Like the clothes you wear, the space you live in says a lot about you. From what’s stuffed inside your bathroom cabinet to the state of your bedroom, you might say that in some ways, those walls do talk.
So, if the contents of your home paints a picture of who you are, make sure the finished piece is more man of taste that slovenly singleton. Start by adding these essentials to make your home look better and feel more comfortable.
The days of stuffing your phone inside a pint glass should be well over. If you want to stand any chance of getting a party started, you need some decent speakers.
That’s not to say you need a slap-up multi-room wireless speaker situation either (although, it certainly wouldn’t hurt). What you’re after is at least one speaker that performs on two levels: aesthetics and sound quality.
When sounding out potential options, smart technology speakers are a good investment. Aside from most being loud enough to fill a room, they’re also useful for telling you the weather when you’re unable to drum up the effort to unlock your phone or open a window. For the kitchen, an internet radio is a must, too. Stick on something chilled while cooking and you’ll instantly gain culinary confidence, probably.
We’re delighted that at some point someone loved you enough to give you a giant mug with ‘Employee of the Year’ or ‘World’s Best Dad’ written across it in Comic Sans. Honest, we are. But we’re not so delighted at the prospect of sipping Scotch from it.
Every man, whether tee-total or a total lightweight, needs some well-designed glassware to hand. As with your wardrobe, start by ticking off the basics: a few tumblers, the odd wine glass and something to sip a pint from that wasn’t stolen from a pub.
If you want to impress with your pour, look for crystal glassware, which is heavier and of finer quality than what you get down the boozer. Otherwise, simple designs made from soda glass are an excellent alternative on account of being both sturdy and dishwasher friendly (because no wants to wash up after a heavy one).
Whoever coined that adage about good shoes and a good bed obviously didn’t have a great armchair. While it may sound a bit grandad, owning a can’t-get-up-too-comfy throne is one of the main things to strive for in life.
Beyond giving you something to kick back in with a book after a long day, a handsome chair can also be used to add character to an otherwise toned-down room. Especially when you’re confident enough in your interior skills to visit the soft furnishings section for cushions.
If you’re after something that’ll age like a sun-chasing chain smoker (in the best possible way), opt for leather. Otherwise, for something that will remain like new for years, choose a fabric body. In both cases look for a clean, contemporary design, and one with a slightly tilted back. This isn’t a hospital waiting room.
It’s a scientific fact that men can’t smell as well as women. Which probably explains the comments your mum used to make about your teenage room.
Now that you’re an adult, you need to make sure your airspace doesn’t have your guests’ nostrils twitching for the wrong reasons. Candles and room diffusers are ideal for masking any lingering notes of crispy fried bacon, stale beer or that laundry you’ve been meaning to do for the past month.
No bachelor wants his pad to smell like an old lady’s handbag. To avoid this, treat these accessories as you would a fragrance, taking time to look at the notes. Aim for masculine compositions packed with citrus, vetiver, wood, tobacco and oud to jettison any suggestion of potpourri.
You don’t need to be a Michelin-starred chef (or Patrick Bateman) to aspire to own a set of seriously sharp knives. In fact, no kitchen is complete without them.
There are few things more soul-crushing than attempting to slice an onion with a blade duller than other peoples’ work stories. For this reason, the best knives are fully forged (which means they are crafted from a single block of steel) and come fitted with a full tang (the name given to the part of the knife that attaches the blade to the handle).
The two things to look out for in sharp, pointy objects are quality and end use. Buy a set that comes with a chef’s knife, paring knife, flexible serrated knife and bread knife to cover most kitchen tasks. Quality-wise, carbon steel is superior to stainless when it comes to retaining that edge.
Late night turned into an even later night? Save yourself a schlep to the petrol station in search of a dust-covered bottle of cheap hooch by ensuring your home bar is fully stocked with all the boozing essentials.
Realistically, you’ll never be able to whip up whatever poison your guests can think of, but at the very least you should be able to cobble together a few of the classics without too much trouble.
When it comes to intoxicating agents, the basics will do the trick: rum, whisky, vodka, tequila and gin should all be permanent residents in your alcoholic arsenal.
As for the tools of the trade: a shaker, strainer and muddler is all the kit you need to go full bartender. And maybe some headache tablets for the morning after.
Nothing screams amateur at life louder than a jar of freeze-dried coffee granules that brew into something more closely resembling caffeinated gravy than actual coffee.
If you’re lucky (or unlucky) enough to have someone sticking around for the morning after the night before, make sure that your elixir of alertness is worthy of the most hallowed hipster hangout.
For easy Sunday mornings, a copper or silver stove-top coffee maker or cafetiere is a charming pre-digital way to get your morning fix of the black stuff. If you’re more of a fast-living guy, a button-bash-and-brew electronic coffee maker will satisfy your inner Gordon Gekko.
It’s no longer cool to tell the world and his wife you don’t own a TV. We’re not really sure it ever was. With so many stellar shows ready to binge, if you don’t have a box, frankly don’t be surprised if others think you’re a little bit odd.
To level-up your Netflix and chill, sit yourself in front of a home cinema set. Because everything broadcast in high definition feels like a cultural masterpiece (even reality TV), you’ll feel like much less of a layabout on a Saturday night.
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise: size matters. At least when it comes to TVs. Beyond cold hard measurements, if you want to see every drop of sweat on Captain America’s mug, look for 4K and OLED TVs, which boast the most epic picture quality on the planet.
If you’re able to bathe without supervision, there’s no excuse for not owning matching towels. Unless, of course, your intent is for your bathroom to look like it’s part of some shamefully shabby student digs.
Save your jumble of old rags for when the washing machine dies all over the kitchen floor and instead, give you and any house guests something worthy of wiping their face on.
Kit out your linen cupboard with simple colours. A stack of white towels offers instant hotel vibes, but they’ll discolour far quicker than darker shades. Always buy your fluffy friends from the same place, too. That way, in the eventuality that one towel gets stained or lost, you can pick up a newer, younger model without throwing the rest out with the bath water.
Just because you’ve managed to get someone past the threshold of your bedroom door, doesn’t mean the final hurdle has been cleared. Just as bad shoes can kill attraction in an instant, bad bedding can quickly turn unbridled passion into abject horror.
It isn’t just would-be bed companions you need to worry about, either. Man-made fabrics like polyester are less breathable and tend to trap heat, making for sweaty and uncomfortable nights that eat into your eight hours.
Sheets made from linen and cotton are more expensive than man-made versions, but clever enough to wick away moisture and regulate temperature. Oh, and swerve the kind of gaudy prints that turn your inner sanctum into a good taste vacuum.
With handymen as easy to conjure up as taxis, not being handy in the DIY department isn’t the emasculating catastrophe it once was. Until, that is, a fuse blows or the water stops on a bank holiday. After 11pm. At Christmas.
Sure, you could empty your savings to get someone out, but a far better idea is to have the gear (and a little bit of idea) of how to fix the problem yourself.
When domestic disaster strikes, make sure you have the tools to swoop into action. As a minimum, you’ll need a drill, hammer, wrench, Stanley knife, Phillips- and flat-head screwdrivers, a couple of Allen keys and one of those radiator bleeding things that no one knows how to use but look manly AF hanging off your keys.
Kitchen gadgets fall into one of two categories. The weird: microwave s’more maker, spaghetti-twirling fork, condiment gun, etc. And the goddamn wonderful: a slow cooker.
The name alone doesn’t give full credit to what is essentially a revolutionary way to cook better with less effort. As well as turning cheap cuts of meat into tender morsels of restaurant-grade nosh, a slow cooker ensures dinner is always ready for you when you get home.
Deciding which slow cooker to opt for will depend on your cooking habits, and there are many to choose from including some that heat food using steam to lock in vitamins and nutrients, and others that double up as an oven. As for more basic models, round-shaped bowls are best for knocking up stews and curries, while oval version will better serve a trussed-up joint.
There are two things a good piece of wall art should do. The first is that it should please you (and ‘please’, you’ll understand, is a subjective term). The second is it should look good, wherever it’s hanging.
The latter, of course, is all a matter of perspective, too. But take it from us, hanging a Damien Hirst skull head in your newborn’s nursery doesn’t say “I’m encouraging my child to find beauty in the unexpected”.
It doesn’t have to be a Picasso. It doesn’t have to be pricey. It doesn’t even have to be an original painting. But what it definitely does have to be is not any of the following: a Godfather poster, a ‘Keep Calm’ anything or a godforsaken Tube map.
To paraphrase the American film director John Waters, if you go home with somebody, and they don’t have books, don’t sleep with them. Not that we’re saying sex is the only reason for a top-notch reading list…
We’re not saying you don’t need wall-to-wall Proust, either. A few well-chosen coffee table books makes a room look good and you look smart.
Published works by photographers (bonus menswear points for street style experts) make for an easy browse for guests, as do architecture tomes and illustrated references of the creative industries. A book of Playboy cover doesn’t count.
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