Mixing Masculine & Feminine Design

By Oliver Burns

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August 14, 2013|Luxury Design

  • W

  • hile everyone has different tastes, there are certain design traits that are seen as ‘masculine’ and others that are seen as ‘feminine’ in interior design. On showing some of my design ideas to a male friend, he immediately dismissed the display of items just through the introduction of’ ‘feminine touches’. My friend, a bachelor, also stated very clearly that his taste was set on minimal clutter, clean lines and the only pieces of furniture needed, were pieces that served a function. The idea of anything decorative, cushions, antique mirrors, pieces of art, were simply dismissed as not necessary, but things I see as bringing an interior scheme together. The only thing we could agree on was our love of neutral colours such as grey, which can be used in any scheme to harmonise the use of feminine and masculine accents, as seen in the image above.
Image sourced via Boca Do Lobo

However, it is possible to mix both aspects of feminine and masculine design without having to paint everything grey. Furniture pieces can also enable you to mix up the gender of your décor. Take the Royal Dining Table from Boca Do Lobo. They make no apology for the contrast in this piece, describing it as ‘a mixture of grace and contemporary design’. The overall shape of the table takes on a more feminine form that echoes styles from the baroque era. Elegant roses are carved carefully into the legs, drawing your eyes along the side of the table top until you meet an area stripped of the decorative detailing, replaced instead by strict angular carvings.

Image sourced via Boca Do Lobo

This interruption continues onto the table top which forms a diagonal patchwork area of exceptional marquetry, finished with a high gloss varnish. This is a great example of a table with a dual personality that is beautifully combined. Feminine baroque meets masculine clean lines, creating a piece of furniture that is both beautiful and functional and that also carries an elegance that is outside of the norm.

Image sourced via Houzz

By mixing the two design aesthetics together, it makes a room appear more balanced in it’s design, consequently appealing to both female and male tastes. In the image above, particularly feminine white furs and a striking chandelier are paired with a black leather bed, masculine artwork and modular side tables, making this space feel like it is well lived in and loved by both parties.

Image sourced via Fendi Casa

However, it doesn’t always have to be such obvious signs of male and female taste in a design. Subtle curves on table or chair legs combined with straight angular lacquered furniture, such as the sideboard in the image above, will make a scheme seem neutral towards either gender.

Since our discussion, I have now proved to my friend that feminine touches don’t always have to come in the form of floral cushions and beaded lampshades. By adding textures and mixing clean lines with curves, a compromise can be met. It’s through these design accents and how they are combined with other details that produces an overall scheme with impact.

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