Balancing Your Space with Masculine and Feminine Decor


Some of our favorite spaces exemplify what founding editor of Domino Magazine, Deborah Needleman, describes as the perfectly imperfect home — one that’s both lived in and loved. So much of achieving that look comes down to striking the right balance in your decor, from the shape and scale of your furniture to the color palette to the amount of light sources in the room.

Thanks in part to our Fall catalog, we’ve been talking a lot about the  juxtaposition between masculine and feminine elements that work together to create that well-balanced space. So we thought we’d share some rooms we think illustrate this perfect balance and what makes them work.


Color is an obvious way to express a more masculine look. The darker, the better. The rich, earthy chocolate walls of this office  instantly warm the room while allowing the accents of purple to really pop without feeling overly feminine. We love the way these two colors play off one another.

This thread of harmonious contrast is carried throughout the room. For example, the curves of the skirted desk chair partner perfectly with the strong lines and sharp angles of the desk.

Is there anything that screams masculinity more than brown leather? Didn’t think so! But the curved silhouette and tufted details of the Camden Headboard soften the style to make it a flattering fit in any decor. With this headboard, you get the best of both worlds — a strong fabric with a soft shape.

Bedding is another way to bring balance to the bedroom. Trade in that floral comforter for a gender-neutral color scheme. Here, we used a moody blue velvet quilt and paired it with a lighter duvet with a subtle pattern.


This room is a perfect study in blending masculine and feminine styles. The Ellis Table Lamp, Elise Sconces and sunburst mirror add glamorous touches of gold while the black chandelier and iron frame of the Durham Cocktail Table provide masculine contrast. The upholstered pieces in the room strike a similar balance: an elegantly curvy wingchair in soft linen is paired with a gentleman’s heavy leather armchair (which is really a recliner!) complete with brass nailheads.


Combining styles from different eras not only gives a more collected look that lends a sense of story to your home, but it also helps achieve that balance between the masculine and feminine. Think about a mid-century modern piece with its sleek lines and minimalist details compared to the distinctly feminine and ornate styling of a Victorian armchair. Some furniture styles have a gender, and to create a collected feel, we love to see those different styles blended! Here, the classic curves and carved details of the Louis Chair are a perfect foil to the more masculine, industrial-style pieces in the room, like the Durham Desk and the Allen Stool.


Designer Bill Peace is the master of creating lived in luxury that unites masculine and feminine decor. The generous use of velvet doesn’t feel overly refined when mixed with other materials, like leather, linen and metal. He also uses lots of neutrals and solids to balance out the  sultry shapes of the more classical pieces in the room, such as the curved arms and flared legs of the  Bedford Chair. Finally, he strikes the right chord with a mix of traditional pieces and tufted details (like our Lacquer Louis Stool and London Coffee Table) with the more masculine, clean lines of the Graham Sofa and Conley Settee.


Textures are another great way to celebrate the yin and yang of decorating. The chunky teak wood of our Blake Side Tables gives off a rustic, masculine vibe, while a trio of our Garden District Mirrors feels more refined and polished.

Heavy, dark woods are  a no-brainer in terms of bringing that masculinity into a room. In this living room, we balanced that grounding force with the airy and delicate details of the Cosette 10-Light Chandelier.

Creating balance can be tricky, but, ultimately, it creates a more inviting space that you and your family will enjoy.

For more design inspiration, visit our Pinterest Boards, or find more gorgeous rooms in our Photo Gallery.

Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.