Social structure demands that certain colors, styles, and even mannerisms define femininity versus masculinity, and that can really force you into a mould. At the same time, when it comes to creating a comfortable space for a man, there are some age-old structural ideas that tend to hold true, even if they are cliché. In fact, in designing a space specifically for a man, you can deviate from the norm and have a big win, but that doesn’t mean that the classic choices don’t hold true.
How do you choose the best bedroom colors for men? The fact that men don’t tend to care as much about design and decorating as women can make this task seem impossible, but there is a rational way to take on the project. Start with a general idea of what colors speak to masculinity in the traditional sense, as well as what colors generally appeal to men based on historical and psychological data. Then, you can get creative and see what sparks as a full interior design for a single man’s bedroom.
The Mind of a Man
It’s pretty obvious that men and women are very different creatures in many ways. Some even joke that they are two different species. That doesn’t mean that everything about men and women is polar opposite, and you find this to be true when it comes to two things that are important in this context – one is that they both want to be in a space that suits them, regardless of gender lines, and the other is that most men and women buy into society’s generalities of what’s appropriate for men versus what is approved for women.
Generalities about color by gender are assumed from the day we’re born, and it’s an age-old desire to decorate the nursery in blue for a boy and pink for a girl. Yet, in recent years, you see men wearing bright pink power shirts as a stark contrast to their dark shirts, and women have been partial to blue in dresses and blouses for decades.
You might be interested to find that, though a lesser percentage of women choose blue as their favorite color than men, it’s still the most common among women, followed by purple, then green. In fact, the same percentage of men and women (14%) state that green is their favorite color. So, where does the difference in color preference between men and women actually come into play?
It seems that men are more concerned with the quality of the color than the color itself. Here’s what that means:
Men prefer bright colors, while women overall prefer softer colors. For example, the difference between orange and peach could define a split in opinion between men and women.
Men have a higher tolerance for achromatic colors (those with no hue, like black, white, and shades of gray) than women. This is likely part of the reason that women are more likely to want accent colors in their space that vary, as opposed to men who often don’t have a preference in this regard.
While women prefer tints (colors with white added), men prefer shades (colors with black added). So, women tend to lean toward lighter versions of a color, while men like the deeper hues.
Men may like various shades of a color, but they still call it ‘green’, whereas women use names for the various hues, such as ‘moss’ and ‘seafoam’. This can make it hard to differentiate when picking design elements, and it often leads to the misconception that men are ‘colorblind’, when, in fact, it’s a psychological issue rather than a physiological one
Of course, the lack of definition of the shade or tint can make it difficult to decipher what the best bedroom colors for men are, but with a guide to basic preferences, you have a lot more to work with.
The Secret to Success
While there are great basic color ideas you can start with to create a perfect man cave in that bedroom, you may first want to consider the style in which men prefer to live. There are certain design elements that men prefer, and choosing the style first can help dictate what color schemes to involve in the decorating process.
The modern, contemporary look appeals to many men with clean lines and minimalistic decorations. While men may like a nicely framed mirror on one wall and maybe one or two pieces of art on another, they aren’t as interested in that as they are in the symmetry and geometric makeup of a nice, contemporary bedroom. This may be because men tend to analyze space more than women.
When it comes to a modern feel, the design can be accented even more fully with color choice. Some palettes and combinations lend themselves better to an overall sleek appearance, whereas other shades and tints are just too garish for such a theme. Often, darker colors with a sharp contrast to white or bright accents work well in a contemporary space.
Go back to the hunting lodge or the ranch, and you’ll find the elements that truly inspire some men. Consider the wood element that often comes with the ranch house, as well as the deep hues that come with it. There’s an aged look that’s involved as well, which invokes a peacefulness for some men, taking them back to a simpler time and place.
Practically the complete contrast to a modern look, a rustic feel is completed with colors that appear aged, as well as colors reminiscent of nature and the countryside. Instead of the crisp lines of a contemporary design, the room should reflect the personality of a man who enjoys it – a little rough around the edges but with class.
Aside from the idea of antique versus new, there is another element that really gets a lot of men’s attention – the ultimate luxury. Leather that is soft like butter and satin sheets with thick, heavy pillows can give a man that feeling of being a king in his palace, and that creates an extremely relaxing environment for a guy’s bedroom. In fact, much like living room furniture in a bachelor pad, it’s hard to go wrong with wood and leather in a man’s bedroom.
When designing a space that seems like a luxurious, decadent haven, it’s important to have heavy tapestries and colors that represent the height of a plush, royal lifestyle. Materials should be lush, and deep jewel tones will add richness to the environment. Creating such an atmosphere will create a regal environment that almost any man could enjoy and take advantage of when he needs to feed his ego or simply relax.
Designing the Space with Shades and Hues
Of course, no bedroom should be monotone, so the first thing that needs to be to determined is the base color, which will give you the platform or canvas for the rest of the design. When it comes to pleasing men, pick something simple, rather than looking for something off the wall. For example, if you’re using blue as a base for the rest of the design, try a simple midnight or navy blue as opposed to seeking out something more ‘fancy’. Names and shades aren’t as important when it comes to impressing men.
Men tend to enjoy darker colors, as evidenced by their preference for shades rather than tints. So, to lighten up the space, add accents of hues with tints that are brighter, keeping the color scheme in place and continuing the appearance and overall theme of the room in question. Blanketing the space with darkness makes the room feel smaller, and while men like darker colors, they also like larger, more open spaces. That means needing to complete the area with accents that keep the ‘man cave’ from ‘caving in’.
Top Color Choices
Some of the best bedroom colors for men might seem obvious, while others aren’t quite as immediately comprehensible. However, when you consider what each color represents in terms of psychology and the emotional and mental effects they evoke, it makes sense that men would be drawn to these particular colors.
Tranquility is important in your place of rest. After a day at the office, which can be extremely tiring especially in the corporate world, there’s nothing like retiring to a blue themed space, which will automatically help reduce stress and add peace of mind simply through the calming surroundings. For men, since they prefer darker colors, consider a royal or midnight blue with perhaps lighter accents. To put a little creativity to the design, throw in some white or off-white stripes in the tapestries or linens.
While brown may not come to mind as a favorite color among men, it is a perfect background for a soothing bedroom space. The color itself is gender neutral, which helps make it easy to adjust the design of the space to something pleasantly masculine. In addition, there are so many shades of brown that you can mix and match with wood elements for an overall satisfying design. Brown has a ‘home’ sense to it with its earth element, and that helps men settle into a space with brown backdrops as well as accents.
Gray speaks to elegance, which is something many men crave, as evidenced by their wardrobes. Those who like the finer things in life will gravitate toward gray and a bedroom with this as the theme will put a smile of satisfaction on a man’s face instantly upon entry. Dark grays, such as ash or charcoal, can really set off brighter accent elements, and overall, add a sense of living the high life to the space.
This seems obvious, but white is a clean slate that offers the opportunity to decorate with a plethora of colors since nothing clashes with white. Consider an off-white that isn’t quite so bright and use some darker elements to tone down the overall lighter tint to everything. Use dark curtains or shades with even darker bedding and complement with a cherry or walnut wood element.
The polar opposite of white, black creates a deeply calming space that suggests night and sleep and even romance. With bright accents – light colored wood, white and red and yellow elements in the wall dressings, and light gray, blue, or even a sharp red bedding set – you can keep black from seeming like an absolute dungeon and build a place that literally soothes a man to sleep.
The Ultimate Cave
For many men, the perfect place to retire from a hard day at work is a replica of a cave, starting with a chocolate brown background. The smooth, velvety color is just as comforting as the best Belgian chocolate to the soul, using luxurious satin sheets and a thick bedspread that matches the wall add to the decadence of the space. To avoid the monotony of the color and keep the space from growing too dark, splash in some tan and gold pillows with wall accents in gold and orange.
The style of the cave should be a clean, minimalistic theme so that the rich colors aren’t overwhelming. A heavy, dark wood for the furniture works well, as long as it has sharp angles and not too ornate in design. This style goes well with the technology men enjoy, such as a large, wall-mounted Smart TV. In fact, the thick tapestries help create perfect acoustics for a high tech sound system, increasing the pure enjoyment of any and all music and movie sound effects.
King of the Castle
For that imperial feel that feeds the ego and infuses men with a sense of ‘ruling the roost’, one should consider deep blue, purple, or a forest green. Jewel tones make a great base for a palace that leads to ultimate relaxation, and adding ornate, Edwardian era furniture can really bring it home. The bulky design of such furniture and the careful detail to design elements work well with dark blue and purple for tapestries and bedding.
Accents that work well with these deep colors and keep the rich theme should be metallic. For example, silver wall frames with black and white photos or gold hardware on the chunky furniture keep the illusion in place, reminiscent of precious metals and high value. This is a classic style that appeals to a man’s sense of superiority and the need to own his space.
A deep colored plush rug in a lighter shade would keep the room from closing in with all the dark lush colors and materials. Or, you can use a complementary color. For example, if the room is drenched in forest green, add an ostrich colored rug to lighten the space and keep it open. With midnight blue, try a light grey rug, and with brown, you can try a sage green rug that adds a natural element, sort of bringing the outdoors in.
If you’re looking for a country vibe, there are several ways to go about it but not so much in a man cave. While you can go for something quaint in the kitchen with light blue or yellow, that won’t suffice for a man’s bedroom. Instead, you want the rougher elements, such as unfinished wood. Rust colors and deep browns with a rich green accent can create a very ranch-style oasis for a man to retire to, and it can be greatly appreciated especially by men who spend their days in urban downtown areas surrounded by city life.
To keep a lighter element in the room, choose a blonde wood that is unfinished and rough around the edges. Furniture can have natural imperfections and doesn’t have to be symmetrical. Consider, instead of a gentleman’s quarter, an element like a sawhorse for such purposes. It’s a creative element that can really put the finishing touches on the rest of the area.
Throw rugs and even a couple of afghans with rich vibrant colors tossed over the back of a cozy couch in the corner can create a more southwest themed space that could greatly appeal to a man’s sense of rustic domain.
Colors to Avoid
You may have heard some general rules about colors you shouldn’t use in the bedroom, but with men, there are a few additional considerations to keep in mind. Males have more testosterone and are therefore naturally more aggressive and prone to anger or territorial instincts. So, colors that incite aggression could become problematic for some men. That especially pertains to men who have very stressful jobs that keep them on edge and have them working long hours or involve a lot of debate and face-to-face confrontation.
On the other hand, men who perform hard labor and are extremely tired may not want a shade on the walls that are going to put them instantly to sleep. Rather, a soothing color that will also help them wake up in the morning could be beneficial. Often, these men physically release more emotional and mental stress and aggression on the job and are looking for physical comfort more than emotional relief.
However, as a general rule, for a number of men, it might be best to consider avoiding an overabundance of these colors:
Red – Known for causing restlessness and aggression, red might not be the best color to drape over a window or paint on the walls for men who already have Type A personalities or who are easily agitated.
Bright yellow – While the color is sunny and charming and can really get you going in the morning, a lot of men find it irksome and will respond negatively with difficulty sleeping. This is especially true of men who work long hours.
Black – While we’ve recommended this as a great color for men’s bedrooms, there are some men who will respond with added aggression, depression, or a sense of discord with their environment. Black may be better as an accent and should be used with caution.
You may want to read: What are Good Accent Colors for Green?
The Bottom Line
Honestly, personal preference plays a huge role in determining the best bedroom colors specifi for men. While there are rules to abide by in presenting ideas to a man looking to decorate his private space, that can all go right out the window if the man in question is adamant that he absolutely loves a color that wouldn’t normally be on the palette for choices. Take into consideration the recommendations for what really makes a home for men and what can turn their bedroom into an oasis of escape.
Then, incorporate the taste of the man in question. Every gentleman, whether he realizes it or not, has a preference when offered a choice. Don’t ask too much as you don’t want to overwhelm a busy man with too many details since they often aren’t as concerned with the minor elements as much as the big picture. Choose your questions carefully and make them count so the input helps with a number of decisions on the overall theme.
If there was a single color that would be most highly recommended, it would have to be blue, based on the overall psychology of its peacefulness and the fact that it’s the most popular favorite color among men. You can use it as an overall theme or as the background for incorporating other colors. It can create a rich, luxurious space and help build in a certain sense of royalty, boosting a man’s ego without keeping him awake at night. All around, it has the most to offer for a man of any personality and persuasion.
When it comes down to the bottom line, though, if the space ends up pleasing the customer, then it’s a job well done, whether the design elements adhere to the typical advice or are completely off the wall. Every man’s personality is different, and it’s great to have a guide to help you along the way. But going with your gut is usually going to give you the best end result.