Want to create that ‘love-coming-home’ feeling in the place where you live? Then it’s essential that your home is a welcoming space for EVERY member of your family. This is something to be especially mindful of where couples or larger families are concerned. While you want everyone to feel comfortable, it can be hard to find the right balance between different genders, personalities, tastes, and preferences. But, with a little intentionality and creativity, as well as some compromise, you can create a home that reflects the unique individuality of each member of the household, without sacrificing on style!
While the home has traditionally been aligned with women and mothers, don’t assume that home décor and interior design is exclusively mom’s domain. It’s important to take Dad’s preferences into consideration, too! Sometimes the best option is to choose a ‘gender neutral’ design or color scheme that everyone can enjoy. But that certainly doesn’t mean it has to be bland or lacking in visual interest! In fact, gender neutral design is an exciting way to reimagine your space beyond the limitations of traditional principles.
Neutral Doesn’t Mean Bland
One of the misconceptions of gender neutral design is that it relies on ‘boring’ neutrals in 50 shades of beige. But going gender neutral with your color palette doesn’t mean that your home will be without color or pattern. There are so many possibilities! Start by choosing colors that are earthy, such as greens, browns, oranges, purples, and reds. If you’re planning to paint your walls, consider the overall color scheme in your home or for that particular room. Find a color that both you and your partner love, and that brings a harmonious balance to your space. For example, if it’s an accent wall, you can consider using a contrasting color that will ‘pop’ and stand out. Other beautiful neutral shades can include grays, creams, and whites. Avoid obvious ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ colors (for example, bright pink).
When it comes to patterns, stay away from florals. Instead, think stripes, abstract graphics, and polka dots. For example, you could add a striped drapery, or try placing an area rug with a bold, abstract pattern aqs a focal point in the room. Patterns are perfect to show off with accent accessories, like throw pillows, ottomans, and even armchairs. What’s also fun about patterns is that they can add a lot of personality and visual interest to your space.
Your bedroom is an especially important space that you’ll want to share with your partner. Creating an oasis of comfort and relaxation that you both enjoy is important – not just for your ability to sleep and rest, but also for your relationship! Once again, the best rule of thumb is to think natural. Use earthy tones and colors that evoke calm and tranquility. You could use a coastal theme that brings to mind sand dunes, beaches, and warm summer breezes. Or try creating a sanctuary of deeper, richer tones that feels like a private, secret hideaway.
Look for bedding, blankets, and coverlets or duvets that complement your neutral color scheme, but don’t be afraid to add some pops of color with throw pillows. Patterns work well in the bedroom too; just keep the overall visual balance of your space in mind so it doesn’t veer into looking or feeling cluttered. Patterned drapes or matching duvet cover and pillow sham patterns can add the right touch of chic personality.
A good way to find a gender neutral compromise is to work with different shades or tones of more masculine or feminine colors. For example, opt for teal instead of baby blue or gray instead of black.
Decorate with Indoor Plants
One way to enhance any space in your home – while also keeping it gender-neutral – is by adding indoor plants. Plants are a great way to make your space healthier, as they are known to improve air quality and also enhance your mood. They’re also a great way to infuse a room with color, texture, and vitality, and to make it feel connected to the environment outside. In fact, green is one of the best gender neutral colors, as it falls in the middle between traditionally masculine and feminine palettes.
Employ a variety of indoor plants, from small succulents like a Jade Plant to a hanging English Ivy, to a tall, dramatic plant-like Fiddle Leaf Figs. Plants bring positive energy and can really be enjoyed by anyone!
Choose Gender Neutral Art Pieces
The art you choose for your walls is one of the most impactful ways to set the tone for a room and a great starting point for gender neutral design. Lean towards art that isn’t distinctly masculine or feminine like nature-inspired pieces, landscapes, and abstracts. Framed mirrors are also a great option!
Keep It Classic
Opt for furnishings that are classic and timeless and use them as building blocks for your gender neutral décor. Classic textures and materials like wood and stone will work in a variety of settings. When in doubt, keep it simple!
Practice the Art of Compromise
What do you do when your personal tastes vary greatly? Vision boards are powerful tools for arriving at a unified vision that you and your partner will love. The key is to create your vision together. Start by gathering some of your dream-home decorating images. It’s fun to dream and visualize! By working together with an open mind, you should be able to find some common themes in both of your sets of images. Keep these as the base for creating your new common space. Build on what you find in those images, until you establish a look and feel that you both love.
If you have children, get them involved too. Creating vision boards as a family is a stimulating, conversation-based activity that can help bring everyone together. Your kids will start to light up when you give them a real chance to participate. It gives them a sense of ownership and excitement to help create a thriving home environment for the whole family. It’s amazing what you can discover about one another, and about what each of you values in a home, when you build a vision board together.
Want to learn more about how to do a vision board with your partner or whole family? Start by checking out our blog post The Magic of a Vision Board. For a more in-depth resource, Jennifer Adams’ book Love Coming Home goes into greater detail on how you can use vision boards as a guideline for decorating or renovating your home together.
Remember, creating a gender-neutral home or room doesn’t have to mean making things drab. You can bring the perspective of every member of your family into the process, and together you can create a home you all love!