You spend time—probably more than you’d admit—thinking about your clothes and your haircut. That’s great. You want to make a good first impression. But if your interior design style begins and ends with your flatscreen, you’re about one notch above Steve Carell in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Fortunately it doesn’t take much to pull together a pad that sends a more mature, “I’m very sponge-worthy” impression.
Start with this thought: “More is not more,” says Tariq Dixon, co-founder of TRNK, a New York-based men’s home design shop. “Focus on adding a few higher quality accessories, not filling the space.”
Confine your dusty DVD collection, sports memorabilia, and bobble-heads to a closet and add these attractive accessories. In one weekend, you can completely overhaul your home or apartment.
Pendleton Woolen Mills Yakima Camp Blanket
Guys will drop a grand on a new couch—probably a massive leather space-eater—when all they really need is a blanket and a couple throw pillows, Dixon says. Pendleton is a family-owned company that has been making wool blankets and camp gear for 150 years.
BLACK & WHITE PHOTOGRAPHS
“Michael Caine” Limited-Edition Print
Dixon says artwork—even one or two pieces—is essential. “Black and white photos are an easy way to add character, and they go with everything,” he says. “This shot of Michael Caine is one of my favorites.”
Reclaimed Wood Hook Rack
You want accessories that are both beautiful and functional. Screw one or two of these onto a wall, and you’ve got a nice looking decorative touch and place to hang your hats and scarves. (You could also make these yourself with a drill and $10 worth of material.)
Square Leather Coasters
“Guys often overlook the smaller touches,” Dixon says. While you may not mind a table pockmarked with rings and coffee stains, it’s not a great look when you have company over. “Coasters and books are great for breaking up your bare, flat surfaces,” Dixon adds. Etsy has dozens of spare made-to-order coaster sets on offer.
Exotic Brazilian Cowhide
More than any other feature of your place, your rug is going to attract attention. A cowhide rug is durable and features a simple, muted color palette that—like a black-and-white photograph—will complement almost any space, but especially one that features hardwood flooring. “This rug adds some texture and pattern, and it’s pretty fool-proof for a bedroom or living room,” Dixon says.
Crane Wall Lamp
You need light sources, and the options are limitless. But, once again, clean and minimalist designs are going to suit most spaces, Dixon says. This light is a step up from your basic lamp in terms of character and cojones. A classic architect’s lamp is another no-brainer choice.
Golden Gate Ficus
“Plants are hugely important to add color and make a space feel warm and comfortable,” Dixon says. It’s hard to go wrong here, and your local plant shop will have plenty of options to suit your tastes. But this bonsai-like ficus is a standout that requires minimal care.
Walnut and Brass Bar Cart
You like drinking. We like drinking. If you’ve got the scratch and want to make a statement, this handmade walnut cart is a great way to class up your joint and fill an empty corner of a room, Dixon says.
Stainless Steel Bar Set
Whether or not you pony up for that bar cart, good-looking barware is a nice touch if you’re going to have people over to your place for drinks. The Japanese are meticulous when it comes to making cocktails, and they’re no less rigorous about the tools of their trade. This crafted-in-Japan barware set is an investment that will last.
MORE DESIGN ADVICE
Craftsmanship should always be your first consideration, Dixon says. Fewer, higher-quality items will cost you less in the long run than some space-filling junk. “You want something that will age well,” he says. “Natural materials like wood and leather usually do, and they tend to feel warm and permanent.”
When you’re redesigning a room, tackle it one small area at a time. “Maybe start with a wall, or the couch,” Dixon says. “Approaching it as a series of small vignettes makes it seem more manageable than trying to tackle a whole room at once, which can be intimidating.”
LET BARTENDERS GIVE YOU ADVICE ON MIXING DRINKS PROPERLY AT HOME