In many homes women still do much of the home furnishing and nest feathering. But I find it troubling to see an overly feminine main bedroom that is intended to be shared by a couple. Whenever I’m designing a bedroom for a man and a woman, if at first glance I can’t see a man being comfortable there, then I get back to work. This generalization may offend the utmost of feminist views but a slight shift in hue or colour intensity is often all that is needed to please both.

This post on Bedroom Design Ideas to Please Him and Her was originally featured on Houzz.

Choosing a Color

Color seems to be the common theme in overly feminized rooms, more than individual motifs or other elements. Lace, for example, decidedly feminine, probably appeals more to a man when it’s black, right?  The use of soft pastels and pinks, but also the absence of dark colors in general, can leave a bedroom feeling too girly.

One rule of thumb in design is that every room needs a touch of black to anchor it. Here’s another color insight: Orange and blue make for the most appealing complementary color combination in advertising to reach a male audience. Picture the New York Mets uniforms.

Indeed, color is key, but how much do you need? Often subtle shifts are enough.

Bedroom with gray walls, black bedframe. Colorful pillows atop a white bedspread. contemporary bedroom by Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

His and Her Style

This smoky backdrop dramatically defines the sleeping zone while setting other colors ablaze with vibrancy. Hand-crafted Native American inspired flat-weave rugs with colors that pop meet a clean-lined discipline. Arrows step in as objets d’art above the bed.

Vive la différence. If she likes a streamlined style but he wants to display something rustic or tribal, like a collection of arrows, celebrate them in a minimal display with graphic interest. Keep the colours contemporary, the displays minimal. Put it all together and everybody wins.

bedroom, bed with black frame, white bedspread. Red decorative pillows. traditional bedroom by Artistic Designs for Living, Tineke Triggs

Masculine Meets Traditional

The elements are all traditional in this European-inspired room. Pinch-pleat drapes, dark wood drapery hardware, a curved headboard with ornate carving and toss pillows in a classic pattern deliver a traditional look that can also feel decidedly masculine.

Her style, his colors

 If you love traditional but your partner feels left out, take notes. The success here starts with the deep smoky wall color. This alone keeps the room from being too feminine. If you enjoy traditional motifs and patterns, pick a simplified version for accents in a bolder color combination, as with these toss pillows. They repeat the smoky wall color in the background and add a hit of rich color to tie together a layered look. Use soft white bedding, as done here, but keep it crisp and tailored.

Bedroom with striped armchairs, decorative pillows on chairs. White bedspread and orange accent pillows. contemporary bedroom by Artistic Designs for Living, Tineke Triggs

Color for Two

Orange and Blue

This classic scheme draws on complementary colors that appeal to masculine tastes but are offered in a female-pleasing interpretation.

Keep both parties happy. A subtle shift from orange and blue to coral and aqua may be more pleasing to women. Choose an artful mix of bold patterns and anchor it with charcoal to get this look right for both of you.

Bedroom with brown wood grain furniture. Bed, credenza, wall art. mediterranean bedroom by Margaret Donaldson Interiors

Minimal Color

Orange and blue are used in small portions here. In this mostly achromatic scheme, orange notes in the rug contrast the blues in the artwork while not overpowering. I love the choice of mid-toned wood as a marriage saver.
Use color sparingly.
Paint walls white to highlight a beautiful headboard silhouette. It will showcase the shape and the wood grain. Pick an antique rug like this with a border that brings in color from artwork — and stop there.
Green credenza left of brown wood grain twin bed. contemporary bedroom by Erica George Dines Photography

Punchy Color
These greens and blues please many people. The soft pastel wall color is pleasingly feminine, but the strong masculine headboard adds balance.

Maximize blue and green

To balance a soft wall color, inject punchy green and blue, as was done here with the bedside table and quilt. Select saturated colors to brighten pastels. (“Saturation” refers to the purity or intensity of a color. A highly saturated color is one that does not contain any white, which would create a tint, or black, which would create a tone.)
Gray bedroom, white bed with yellow pillows. Yellow bench at foot of bed. contemporary bedroom by Atmosphere Interior Design Inc.

Hello, Yellow

This universally gender-neutral color steps in to rescue the most style-challenged couples.

Tip: Set yellow against black to balance it. Use tufting, like on this bench, for softness, and black trim on bedding to add an edge. It’s nice how this dark trim echoes the railing detail on the stairs.

Green bedroom with green bedframe, green bedding. White & green art deco rug. modern bedroom by Imagine Living

Keen for Green

Green is always a great gender-neutral option.
Brown and cream themed bedroom. contemporary bedroom by Beth Dotolo, RID, ASID
Brown and Cream

This is a classic go-to combo.
traditional bedroom by Gridley + Graves Photographers, white loveseat adjacent white bed with black frame

Incorporating Black

Thin outlines in dark wood are just enough to keep this palette from erring on the side of too soft.

 Outline light colors with black. Take a cue from Johannes Itten (one of the main pedagogical forces behind Bauhaus and a contributor of a unique theory on color). “Light colors on light backgrounds can be greatly strengthened if outlined in black,” he said.
contemporary bedroom by Rachel Reider Interiors, brown bedframe, blue blanket. Blue, black/white polka dot & gray pillows

Blue Is the Hue

A dark headboard adds curve appeal, too. Blue is universally the most loved color. Break it up with soft gray and white to get the balance just right.

Use white backdrops for dark colors. “Dark colors appear most striking against white,” Itten said. This room lands right in the Goldilocks zone: not too manly, not too girly — just right.


If you need some help, you can always reach out for a consultation!