Traditionally masculine interiors have always been strong, dark and architecturally clean with heavy, large-scale furniture and tough materials such as leather, steel and wood dominating. Done well, it is a powerful look, which creates a bold and functional space.
However, done badly it can become overtly hard, cold and commercial – so it is important to add elements of softness and light to balance the innate strength of the style.
Softness can be added by texture. Add fine cottons, wools or linens to counteract the harder elements. For example, soften a dark leather sofa by adding a pure white sheepskin (as pictured). Add softly textured cushions to cold steel chairs, or a fine silk rug to a hard, concrete floor.
The inclusion of white, or light colours, to a masculine room will lift the look and counteract any potential oppressiveness. This can be achieved quite simply by adding large expanses of lighter colours into the overall scheme.
White or light walls and light coloured flooring (such as sisal or polished concrete) may be used to freshen and brighten a room which is weighed down by a lot of heavy or dark furniture.
Lighter, textured window treatments (such as bamboo blinds or natural coloured linen Romans) will add softness of colour and texture – and will literally permit more light into the space.
Punches of strong colours and patterns not traditionally associated with men can also lighten and update a masculine space. For example, the colourful French striped blind (pictured)– adds a certain freshness to the otherwise muted room.
And though we think of only checks or stripes as being ‘manly’ enough, even florals can be used if clean-lines are maintained. (The Emporium Hotel uses a frangipani motif in its interiors – the simple, clean design is very uni-sexed in its appeal).
The masculine interior is innately dark, strong and a little sexy – and whether for a male or female space – the essential design elements of the style can be used to create a powerful edge.
Photograph from ‘New Vintage’ by Anastasia K www.anastasiakphotographer.com