No, this is not a post about roommates but rather, balancing the masculine and feminine elements in your home. Ignore it and your home can feel either too cold or too fussy. Create the right balance and your home will sing...
For masculine, think hard edges, shiny materials, sharp angles; the feminine flip side is soft and round and curvaceous. While you don't need to achieve a perfect 50/50 mixture, try to aim for at least 70/30.
For example, start with this black leather couch on its bare wood floor. It's the kind of basic modern sofa you can find at all price points (Hello, Ikea Klippan!). Now, bring in a rug to achieve some softness. A shag's a safe choice but you maybe even try something with a pattern. That's better. Drape a throw over one arm of the couch. Try a colour or a soft neutral with an inviting texture. Okay, now, toss a pillow in the opposite corner of the couch. Bring in a table. Round and wood would be a warm touch here (a great spot for an Eames Time-Life stool or two) and Voila! Suddenly, you've created an inviting place to curl up. Try this in your own home -- add a masculine piece, subtract a feminine piece and see if the feeling in your room shifts.
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[Image: Evan Walsh's Flickr, with a Creative Commons License]