There’s an indescribable freedom that comes with renting your first, solo apartment. No parents to abide by, no roommate to tolerate, the only rules to adhere to are those of your landlord (and sometimes, not even her). It’s exhilarating to make your first bachelor pad your own, and it’s a rite of passage in which all men should participate. But unless you intend to be the only one to ever see this place, there are some boundaries that you’ll have to acknowledge. If you’ve found that your apartment has been ending your dates a few hours too early, we’re here to help. Here are the guiding lights of setting up your woman-friendly man cave:
Hang some artwork – If you’ve never stepped foot inside an art gallery, we’re not asking you to buy a Monet print that you’ll end up hating. But decorating your walls with something other than beer posters goes a long way. “This is a great opportunity for you to showcase personal attributes or interests that really speak to the type of person you are,” says Every Guyed. “Whether it is your favorite poster, or a place to store your bicycle, just remember that presentation is just as important as function.” If you’re really against artwork, frame a nice poster of your favorite band or a good rendering of a sports hero. Frames will work hard to make your apartment look nice.
Keep some unisex amenities on hand – Few women will feel at home using your Axe shower gel. You don’t have to stock up on lavender-scented shampoo or keep a women’s razor in your shower (in fact, that might make her a little suspicious), but it’s important to maintain a bathroom that won’t make your date feel like she just woke up in a stranger’s dorm room. “Pro tip: get a good hair dryer,” says Guy’s Gab. “Trust me, it’s a simple trick but is very much appreciated when staying over at a guy’s house. Keep good stock of her favorite shower gels, shampoos and conditioners – just because you may not use conditioner doesn’t mean she will choose to live without it!”
Pay attention to your lighting – Remember how awful it felt to bake under those fluorescent panels in high school? It’s usually one of the last things you’ll think about, but the way your bachelor pad is lit can make or break its appearance. You don’t want your living room to be vampire-dark or bright enough for a photo shoot. “Here is your basic rule of thumb: overhead lighting sucks,” suggests Just a Guy Thing. “Why? Overhead lighting muddles things. It casts horrible shadows on people’s faces – transforming perfectly nice looking people into ogres, giving them dark circles under their eyes, large noses, and blotchy skin.” It’s important to make your date feel comfortable, and you’d be shocked at how quickly bad lighting can prevent that.
Stick to a theme – If your couch, TV, kitchen and rug all look they could have come from different decades, your pad will feel more chaotic than welcoming. It’s important to have your furniture and decorations complement each other. It sounds petty, but it’s not: anyone (date or not) will feel much more comfortable in a room that doesn’t feel like it fell out of the back of a Goodwill truck. “Think about what materials you’d like to see in your house and what overall effect you’d like to have emerge from the décor,” says Guy Life. “As far as theme goes (especially in the city), going modern and simplistic is always the best bet. It looks great, it’s easy to maintain and spaciousness is always welcome in a house, which is exactly what a theme like this ensures.”
Rid your place of any signs of an ex – Nothing will make a woman feel unwelcome like a picture of your ex stuck on your fridge. “Hide, throw away, and burn all signs of ex-girlfriends!” warns Ask Men. “Be sure that she doesn’t see any pictures of your ex; there’s nothing worse than her seeing your ghosts, and all it will do is make her insecure and give her reason to shut herself off from you.” This goes beyond pictures – any small gifts, sentiments or mixtapes need to go. If you’re too attached to something from your past relationship, it may indicate you’re not ready for a new one.
Keep a few drinks ready – We are in no way advocating bringing someone home to get them drunk, but even if you’re not planning on bringing a date home, you’d be surprised at how much more you’ll love your place when you can make yourself a nice drink. Keep a bottle or two of your favorite liquor and a nice bottle of wine – you might even consider a liquor cabinet. “Every man needs a cabinet to store his drinks,” says The National. “The stunning Tessen Bar cabinet has an Asian-inspired fan pattern hand-carved on the mahogany cupboard doors and it comes with interior storage for bottles and bar ware.” Check out the rest of their article for more suggestions.
Put the meds away – No one’s perfect, and unfortunately, some people are more prone than others to make a fast judgment, especially when a pending relationship is on the line. Orange bottles are an immediate attention-flag, and you might not want to advertise any medical or psychological hang-ups on the first few dates. “There’s nothing worse than having her wonder why you have Viagra on your bathroom sink,” says Dear Annabelle. “Even if there’s a perfectly logical reason why you have it, she’ll think you can’t get it up. Keep meds hidden away for now.”
Make your home entertaining – You won’t want your date to get bored on her first few trips to your apartment. You don’t have to go in debt for a nice entertainment center, but at least keep a few things around the house to keep her occupied. This could be a nice movie collection or a good coffee-table book. Valeria recommends the Wii: “If you have the space, nothing creates more opportunities for physical fun with a girl than a Nintendo Wii. The mere hint of Wii and white wine will be enough to get most girls very excited about making their first trip over to your place.”
Keep clean towels and bedding – When you’re living on your own, cleaning your sheets and towels regularly might not be your first priority. But if you want the slightest chance of someone feeling at home in your man cave, you’ll need to keep these things clean. Just because you can’t tell that something is dirty doesn’t mean someone else won’t be able to. Vanity Fair suggests keeping a matching towel set: “You don’t live in a frat, you don’t have a roommate, and you are presumably not colorblind, so why do you have towels of different size and color? Please walk over to the closet where you keep your mishmash of assorted towels that you have probably had since you got you’re your first apartment… and burn them. Get a set of white towels that are all the same shape and size, with washcloths to match.”
Make sure you feel comfortable – Take all this advice with a grain of salt. This is, after all, your home. If you’re bending over backward to make someone feel comfortable at the expense of your own wellbeing, it isn’t worth it. “Be proud of your home,” says Apartment Therapy. “If the girl hates it and dumps you, then you dodged a bullet and therefore should be thanking your lucky stars.”