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Design ideas to brighten up the ‘man cave’

Things are getting hot: The women in your life are threatening to redecorate your bachelor pad. Now is the time to take charge before you are ambushed with an explosion of “girly” decor.

Start with a fresh coat of paint. Painted walls are the first things you notice in a room, so a change in color or the addition of a new texture can quickly liven up a living space. Unfortunately, painting is also laborious and time consuming if you can’t afford a professional painter. Why not invite your girlfriend or other women who have been threatening to update your decor to help with the painting? In other words, shut up or shut up, ladies.

When choosing paint, keep in mind that a lighter color will make your home look larger, an important consideration if you live in a small apartment or cramped condo. Similarly, a darker color can make a room feel more closed in, although a wall in a darker shade can have a focusing effect. If you’re going with a lighter color, you don’t have to stick with the usual “eggshell white.” Softer shades are definitely an option, especially tans like mocha or cappuccino, light blue-gray, and sage green. Stay away from pink-hued pastels (unless you WANT guys to tease you endlessly).

It might be worth the investment to hire a professional painter to do a special effect wall for you. New paints have textures like denim, linen, or suede, or you can go for a pattern like sponge paint. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Now that your walls are spruced up, show them off with new lighting. No, we’re not talking about the expensive retrofit needed for recessed or track lighting. Instead, think about how lighting affects your favorite TV show or movie. So buy new table lamps, floor lamps and ceiling lamps that can reproduce what you envision. Look for lamps with minimalist designs so they don’t distract from your manly décor. You should be able to find lamps with wood, leather, or ceramic bases to suit your mood.

Lastly, what about the furniture? After all, isn’t it about time you got rid of that cable reel table you’ve been using since college?

If the budget does not allow you to buy new furniture, try rearranging the ones you have. Chances are you didn’t give much thought to placement when you moved into the couch, dining room table, dresser, and bed. You can have your beefy friends help you move things around, or you can take the geeky approach: measure the dimensions of your furniture, then input the data into any of the many home decorating computer programs available today. You can then move little icons of your furniture around in a virtual room until you find an arrangement you really like.

However, as a man on his way up in life, it might be time to invest in some furniture upgrades. Consider sprucing up the living room with a giant ottoman that doubles as a coffee table (and take that spool of cord to the landfill!). Even if you have wall-to-wall carpeting, you can top it with an area rug in a complementary style for a focal point. Install a wall unit to display some of your collectibles or hang vintage posters. Use throw pillows to add pops of color to the room’s neutrals.

With just a little effort and expense, you can rack up points with the ladies for being a man in charge of your home environment!

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