. Get to know grey. With its range of hues, from pale and easygoing to deep and intense, grey, like blue, is an ideal color for decorating a man’s bedroom. The key to making this steely hue feel warm is by layering in lots of texture—think touchable linen duvet covers, drapey matelassé coverlets, and cozy knit shams or decorative pillows. We also love a little pattern in a grey-on-grey bed; the subtlety of the color means you can try a more unusual print, as on this tropical-inspired toile bedding.
3. Stripe it up. We know it seems like a cliché, but even guys who object to pretty much every type of patterned bedding you can think of won’t bat an eye at a stripe. So if stripes are the only pattern he’ll agree to, go bold: choose a wide stripe, or one that features several gorgeous, saturated colors, for his blanket, duvet cover, or decorative pillows. Then layer in two or more solids from the same palette in the sheets, shams, matelassé coverlet, and throw. And since men appreciate soft bedding as much as women do, make sure you’ve got some fabrics that feel great under the hands. We love enzyme-washed cotton and linen, cotton chenille, and fleece.
4. Play with pattern. If your guy is open to the idea of a patterned focal point on his bed, you can have even more fun. Try a printed duvet or coverlet—(1) plaid is traditional choice, but we also love organic-inspired patterns, like this (2) hand-painted blue marble duvet cover, (3) bandanna-like neutral duvet, (4) Indian-inspired abstract print, and (5) block-print kantha coverlet and shams. As with stripes, the key to working a bold pattern into a man’s bedroom is to layer it with lots of easygoing neutrals in the sheets, shams, matelassé coverlet, blanket, and throw. Since men generally aren’t as smitten with the idea of lots of pillows—and where to store them at night—we like to stick with just two sets of shams in a pattern that matches or complements the focal piece, or a couple of decorative pillows with fun details like tone-on-tone embroidery or a cheeky print.
5. Be bold. If your guy loves design and is open to both pattern and color, look for multicolor bedding, or brighter, more intense, or unexpected hues; anything too pale will read pastel-y and feminine. As with any pattern for men’s bedroom decorating, we recommend confining it to the focal piece, and filling in the rest of the bed with both neutrals and rich, saturated colors from the focal palette for the matelassé coverlet, blanket, and sheets. You can even try a gathered bed skirt or gently ruffled sham for a bit of contrast, but if those are a no-go, opt for a pair of tailored shams, a tailored bed skirt, and a decorative pillow with a bit of pop in the color or texture, or both.