Spring cleaning isn’t only for closets and pantries. It’s also the perfect time to rethink your whole apartment or home. And while girls will buy coffee table books, create a gallery wall or add some fresh plants, guys aren’t that into the springtime sprucing. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be! Our GuyTalk columnist Will Wilson went to the experts for some dude-approved decorating tips…
Spring cleaning: a phrase that strikes fear in the heart of many a man. A time when the longer, warmer days mean we must emerge from our wintry caves in order to get our homes, well, in order.
But fellow men, I’m here to tell you that spring cleaning isn’t just the time you move your couch to recover that elusive lost Cheeto from three months ago. It can also be the time you move your couch to bring life back into your home/cave.
I spoke with Rob Royer, the founder of Interior Define and a veteran of Bonobos menswear. Interior Define is a Chicago-based furniture design company that puts high-end style in your home for a fraction of the cost. By eliminating unnecessary intermediaries and mark-ups, Interior Define helps put designer furniture back within reach for less than the price of a Lazy Boy.
But even if you’re not in the market for a new sofa just yet, listen to Rob’s tips for sprucing up the style in your apartment this spring.
WHAT IS THE #1 ALL AROUND STYLE MISTAKE OR MISUNDERSTANDING MOST GUYS HAVE?
Men’s fashion has evolved so much since the early days of Bonobos. The insight that led to Bonobos is guys needed (and wanted) better fitting clothing options, rather than boxy, one-size fits all cuts offered at mass retailers. Today, many mass retailers offer slimmer and tailored fit options. That said, fit should be the number one filter on a clothing decision. Start with well-fit, neutral-colored and versatile base layers (great fitting pair of jeans, oxford shirts, and an unstructured blazer), and build out from there.
A LOT OF US GUYS ARE AESTHETICALLY CHALLENGED. WHAT’S AN EASY GO-TO RULE YOU HAVE FOR KEEPING OUR HOMES LOOKING PUT-TOGETHER?
Drawing parallels with the last question, start with neutral staples and add color and texture from there. For instance, begin with a natural jute or seagrass rug paired with a linen or charcoal-colored sofa. From there, you can add colorful accessories (like a unique wool throw blanket, colorful artwork or photography, etc) without overwhelming your space. In the bedroom, try simple all-white bedding, or another neutral base with minimal pattern. This approach will ultimately give you more options, and you can build a collected look over time with unique books, accessories, and mementos.
FOR GUYS IN THE “POST-COLLEGE FURNITURE PHASE” OF HANGING ONTO THAT OLD COUCH FROM THE FRAT HOUSE, HOW CAN THEY REINCORPORATE BELOVED OLD PIECES OF FURNITURE INTO AN UPDATED INTERIOR?
There are definitely scenarios when this makes sense. If you have a classic-looking, but worn leather piece it can add a lot of character to your space paired with newer, staple furniture pieces. If a piece has a story, for instance was passed down from a grandparent, explore re-upholstery options — but keep in mind the process can cost as much as a replacement piece. Generally speaking, few furniture items can (or should) survive college.
WHAT ARE COMMON PITFALLS MEN FALL INTO WHEN DECORATING THEIR PLACE, AND HOW CAN WE AVOID THEM?
A minimal aesthetic can begin to feel sterile fairly quickly. You can offset that by adding colorful and warm accessories. Again, if you’ve selected neutral staple pieces, there are so many ways to accomplish this — for instance, an antique kilim runner in a hallway entrance, brass fixtures, woven throw pillows, etc. If you have an artist or photographer friend, commission a piece — it will add character to your space and give you a great story to tell.
LOTS OF GUYS ARE AGAINST DECOR “FLUFF PIECES.” WHAT WOULD A MASCULINE VERSION OF ACCENTS LIKE THROW PILLOWS AND HAND TOWELS BE.
I squarely fall into this camp. There are a number of startups focused on the home goods space who offer simple and tasteful accessories or artwork that are modern and clean, e.g. Snowe Home and Artifact Uprising. If there is something in your space that feels like clutter, my advice is to remove it as soon as possible — you will feel a weight lifted.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO GUYS WHO THINK DECORATING AN APARTMENT IS OVERRATED?
Again, the parallels of a well-styled apartment and a well-styled guy are pretty strong. If your space looks like an afterthought, it can suggest (for instance, to a date), that other aspects of your life are not well put together. Your space is really an extension of your identity, and spending time putting it together will help create an environment you feel great about spending time in, and inviting people over to.
WHAT IS THE NEXT BIG DESIGN TREND GUYS SHOULD LOOK OUT FOR?
Velvet is by no means a new material, but it’s becoming a more common material in modern, masculine-feeling spaces. Traditionally, velvet was associated with a more classic interior style (which it definitely can be), but consider velvet on a modern-looking sofa frame. Depending on the grade, it can also be a surprisingly durable material.