Before I started my blog and when it was still in its infancy, I worked in marketing. And in marketing, you are told that you should always have your ‘ideal customer’ in mind when advertising just about anything. You will go so far as to create personas in marketing where you visualise the imaginary people you’re advertising to – with names, occupations, interests, the lot – to cater the content directly for that individual. In blogging, you are told a form of this too: Write for the person you would want to read your blog. As a result, because I assume the people who read my blog are probably much like me – I write, for the most part, to women. It’s not something I do consciously for every post. Of course not. But it’s there. In my head. But… perhaps I’m missing a trick here.
Because when I look at my Google Analytics, I can see that despite there only being two different options for gender (side note, Google: Come on, get with the times. we know gender isn’t binary) it isn’t as though 100% of my audience is female. Around 15% of men are reading my blog too. Consistently. And to them, I say, this post is for you.
Now of those 15%, I have no idea how many are gay, straight, bisexual, asexual, etc. Because why should I know that – it has no relevance whatsoever. But – for the sake of argument – let’s just assume that many of those men will be straight. Yep, heterosexual men – thousands of them – reading my interior design blog. Now, I’m pretty sure you will immediately have a reaction to this – good or bad or curious or amused – you’ll have one. Because somewhere along our history as a Western civilisation, we were told that straight men and interior design are not meant to go together.
West Elm’s answer to the ‘Guy Sofa’ – the Axel is far more stylish than those Lazy Boy chairs that Joey and Chandler got in Friends.
It’s ridiculous, isn’t it? Of course, we’ve all heard the whole ‘a man’s home is his castle’ crap. He’s the one who’s meant to rule the whole thing, right? Oh and then there’s the old classic, ‘a woman’s place is in the home’. So basically, we were told that women were the ones who kept the place in order – it was her job to take care of the home while the men went out, earned the wages and then came home to his castle and got waited on.
But we all know this is now total bullshit. That in heterosexual relationships, men and women are just as likely to be the breadwinners, that couples share in the household duties, that both play a part in bringing up children. It’s antiquated thinking that happily, is slowly dying out. I mean – don’t get me wrong – it’s still there, that thinking, unfortunately by some (see: Pierce Morgan). But let’s assume you are a little more forward-thinking than that.
The Man Cave in our old house which I nicknamed the ‘Glam Cave’ – definitely a space any gender can enjoy.
So why is it such a big deal for men to express they enjoy design? I get emails from men asking about various things (mostly about the man cave, if I’m honest or where we got those Star Wars prints – sadly no longer available btw) but I’d love if they felt more comfortable commenting on other kinds of posts. I’d say about 99% of my comments are from females (and yes, of course, I love you so keep ’em coming). So why aren’t you guys more vocal? It’s 2018 – it’s okay to like interior design. In fact, there are some great ways to make your home your own. It doesn’t have to just be the ladies in your life that make the decisions (and if you are single, that includes your mother).
I came across this article by Tom Dykoff recently in Esquire (it’s brilliant by the way, you should read the whole thing) but I found the following fascinating:
…A poll of 1,500 people during [International Wallpaper Week in October 2017] found that 85 per cent of men are actively (and, before you ask, willingly) involved in the interior design of their homes. The average man (again, of his own free will) shops for things for the house at least three times a month, artwork, throws and fresh flowers being among his top purchases. Forty-eight per cent of men regularly shop for scented candles. And I, reader, am one of them (I like the posh smelly ones, too, so there). Though I’ve never actually seen my fellow 48 per centers at the till. A glorious 54 per cent buy cushions. I confess: I have indeed bought cushions. While 53 per cent of men say they spend more money on homewares than on nights out, clothes, and, shame on you, technology. We even spend more than women: £1,304 a year versus £1,141.
Guys!! You are out there buying nice things for your homes – if this poll is anything to go by. And it’s great, really. So I figured I’d round up some very cool design pieces I thought you might like – including that quintessential Lazy Boy replacement – a stylish armchair and footstool. Of course, I’m pandering a bit to gender stereotypes here but trust me, my tongue is firmly in cheek.
West Elm’s Halsey sectional allows you to man-spread as much as you like and there’s still enough room for the women in your life to get comfy too. (And no, this isn’t a sponsored post by West Elm, they just happen to have some nice pieces that I wanted to share.)
In fact, I’ve created a warm, earthy palette of rust, gold and teals that I’m actually loving right now myself. So whether you are gay, straight, non-binary, asexual, male, female, or whether you put a label on yourself at all – you might actually quite like it too.
This post may contain some affiliate links. You will never pay more when clicking on these links but I may earn a small commission as a thank you from the brand for the referral.
The Modern Man Design Edit
Gold Velvet-feel Curtains / Flame Rug / Bamboo Rattan Ceiling Light / Evening Shore Wall Art / Evadine 3-seater Sofa in Blue Velvet / Forms in a White Sky Wall Art / Hansel Marble & Metallic Coffee Table / Copper Velvet Cushion Cover / Crewel Fan Cushion Cover in Wasabi / Tom Dixon Water Candle / Hemming Saddle Leather Swivel Armchair / Hemming Saddle Leather Footstool
The fact is, design is for everyone. It’s not just for women. It’s not just something gay men like. People want to be surrounded by things they find beautiful, comforting and enjoyable. It’s human nature to want your home to be your sanctuary and I think it’s high time we let the guys in so they don’t feel it’s taboo to say they enjoy a great scented candle (I mean, who doesn’t?!) or a beautifully designed chair. I think we are at a point now in Western culture where it should be totally cool to enjoy interiors, no matter who you are. After all, if Kanye can reach out to IKEA about designing and Lenny Kravitz can launch a successful interior design firm, I think we can safely say interior design is something straight guys can easily embrace.
So, men, if you are out there reading this – I’d love to hear from you. Do you enjoy buying cushions, scented candles and decorating your home to make it your own and do you feel stigmatised in saying so? Do you have much of a say in terms of the design aspects if you are sharing your home with a partner? If you are a female sharing your home with a straight guy, do you let him express himself via design? Or perhaps you have your own views as to why guys don’t shout a little more about loving interiors? Talk to me – I’d love to hear what you think.