How to Mix Masculine & Feminine Decor
This guide is part of our Overstock Stylist Commentary series, home design tips written by industry experts.
Overstock Stylist Teisha Ahlstrom discusses her favorite room she designed in 2022, a home office with a modern yet vintage feel. As she reviews her furniture and decor choices, she shares a few tips for creating a space that mixes both masculine and feminine elements.
When it comes to mixing masculine and feminine styles, it’s easiest to split masculine furniture and feminine decor. Start with dark woods and metals for bigger pieces, then bring in lush textures for your accents. Men tend to associate wood or metal furniture with an industrial aesthetic and can relate to it or appreciate it. Women are more sensory and appreciate softness and curves, which inspire comfort and pleasure.
For this room, I started with the large, rustic wood table and knew immediately I would need to bring in some softness. So I mixed it with a rust fabric accent chair to create contrast. That visual interest stimulates your eyes, making it exciting to look around! The same goes for the side table with soft wood and metal legs; this striking combination also gives the office a modern feel.
The earthy green couch adds to the moodier aspects of the room. With its trendy curved shape and velvety texture, it blends both masculine and feminine interior design in one beautiful piece of furniture.
In most cases, dark masculine colors work best for the walls and furniture as the foundational aspects of the room. Here, the playful feminine home decor enhances the area as an accessory color. Had we done the opposite — trying to add bold masculine decor to delicate feminine furniture — it would have been harder to balance.
To me, color is made softer or richer by the texture being used. For example, petite pillows and whimsical throws can be used to break up a muted couch. It’s a subtle way to mix in smaller pops of soft shades with richer dark hues.
The best example is my favorite piece in this room: the artwork. It was my main inspiration for a home office that felt like it could work for anyone, and ultimately it decided the room’s color palette. The black background combined with bright florals reflects how the room is styled. One large piece of splashy artwork on a moody, masculine accent wall creates interest without overwhelming the space.
Texture & Pattern
When blending masculine and feminine home design, stick with dark colors as your main focus. Then use texture and pattern to give your room life and personality. Here, straight lines and geometric patterns lean into masculine design because the sharp lines create form and function. The glam of the florals, furs, and velvets invite more feminine vibes. Similarly, choosing to use these light, fabric ottomans instead of office chairs lends a sense of softness. Upholstery can be a shortcut for feminine home decor, especially when fun patterns make an appearance (like in the throw pillows).
If you’re trying to incorporate each of your own personal styles to a shared space, scatter small decor or unique treasures you may have collected through the years! It’s a simple way for each of you to feel represented.
In this office, a wooden vintage lamp is paired with a delicate vase; the dark stain of the wood contrasts with the slender, rounded shape of the vase. Likewise, the ornate feminine design of the flashy gold mirror is placed against a sturdy wood accent wall. Meanwhile, the pastels of the floral arrangement on the side table soften the matte finish and stout body of its modern black vase. On that note: using plenty of plants can always balance a gender neutral style. To bring in that extra dose of personality, consider a vintage-inspired pedestal instead of a plant stand.