What All Guys Should Know About Home Décor – From a Guy

What not to do.

By Dave Telfer and Mary Beth Barber

I’m in the middle of a massive home improvement project and taking the time to explore decorating upgrades, and it got me thinking the number of times I’ve visited men in my life – friends or otherwise – who really needed some advice on their home’s attire. I figured it was about time the topic was tackled online here. But let’s face it, no guy wants to hear a “what not to do” list from a woman, especially one writing in a blog called “Girls on the Grid.” That’s just too … girl-bossy.

So, I consulted my friend Dave Telfer, a “guy’s guy” (prefers the ladies, plays soccer, hockey, golfs, drinks his share of beer, etc.) who just happens to also have a fine-art degree in photography from Brooks Art Institute in Santa Barbara, decades of experience in advising for kitchen upgrades (cabinet refurbishing specifically), and the best eye for color of anyone I’ve known. I’ve consulted with him on every Sacramento home upgrade I’ve done, and told him time and time again he should go into business as The Guy’s Guy for Home Décor Upgrades. Know a recent divorcee or single guy whose home needs a little grooming? Send ’em to Dave.

In any case, here’s a”Top 10″ tips to guys on how to not have a home that looks like a Neanderthal’s – from the Guy’s Guy Dave.

10. Pay attention to your living space.

Take a good look around – did furniture end up in certain places because that was the most convenient space to drop it when moving in? Is there a part of the house or room that you never go near for some reason – clutter, awkward setting, lack of light, etc? These are the places to focus on and change.

9. Don’t be a collector.

Pick and choose things for the space that have artistic value, not necessarily sentimental value. This is especially true of sports posters, school/pro memorabilia and other things that may suit the wall of a sports bar, but not a home. And too much stuff is just clutter. Get rid of it.

8. Make your place different.

This is the opposite problem of the Collectors: the sparse guy, or the mimic. Blank white walls can scream “I have no personality!” And while it’s pretty easy to buy a bunch of stuff from Ikea, it still won’t be “you.” People will be able to tell.

7. Use color.

Paint is cheap, and therapeutic– no better way to make a place your own than with some color on the walls. Some guys pick one color and paint the entire house in it, but that’s only slightly less boring than everything in white. Wall color can differentiate different rooms and spaces – just make sure everything blends. And if you’re renting and have restrictions, use color in other ways through wall hangings, throw rugs, etc. Need help? Look at these websites for ideas:

6. Find balance.

I’m a huge fan of taking interesting objects and turning them into art. But make the effort to tie in the different elements, and invest in the displaying of images, paintings, framed posters, and objects – frames are a great way to bring the look together. Other ideas: mirrors to make a space look larger, use color to compliment what’s on the walls with furniture, throw rugs, etc. Consider the focal point of a room – and p[ease don’t make it the television, if possible.

5. Test first.

Mary Beth is the WORST – she once painted her walls Pepto-Bismol pink! (Dave had nothing to do with it) The headache (migraine is more like it, with that color) could have been prevented if she had just bought a quart of what she thought she wanted and tested it before slapping it up on the walls. Paint a little here and there and see what it looks like in different light. Don’t skimp here – it’s worth the $8 or so per quart. Same goes for things on the walls – buy one of something, not six, and go back for more, or return stuff that doesn’t work, if possible.

4. Man Cave stuff goes in the Man Cave.

I’ve gone to friends’ places and seen sports posters, neon beer signs, college/pro memorabilia, even girlie posters … do these guys ever want to get laid? I have my own sentimental stuff like anyone else, but not in the living room. Put it in your personal den, or if that’s not possible right now, store it for when you can afford your own den.

3. Fulfill the senses.

Creating a living space can be about more than stuff on the walls. Smells are incredibly important for an atmosphere, but that doesn’t have to mean perfumes. I’m partial to scented oil sticks at Pier One, but in neutrals like “rain,” citrus based scents, and others that are more “manly” than floral. And speaking of … plants add great texture to a room, but watch the set-up for drainage and be prepared to water them. (And if you kill the plant, get rid of it – plant corpses are not sexy.)

2. Be an adult.

Towels on racks, preferably ones that match or at least blend. Real dishes, glasses, forks and spoons – bonus if they come from the same set. Clean comforter on bed, maybe something that take three seconds to throw on top and “make” the bed. And beds on frames, preferably with a dust ruffle. Don’t know what a dust ruffle is? Look it up!

1. Keep things clean!

I’m not a neat freak or anything, but a dirty house is the best way to repeal people of the opposite sex. There are ways to keep things in order without cleaning 24/7, like using those disposal cleaning wipes twice a week in the bathroom and kitchen, and taking the time to vacuum. If you have pets, clean up more – scented oil sticks won’t overpower cat or dog stink. If cleaning really isn’t your thing, cut back on the Starbucks and invest in a regular cleaning service. It’s worth it.

Guest Blogger Dave Telfer is a fine art photographer with decades of experience and involvement in a variety of craftwork, including cabinetry, fine-art framing and glassblowing. He has also prevented Mary Beth (and her mother) from making serious design mistakes for the past decade. Dave can be reached at dbtelfer@yahoo.com.

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