Gender-neutral interior décor ensures the home is a refuge for all family members
Imagine a bedroom with bright pink floral wallpaper and now ask yourself will the men in your family want to call that bedroom their own. Highly unlikely. Going all pastel in your home interiors might put off the men while going all industrial or leather could make the women feel left out. Not just that the world is changing and people are breaking free of stereotypes and ensuring spaces appeal to all genders. Especially in a home gender-neutral colours and décor, particularly in areas that are frequented by members of both sexes, are safe bets.
Why go gender neutral
The world is striving slowly but surely towards gender parity. This holds for home and hearth and the workplace. Naturally, stereotypes related to gender even in architecture and interior design will be gradually done away with. After all, stereotypes are meant to be destroyed! Besides, gender-neutral spaces are more balanced and bring all family members together. This is especially true for common spaces like living and dining rooms; equal importance is given to the preferences and requirements of both sexes when designing such spaces.
This translates to a mix and match of colours, patterns and textures that are not skewed specifically towards one gender. For example, smaller groupings of accent chairs with dainty ledges for display of artefacts may be preferred by the woman of the house, while the man of the house might prefer a large sofa with hidden storage for trinkets. If only one’s preference is taken into account, the other would be right to sulk. Any good home interior designer in Bangalore will ensure that this does not happen.
That’s why at Design Cafe, we spend time with each homeowner to discover their unique sense of style and their requirements and aspirations for their space. This involves detailed questionnaires, one-on-one discussions and feedback. We ensure this process is fun and not just dull form-filling sessions.
What we have found works best is opting for gender-neutral looks in spaces used equally by family members of both genders.
Our master bedroom designs, for instance, typically tit towards gender-neutral schemes. This is a room where both genders coexist and ideally come for relaxation and comfort and so making it pleasing and comfortable for both is paramount.
What makes a space gender-neutral
Before we go there, we need to grasp what makes space ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’. Adding a qualifier here: such generalisations are just that—generalisations. They do not apply to every lady or gentleman.
- Masculine colours and décor: Darker and muted colour palettes or schemes with one neutral colour and one accent colour, matched with simple yet sophisticated pieces of furniture in leather and other-low maintenance materials are considered to be masculine. Modern home designs and decor with sub-decor styles such as minimalism, industrial-styling for walls, with stylish floors and straight lines are generally viewed as male.
- Feminine colours and décor: Bright and light colours, use of a family of colours to blend and contrast with the neutral colours, big bold patterns and gentle pastels, floral prints on upholstery and wall-decor, use of groupings of mirrors and furniture with delicate curvy lines are considered to be feminine.
Traditionally, a few rooms are designed primarily for a male disposition like a study, home office or den. Similarly, there are home-offices, parlour rooms, kitchens and entertainment rooms that are designed for the woman. Children’s rooms were also typically designed to be gender-specific when there is a single-child in question or children of the same gender sharing the room.
Gender-neutral spaces are a way of breaking the stereotypes of a feminine or masculine space and making it suitable for both. This means that the area being described has qualities that we can associate with both the genders.
This combination of masculine and feminine styles especially work best in common rooms such as family rooms, living and dining rooms, formal rooms and even office areas. For example, a simple yet sophisticated leather upholstered couch looks attractive with a ‘feminine’ background. Similarly, a living room with floral prints on one wall can be paired with a rugged sofa and coffee table or industrial lights, which will create a lovely contrast overall.
Answering the all-important ‘how to’
Take care of the number of colours and textures being used in your home interior design. There is a danger of going overboard as not just the walls and the floors, even furniture, accents, artefacts and wall-hangings and decor pieces add colour and texture to the whole composition. Ensuring the balance is maintained is critical and with some practice, this can be achieved. For example:
- Go bold with fabric wallpapers by pairing floral prints with stripes and place a statement leather couch in front.
- Use delicate furniture paired with a bold rug and industrial lights.
This doesn’t mean that all spaces have to be completely gender-balanced. Designing common spaces to be gender-neutral, while carving out spaces specific for the man or woman will make the design more personal and complementary. For eg: creating a work-corner for the lady of the house in a gender-neutral living room, a masculine breakfast counter in a feminine kitchen, a family room that has the man’s favourite recliner and the lady’s favoured love seat ensure a tidy balance.
Gender-specific taste can peacefully coexist when planned smartly. Here are some ideas:
- Complementing club chairs with sequined pillows
- Placing a vase of flowers beside the industrial windows of a living room
- Adding a pop of colour in the accent chair
- Pairing dark-coloured upholstery furniture with light-coloured cushions
- Complementing neutral-coloured walls with a richly patterned floor
- Contrasting soft edges or delicate-curves with geometric lines.
This trend is most visible in a room that was traditionally extremely gender specific—the children’s room. Globally parents are adopting gender-neutral styles for their children’s rooms with neutral bases like white, cream, grey and beige with accent colours like yellow, red, purple, brown and green becoming the favoured colours of choice. No pinks and blues anywhere!
More than any other home interior design and décor style, this one is all about balance and making all members of a family feel at home. Isn’t that something to be encouraged?