Turn Your Man Cave into a Gentleman’s Castle with These 5 Stylish Furnishings

By Elliot Aronow

A lot of dudes approach decorating their home with a mix of terror, boredom and resignation. Frankly, we don’t blame you for being a little afraid of having an actual opinion about home furnishings. Maybe you have bad teenage memories of spending hours trapped at Ethan Allen, when all you really wanted to do was skate. Maybe you lived with an interior designer and when things went south, they took all the good stuff. You got to keep the desk chair.

No matter your decorative past, it’s very much within your powers to turn your man cave into a gentleman’s castle. You just need to show some love for yourself and for your crib and figure out what your dream home looks and feels like. Are you a hardcore modernist who lives for spotless walls and clean lines? A collector of rugged, elegantly dishevelled antiques? We say: It’s cool to be both, man! It’s 2017. No one is going to take away your dude card for caring about how your home looks.

The key to decorating like a pro is to actually the take the time to look and touch lots of stuff. See what moves you! To begin your journey, here are our suggestions for some classic pieces any recovering caveman can pull off.

Some guys tend to decorate their space à la their parent’s rec room: dark furniture, lots of wood, heavy everything, etc. That’s like ordering a cheese steak, wrapping it in pizza and then dousing it with ranch dressing. Each item could be cool on its own, but all together it’s oppressive. As an alternative to ornate stuff that has a lot of visual presence, pull a Steve Jobs and cop a clear acrylic coffee table. Not only will it open up your space visually, it’s a breeze to clean thanks to its space age materials.

If you are a dude who loves to cook, exercise or smoke weed (basically: all dudes), chances are, your home is definitely in need of an olfactory makeover. Forget about lighting up that Pumpkin Sunrise monstrosity from Yankee Candle Co. You need an elegant touch. That means ditching those nasty, aggressive chemical candles and dropping a little cash ($75 or so) on a woodsy, citrusy candle made from natural ingredients. For our money, NYC scent masters Odin make the best long-burning, dude-friendly candles at a price that won’t break the bank.

If your crib’s floors have seen better days, a handsome area rug or two can cover a multitude of sins. For a classic look, dig around for a vintage Persian rug in a muted color palette, the kind of thing that wouldn’t look out of place in a Ralph Lauren store, surrounded by handsome old books and a leather arm chair. Not feeling that look? Go with a sexy, plush textured rug in a neutral color.

Every lord needs his throne. Donate or toss that creaky wooden hand-me-down from your great aunt’s dinette set and invest in a classic mid-century modern-inspired arm chair. There’s really no limit to how much you can spend on one of these bad boys, but for two sweet looks at different ends of the spectrum we dig this super-affordable version, as well as this luxe, well-heeled cousin. Pro tip: When in doubt, go small. A little chair in a big space looks luxurious, but a big chair in a small room looks foolish.

There’s no shame in having the TV at the center of your living room. What is shameful is making your guests stare at that crusty “media center” you’ve been schlepping from apartment to apartment since 2004. For a clean, elevated look that will work in any space, invest in a simple white credenza. Not only will it effortlessly showcase whatever you’re watching, it will also put your understatedly swaggy taste on display. As a bonus, its minimal color scheme offers you the opportunity to pump the volume with the rest of your room’s decor.