I’m often asked about decorating for men. Such a project can be a bit of a conundrum. Men know what they don’t like, but many are not so sure what they do like when put to the test.
If you’re confronted with this decorating dilemma, there is a clever way around it (and it works for women, too). Check out his closet — suits, ties, shirts and sweaters. It’s almost a sure thing that he will be comfortable living with the colors and styles that he likes to wear. For one young man’s bedroom, we used menswear as our inspiration.
There is great beauty in suit fabrics; just visit a men’s clothing store, and take a close look at the pinstripes, houndstooth checks and flannels in tones of gray, brown, navy and black. The home-decorating industry hazs discovered the richness of these fabrics and patterns, and some are showing up on upholstery, curtains, cushions and bedding.
For the bedroom project, the walls were textured with a plaster tinted gray. The room was plain, without moldings or trim. So I edged each wall and corner with a paint effect to give the illusion that grosgrain ribbon had been used to finish off each one.
To imitate the look of this textured ribbon, I taped off a 1-inch border down each corner and around the ceiling. Using a small brush, I filled in the taped-off space with black paint. Then, while it was still wet, I dragged a comb through the paint — vertically along the ceiling borders and horizontally along the wall borders.
To continue the theme, I refinished a dated wood-veneer desk to resemble a pinstripe fabric. I first sanded and primed the top, adding a bit of black to the primer, since the next coat would be a solid black base. For the stripes, I drew straight lines two inches apart on the painted surface using a metal ruler and dressmaker’s chalk pencil. To protect the chalk lines, I applied a coat of spray varnish so the lines wouldn’t be smudged or erased.
The bed cushions were simple sewing projects. One cushion is the same flannel fabric as the curtains. I cut the front piece 2 inches wider than the back, then made a 1-inch pleat down the middle with the excess fabric. I sewed the pleat closed, pressed it flat and sewed on buttons to resemble the button fly on old-fashioned trousers.
A pinstriped pillow has white overstitching and two blazer buttons as accents. Standard white pillowcases were trimmed with the same grosgrain ribbon I used behind rows of pictures hung on the wall above the bed.
The room was a huge success! (It is featured in “Debbie Travis’ Painted House Bedrooms,” by Debbie Travis with Barbara Dingle, published by Clarkson Potter.)
Email questions to [email protected].