Living the Animal House lifestyle was fun back when you were actually a university student. Now that you’ve left the toga parties, food fights and binge drinking behind (we hope), it’s time to bid the student-style accommodations a fond farewell too.
Say sayonara to mattresses picked up on the street and bookcases assembled yourself. Lovingly retire those posters on your wall. Explain to the giant bean bag chair that your relationship has been wonderful, but it’s over – you need a real couch now.
Your brand new, all-grown-up home should be a space to entertain the lads and impress the ladies. It sounds like a tall order, but many have done it before you and many more will achieve it in your wake. There’s always room for improvement, but start with this basic guide to shaping up your space.
A coffee table is one of the most important pieces of furniture in your living room. It’s a visual anchor around which the room is based, storage space, and platform from which to serve food and drinks. Spend some time choosing one with the right character for your room. A glass coffee table looks great in some spaces; a sturdier, more utilitarian table will look better in others.
As much as you love that new coffee table, it’s not the only table your home needs. Eating at a coffee table was only appropriate when what you were eating was made in a microwave (and even then, just barely). Nowadays you need a dining table – even a small-scale one. It makes it easier to entertain, and it’s just a more pleasant experience all around.
New dining table – check. Now don’t eat off it using paper plates and plastic silverware. Invest in the real thing. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Functional, attractive-looking plates, bowls, cups, silverware, etc., aren’t hard to find if you look. If all else fails, make an Ikea trip and buy a few inexpensive basics.
The entertainment system is the holy grail of the bachelor pad, but you don’t want your home to look like a tech centre. Newsflash: women aren’t attracted to the games-all-day, hasn’t-seen-sun-in-a-week, lives-in-his-mother’s-basement type. Keep the tech tucked away, minus the primary pieces like TV and sound system. Choose your pieces wisely. You’ll want to spend some cash to get top function and good looks to go with it.
And finally, have a good book on display. Because reading is sexy and magazines don’t count. Have an entire shelf – hell, an entire library – if you can, but have at least one intriguing tome on your coffee table or nightstand. It’s a conversation starter and it makes you look cultured.
Clean Not Sterile
Nothing frightens a new lady friend away faster than laundry piled on the floor, spoilt food in the fridge, and unidentifiable critters (possibly crawly, definitely creepy) in the nooks and crannies of your pad. If you want to live like a savage, grow a beard and Bear Grylls your way off the grid. If you want to join the rest of us in civilised society, act like it.
On the other hand, you don’t want your home to feel like a hospital. Stepping into a place so pristine it looks like it just jumped off the pages of a magazine isn’t welcoming – it’s intimidating. Your flat should be warm, inviting, comfortable, and clean but not dauntingly so.
Do your laundry on the regular. Don’t leave rings in sinks, toilets or showers. Tidy up if company is expected. It doesn’t have to be spotless all the time – it is, after all, a space you actually live in, and it’s ok for it to look like that – but on the whole, your rooms should be as well-groomed as you are. Develop a regular cleaning routine and stick to it.
The bean bag was a loyal companion and it will be missed, but actual, honest-to-god furniture is a must if you plan to entertain company of the female persuasion. Start with the sofa. Your living room is probably the first thing a guest sees, so don’t be afraid to splurge here. Go for a sectional if large gatherings are in the cards, or something smaller if space restrictions necessitate more intimate seating. Look for something that converts into (or can double as) a bed if your digs don’t include a guestroom. Don’t hesitate to spend money on a couch – you’ll probably own it longer than you think.
Add in other seating as space allows. Feel free to mix and match ottomans, chairs and recliners, but keep some things consistent – like colour family or design style – for continuity. Your space should reflect all the nuances of your personal style without feeling disjointed.
The other major moment where comfort is concerned is your bed. We know you know how important it is to get that particular piece of furniture right. Again, don’t skimp. This is a serious purchase. You won’t regret spending a little extra cash to get the bed that’s just right. A clean and simple bed that’s low to the ground and blends into the surroundings is perfect for a modern, minimalist bachelor pad. Alternatively, you can go bold and make the frame a statement piece. Either way, invest in high-quality sheets and pillows. We shouldn’t need to tell you why.
Let There Be Light
How can your lady friend sexily tell you to keep the lights on if there aren’t any lights in the first place? It’s called ‘mood lighting,’ gentlemen. Invest in it.
It’s best to have a few different sources of lighting in each room, especially if the main source is fluorescent. Even your bespoke suits won’t look their best under those unflattering conditions. Try a mix of overhead lighting, floor lamps and table lamps instead. Make sure they match the rest of your furniture in style, colour, etc. And please, please, no quirky lampshades or novelty bases. Refer to the opening paragraph if you need a refresher on why.
Pro Tip: Look for dimmers that allow you to control how much light is emitted. It makes the aforementioned mood lighting so much easier.
About those posters… their days are numbered. It’s time for some grown-up art befitting your pad’s new swanky status. Ideally there should be a little art in every room, but what exactly constitutes art, well, that’s mostly up to you. Framed prints, canvases, photos, sculptures and antiques all work, just keep it tasteful and sophisticated. Choose pieces that complement your space, start conversations, give life to the room, and reflect you.
Outside of the art, there are a few other accessorising musts. Ladies love pillows – men may never understand why, but must accept it as part of the natural order of things. Throw pillows add colour and excitement to a room, make the space more comfortable and inviting, and offer your gal pals something else to cling to when you’re sick of cuddling. Don’t neglect the blankets, either. Casually toss one over the back of your couch and fold another at the foot of your bed.
To score serious bonus points, have something living in your pad. A creature with a heartbeat may be more than you’re ready to handle, but a plant is perfect. It brings a refreshing, energising element to your space and proves you’re capable of taking care of another living thing. Do your research and you can find something highly decorative but very low maintenance.
It goes without saying that every well-stocked home includes a bar. It doesn’t have to be an actual bar – but go for it if space and bank account allow – but it does have to include booze. Start with the basics. Whiskey and vodka are drinkable straight for the brave and easy to mix if you or your guests prefer cocktails. Vodka and OJ are two hassle-free alcohol accoutrements to have on hand. At least one bottle each of red and white wine is also a safe bet. After that, stock up as you see fit.
While you’re building your beer collection, don’t forget the rest of your fridge. You never know when you’ll need a late-night snack for extra energy (ahem), or when you’ll need to impress by whipping up breakfast. Always have a few basic foods on hand, from several of the food groups. Yes, you do have to eat like an adult now.
And here’s where you really make a woman fall for you: a properly equipped bathroom. That means that not only is it clean, it’s stocked with all the essentials she’ll want after sleeping over. Matching towels are nonnegotiable. Have shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste and floss. Shaving cream, lotion, and a hair brush or comb are also perks. If you really want to go all out, you may even just happen to have an extra toothbrush or razor laying around.