How to Decorate a Room So It Doesn’t Scare Away Women

Just like a gentleman's wardrobe, his home should feel intentional, not a collection of things accumulated over the years and thrown together like that Episode II poster and those IKEA paper lamps from college. We'll show you how to make your pad more girlfriend-ly without sacrificing your manhood.

In a recent episode of FX’s “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” Dennis spoke of the allure of having a boat as a way to score with the ladies. “She looks around and sees nothing but open ocean,” said Dennis. While Dennis’ implication was rape (which even known-slut Mac was disgusted by), the proper bachelor pad decor is a little like having a boat out in the open water, a man’s island–a place where both resident and visitors feel relaxed (repeat: without the implication of rape).

Yet, sometimes a man’s decor can leave a woman overboard, swimming for shore. One look at the furniture, lighting, and general appearance and the woman can, to quote Mac, make “rash decisions based on fear” (i.e., breaking off the relationship and going out with someone who doesn’t have a vintage Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie poster on his wall).

Here are 8 ways to make your apartment girlfriend-ly:

1. Proper lighting.

Bad lighting can be the female equivalent of a “boner killer.” You don’t want a lady to wince when she walks into a room; you want her to feel relaxed and welcomed. Overhead lights can often make people feel like they’re either being interrogated by police or they’re living in a sanitarium. The best way to avoid strain on the eyes is to invest in floor lamps.

2. Posters are OK…within reason.

If you are going to put posters up, try to frame them, and maybe even have reason surrounding the placement of said poster (for example, A Serious Man poster in your computer room…for when you get serious). However, also think about the message of some posters. For example, “Kiss” by Tanya Chalkin might send the wrong message to lady visitors. Shut it down.

3. Find a comfy couch.

A couch, where when you sit in it, you never want to leave. Chances are when she sits in it, she won’t want to leave either.

4. Give old garage relics a new twist.

Got an old thrift store typewriter that you just can’t part with? Put it on a table and you’ve got apartment art. You can do the same with old cameras.

5. Amy Sedaris’ F— it Bucket.

In Amy Sedaris’ decor and party-planning book I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence, she has a section on the F— it Bucket. All you do is get a bucket, put some candy in it, and write “F— It” on it. When life gets you down, just say “F— It” and grab some candy.  When adults are over, you can leave the bucket out for chuckles. But when younger nieces, nephews, or cousins are over, you can just turn the bucket around and make it look like a regular candy bucket. Candy is one of the quickest ways to people’s hearts (including women).

6. Instead of buying generic pictures, frame things of meaning.

A well-written letter? A particularly special birthday card from a relative? Chicks will dig the sentiment as well as the originality.

7. Drapes.

Drapes mean business. Drapes mean you actually put time into what your apartment looks like, and ladies will notice. Windows without drapes are like walls without art: they're bare. An no house is a home if it's bare.

Guys should go with thermal drapes. They usually aren't too fancy (earth tones and solid colors), and they can cut your utility bills down by 20 percent. So you're economical and window-dressing savvy.

8. Make it look like a man lives there.

Not like your mother or your sister helped you, and not the version of what you think women think of as a man (because it’s probably wrong). Be yourself. You don’t need fluffy throw pillows or candles. But if you like that sort of thing, there are manlier candle scents like “Leather.”

Above all else, the most important thing when it comes to apartment decor is to create an atmosphere that brings you comfort, a place where you can unwind and seek refuge after a day at the office. After all, it comes down to having a place where you feel most at ease, not a place that has chick essentials just for your girlfriend—bros before throws.

Megan McLachlan currently resides in the Pittsburgh area where she freelance writes, drinks coffee, and obsesses over popular culture. She was an English major, but doesn't think she wasted her life. Yet. Her blog is


  • Reply January 7, 2011


    Personally I like it if a guy has an iMac with the 27″ screen…not because I’m one to prefer Mac over PC but there is just something yummy about that being in the same room as a couple of samurai swords mounted on the wall above. Could be ying yang thing of balance of the masculine in the feminine…but I like a man who understands symbolism and feng shui…and I know that my girlfriends do to if even only on a subconscious level…

  • Reply January 7, 2011

    William H.

    I agree with everything but I think it should have been a top 10 things and addressed to other issues.

    1. Clean up for company – Personal cleanliness should be important to any man and while standards of cleanliness can very from person to person when your preparing for a date look around and try to view your space objectively. Garbage can nearly full? Empty it. Jackets and coats hung up on the backs of chairs? Put them away. Haven’t swept in … awhile? Do it!

    Just think of inviting a woman over to your home for the first time as if you where meeting her all over again for the first time. Spend 30 minutes picking odd peices of trash up, putting cups / jackets / shoes away, give the major surfaces a wipe down (table, coffee tables, counter tops, etc), once over the bathroom, and sweep. Small stuff that can only help on a first impression.

    2. Proper adult male bedding – Let’s face it there is no need to rush it into the bedroom but should it progress to that point you need to think about the impression that will be made. Are you still sleeping on the twin mattress you got so long ago from your parents when you moved out? Have you ever bought a proper sheet ‘set’ or is it still just a collection of blankets? Do you have a frame, if so what about a headboard? Being honest with yourself, is your bed a place to relax or just a place to pass out at the end of the night?

    In the end your sleeping there every night so updating the look and the feel of your bed should be important to you but bare in mind crafting a comfortable place to stay will creat a lasting impression on any guest.

  • Reply January 7, 2011


    This article was completely unhelpful.

  • Reply January 7, 2011



    Those are great points! Having a ‘grown-up’ bed and cleaning for company will definitely send the right message and are important for every guy to do. Thanks for sharing your ideas!

    James, What do you think it’s missing?

  • Reply January 8, 2011


    I wish this would’ve explained where to get some nice things. I am on the look out for a new comforter right now and have absolutely no idea where to find good looking bedding online.

  • Reply January 10, 2011


  • Reply January 11, 2011


    Hey Johnny,

    That sounds like a good idea for a future post. This one was more intended to offer a mindset vs ‘go here and buy this.’

    With the right vision, it’s easy to find great things at Target or IKEA, but you have to make sure those things don’t look cheap. For pictures, mirrors and art I would check out local flea markets. I actually took that camera picture at a local flea market, where one vendor just sold cool antique cameras. If you can afford it you can move up to CB2, Crate & Barrel, etc. But to counter that, just like clothes, it’s more about figuring out what looks good and being intentional than it is where you buy it.

    I’ve found there is little middle ground between fiber board furniture and expensive ‘real’ furniture. I haven’t quite found a store yet that has created high quality, well designed things that don’t cost the same amount as a new laptop.

    For more check out our article From Milk Crates to Crate & Barrel: Transitioning from Dorm Room to Fully Fledged Home

  • Reply January 12, 2011

    Randolph III

    Yes, proper lighting and few, if any, posters are biggies, as well as the commenter’s suggestion to clean up for guests. I can’t tell you how many times I have been to dude friend’s apartments where thick dust lines the walls, the toilet has a seemingly permanent ring, and the kitchen is in a general state of neglect. Maybe the young women in your life don’t care right now, but soon enough they will.

    And yet, as the last tip says, you’ve still got to make it look like a man lives there. Occasionally, when seeking decorating advice from female friends, they lose perspective and point you in the wrong direction. Find a balance. Same goes for living with your girlfriend. Don’t let her completely feminize the place. Find a balance. The mid-century style is usually an example of a look that works for both sexes.

    Oh, and a personal, desktop computer from 1996 is not an old garage relic. Lose it. Your living room isn’t big enough to accommodate it or the decaying card table it’s resting on.

    And to address the last comment here, yes, Target and Ikea are great places to get the essentials, but in the case of Ikea, try to not to buy items that scream ‘Ikea.’ It looks lazy, or perhaps collegiate. CB2 is a really great store, especially for men. The furniture can get expensive, but the other items are more affordable and often feature graphite/carbon shades accented by bright, bold colors. I got my nice couch off craigslist (then steam-cleaned it, of course), and then bought accent pillows from CB2.

  • Reply January 12, 2011


    Randolph, great advice, completely agree!

    We did a great article awhile back about maintaining your manhood when you move in with a girl. Great read:

  • Reply January 13, 2011


    This is great stuff. Every bit counts.

  • Reply January 18, 2011

    Alexis Tryon

    Great article. As for the walls, take it one step further and put up some original art. Buy what you love. It will be a great conversation starter and show your cultured side. And hey, that art might get you laid.

    Check out for affordable, original work.

  • Reply February 16, 2012


    I like it. I have heard ladies talk about matching bedding, and having drapes. Also in my experience it is not a big deal if the kitchen/rest of the house is a bit cluttered, but the bathroom needs to be on point. If you are crushed for time, focus there! I like #6 too.

  • Reply February 22, 2012

    Casey @ Manshway

    I think it is important to realize that there is a difference between what girls say they like and what they actually like. If you let a girl help you decorate your apartment, she will buy things that she likes. But if you brought that girl back to your place, that isn’t necessarily the stuff that she is going to want to see in a guys apartment. Trust sites like primer and other sites created by guys and for guys. And when it comes to furnishing/decorating your place, trust your instincts above all.

  • Reply March 13, 2014

    Ron Macoon

    I love the line: “Drapes mean business.”

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