How to Mix Masculine and Feminine Design Styles

Times have changed from when you would decorate a little girls’ room pink and a boys’ room blue. In today’s world, masculine and feminine designs aren’t necessarily gender specific, they are more a descriptive adjective. Women are soft, romantic, elegant; Men are strong, rustic, earthy. This isn’t to say that this is every man (or women) – Some women hunt; some men do ballet. But when it comes to design, some elements feel more feminine or masculine base on our cultural upbringing of what is masculine and feminine. Depending on your design goal, combining certain elements can sway the feeling of the room to one side or the other. Just like in life, finding that balance is important.

Color rule 101: colors on the opposing side of the color wheel are complementary colors – red/green; blue/orange; yellow/purple. When you combined these hues, they neutralize eachother and they become less and less intense. Using this theory, we can combine masculine and feminine elements in a room, neutralizing them so they become less intense then they would be on their own. Balancing the overall feeling in the room.

But to do this, we need to understand what are masculine and what are feminine design elements.

So how do you combine these elements and balance a masculine, feminine design? 

Wall color vs Furniture Style

If your furniture falls into the masculine style (leathers, woods, large-oversize pieces) then add the feminine touch in your walls and finishes. Choose lighter, softer colors on the walls like soft shades of grey or blue. Add accent pillows, soft colored drapes and use polished brass or chrome metal instead of black or plumbers’ pipe.

Masculine: large, oversized sofa; large wood coffee table
Feminine: light walls; accent pillows; plants

Mix up shapes and colors

You can bring in the other genders vibes by using the shape or texture from one but in the color pallet of the other. For example, a geometric patterned wallpaper (masculine) in a light grey color (feminine) has a feminine feel but without making even the manliest of man feel uncomfortable.

Mix textures on different surfaces

Mixing different textures from both genders in a room will balance out the feel. The bedroom is a good place to play with this application. A wood wall covering behind the bed will make the room feel rustic and masculine. Use light colored cotton bed linens and you have the soft touch of a female – mixing the soft, female texture with the rustic demeanor of the male material. You can use any on these combination (or vis versa) to create a balanced more gender-neutral room that will make you and your partner feel at home. No matter what your preferred styles are.

Masculine: wood wall; dark, heavy headboard, minimal nightstand
Feminine: floral print sheets; white nightstand; faux fur rug

You can use any on these combination (or vis versa) to create a balanced more gender-neutral room that will make you and your partner feel at home. No matter what your preferred styles are.

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