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Design Ideas to Brighten Up the ‘Man Cave’

Things are getting critical: the women in your life are threatening to redecorate your bachelor pad. Now’s the time to take charge before you find yourself ambushed with an explosion of “girly” decor.

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

When choosing paint, keep in mind that a lighter color will make your place look bigger, an important consideration if you live in a tiny apartment or cramped condo. By the same token, a darker color can make a room feel more closed in, although one wall in a darker shade can have a focusing effect. If going with a lighter color, you don’t have to stick with the usual “eggshell white.” Softer shades are definitely an option, especially tans such as mocha or cappuccino, light gray-blue and sage green. Stay away from pinkish-toned pastels (unless you WANT the guys to rib you endlessly).

It might be worth the investment to hire a professional painter to do one wall for you in a special effect. New paints have textures such as denim, linen or suede, or you could opt for a pattern such as sponge painting. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Now that your walls are beautified, show them off with some new lighting. No, we’re not talking the expensive refit needed for recessed or track lighting. Instead, think about the way lighting affects your favorite TV show or a movie. Then get some new table lamps, floor lamps and ceiling fixtures that can reproduce what your mind’s eye envisions. Look for lamps in minimalist designs so they don’t distract from your manly decor. You should be able to find lamps with wood, leather or ceramic bases to suit your mood.

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

If the budget won’t allow you to buy new furniture, try rearranging what you have. Chances are, you didn’t think much about placement when you moved in your couch, dining table, dresser and bed. You can get your hefty buddies to help you move things around, or you can take the geek approach: measure the dimensions of your furniture, then input the data into any one of many home decorating computer programs available today. Then you can 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 can also serve as a coffee table (and haul that cable spool to the dump!). 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 splashes of color to the neutrals in the room.

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

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