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How to take your living room from "man cave" to "girly"

Guestpost by JenniMat on Oct 9th

I recently moved across the country to start my PhD. An exciting time to be sure, but it meant I came to town with nothing but my clothing and my favourite art pieces. Everything I furnished my apartment with I got for free or from thrift shops, and as I didn't have time to wait for exactly what I wanted I went for functional/necessary rather than what my design aesthetic would normally dictate.

The apartment I'd like to have is the following: girly and pretty with soft colours — what a dream.

Unfortunately, my apartment looks closer to a man cave than Jenni's pretty apartment.

How do I work around these comfy, yet quite masculine, black leather couches to create something girly?

-Jenni

Ooh, Jenni, I LOVE a challenge. And girrrrrrl, your apartment is exactly that.

First, I could suggest slip covers, but unless they're custom-made, slip covers drive me nutso — they're always bunching up, or slipping off, and I can never get them to not look frumpy. So let's keep the couches as they are — black and comfy. So now black is, obviously, part of our color scheme. Here's how we girly and soften up the man cave…

Colors

Source: thenest.com via Laura on Pinterest

I suggest a pretty pale grey for your wall color. Like the Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter color shown here. This will tie in the black and soften up the walls to allow for more girly decor.

I noticed that some of your artwork has pretty pinks. So let's add pink and white in as our accent colors. (I was also thinking of doing a black, grey, white and turquoise as a color scheme too, until I saw your art work.)

Window treatments

These panels are my favorite — brighten up the small room with a white base, but girly it up AND tie in the grey of your walls with this pattern.

These panels are a less subtle option, to play up the black and white.

Pillows


Never underestimate the power of accent pillows. Aside from being comfy, pillows can bring in color themes AND soften up the look of any room. I say look for pillows that have girly textures like this gray ruffly one; or tie in all your colors like the pink, gray, and black one; or one with pretty motifs like the pink and white paisley and floral pillow.

Rugs

Rugs can work two-fold; they can ground a space (I recommend you move your couches into an L-shape to separate your office space from your living room, and then grounding the living room area with a rug). This sheepskin rug is good for girly texture… it's also on sale!

Accessories

Lighting: This is wear you break out your paintbrush and go to town on that lamp. Maybe a pink base? You can either keep that lampshade as-is, or perhaps do a flowery upgrade a la this lamp upgrade.
Table and chairs: A paint job would do that table and chairs set wonders. Maybe white or black and white? Perhaps even with toile seat cushions?
Wall art: I love the art you already have on your wall. Perhaps add a large mirror to not only bring more light into the space, but, if you get one that's ornate enough, you can really girly up a space with a nice mirror. Or get hold of Umbra's wall flowers (in white or pink) and make some sort of pretty girl mosaic on your wall, or above your office space.

Over all I'm thinking something like this:

Your turn!

Okay my lovely Homies, what would YOUR advice me to turn a large black leather couch-ed "man cave" into a girly hideaway?

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About JenniMat

JenniMat is a PhD student at the University of Victoria. She lives with her dog, Dylan Thomas, and occasionally her Kiwi boyfriend, when the visas come through.