Boy Zones

Move over decor divas - men are muscling in on interiors and creating impressive temples of style.

Saturday, 18th June 2016, 5:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 4:20 pm
A room decorated in grey shades from the Colours range at B&Q. Photo: PA Photo/Handout

While they were once seen only as DIY-ers, who wouldn’t be seen dead dithering over Elephant’s Breath or Downpipe (paint shades, in case you’re wondering), blokes are now exploring their taste, and becoming as fussy about their homes as they are their cars and clothes.

“Men have grown in confidence about expressing their personal style and being aware of trends. They’re becoming just as savvy about interiors, knowledgeable about furniture designers and specific about a look they want to live with,” says Benjamin Hanley, who works at contemporary furniture specialists, West Elm.

“We’re seeing them buying into mid-century and industrial styles. These have quite masculine, structural aesthetics, which offer big impact. We encourage them to select a statement piece of furniture they love as a starting point, and then build around that, so their look can grow and emerge.

“A sleek, sophisticated pared-back look, with a colour palette at the darker end of the spectrum, is currently the most popular.”

Here’s how to create the ultimate man-zone...


“A home needs to be a sanctuary and for modern-day men, it’s a place to show off personal style. While the basic ingredients were once leather, shagpile carpets and lava lamps, today’s reality is about a classy yet comfortable space, which makes the most of minimalism and shows off gadgetry,” says Anna Gillespie, guest editor at Anglian Home Improvements.

“My advice would be steer clear of a boring black and grey colour scheme and opt for lighter neutral shades, such as cream and white, and then add on-trend bursts of bright colours - racing car red or green, or even emerald green and bright blue.”

TIP: Lighting can transform mood and atmosphere. Two star choices are a Linea Georgie Industrial Floor Lamp, currently reduced to £17.50 from £225, House of Fraser, or for a retro-feel, a Lichfield Camera Lamp, £139, Barker and Stonehouse.

WORK THE ROOM: Inject colour by painting a wall, or even just the alcoves. There are some great, strong shades in the Colours range at B&Q: Pumpkin silk emulsion, £13.94 for 2.5L, or Emerald Any Room One Coat silk emulsion, £19.84 for 2.5L. Tone it down for tranquillity in a bedroom and use fashionable, easy-on-the-eye greys such, as Grey Slate silk emulsion, £13.94 for 2.5L.

Andrew Martin’s brilliant collection of distinctive wallpapers would make any wall a talking point: Luggage Wallpaper, £77.90 per 10m roll, resembles stacks of vintage suitcases, while Pinboard Wallpaper, £67.90 per 10m roll, features a montage of postcards and monochrome prints.


You’re the boss at home, so choose a ‘hot’ seat which combines cutting-edge style with comfort.

“Seating’s key and a sofa, usually the largest piece in a living room, should be in harmony with the overall decor scheme,” says Rebecca Snowden, interior style advisor at Furniture Choice.

“The industrial trend is particularly male-friendly as it creates an air of relaxed informality and relies on colour and texture in natural materials, rather than fussy detail. Choose chunky, leather sofas or a Chesterfield - a ‘gentlemen’s club’ classic.

“Other characteristic ingredients are exposed concrete floors or polished concrete walls, brickwork, ladder shelving and metal lighting fixtures. The advantage of this urban-luxe style is that new pieces can be added over time. Mismatching is fine and won’t jar, because the whole look should have an eclectic feel.”

TIP: No bachelor pad’s complete without high-spec media kit and gadgets. Create an ‘entertainment hub’ with a contemporary Felino Wall TV Unit, in fango lacquer and walnut veneer with integral spotlights, £2,489, Barker & Stonehouse. Sleek, discreet speakers are a cool choice, and a Halo One Speaker, £159, with a touch-sensitive control panel, is a beauty from In-Spaces. Rev up the caffeine levels with a chrome Bugatti Diva Coffee Maker, from £549.95, John Lewis.

WORK THE ROOM: If a black leather sofa’s still your default choice, West Elm’s Brooklyn leather sofa, in liquorice, £2,199, is a handsome beast. If that’s beyond budget, Furniture Choice’s chunky Beaumont bonded-leather three-seat sofa is a snip at £549 (available late June).

If you spend long sessions gaming, surfing or messaging, an ergonomically-designed chair could be an investment. A Stressless James aluminium and leather recliner chair and footstool is available for the introductory price of £1,490 during June, from Wharfside. Alternatively, take a spin in a Lucas Leather Swivel Base Chair, £999, West Elm.


Fuss and frills have no place in any self-respecting male’s zone, but cool, covetable pieces do and they’ll ramp up your design credentials.

“In the past, a man’s priority for furniture and interior choices was largely practicality, but the finer points of design, aesthetics and craftsmanship are now regarded equally important,” says Claire Hornby, creative and display manager at Barker & Stonehouse. “The truly design-savvy are confident enough to opt for bold choices - and allow them to star in a room; maybe a brightly coloured sofa or a distinctive reclaimed wooden table.”

TIP: Don’t overlook framed art - posters stuck on a wall just harks back to student days. “Men often choose pieces based on their investment potential. They tend to like masculine-style prints; classic sporting images, or abstract shapes and graphic patterns. Generally, their taste divides into dark and brooding images or bold, bright colours,” says Luci Noel, of the Affordable Art Fair (

WORK THE ROOM: Storage must be smart, and Alexander & Pearl’s Cole Grey Fabric Bar Chest Trunk, upholstered in grey felt, currently reduced from £375 to £355, certainly fits that criteria. By contrast, a Bleecker 2 Drawer Coffee Table, £499, Barker & Stonehouse, made from reclaimed wood, resembles a retro beer chest.

Bring in some va-va-voom with a Hubcap Design Antique Brass Round Wall Clock, £69, Barker and Stonehouse, and go ‘wild’ with a Rhino Head Wall Mount, £145, Sweetpea & Willow. Piles of cushions (especially on a bed) might not be for the macho, but a well-chosen few will soften a stark interior. Andrew Martin Beatles Cushion, £50, John Lewis, celebrates the Fab Four. Score a style goal with a Copper Subbuteo Bottle Opener, £15, Persora.


Alexander & Pearl: 020 8508 0411/

Andrew Martin: 020 7225 5100/

B&Q: 0845 850 0175/

Barker and Stonehouse: 0333 355 9392/

Furniture Choice: 0800 035 0070/

House Of Fraser: 0870 160 7270/

In-Spaces: 07860 773 691/

John Lewis: 0845 6049 049/

Persora: 01386 556161/

Sweetpea & Willow: 0345 257 2627/

Wharfside: 01372 379 810/

West Elm: 020 7637 9150/