Five tips for creating gender-neutral designs at home

Angie Anderson, 54, of York decorates her living space in gender neutral colors and fabrics. (Photos by Kate Penn)

for Smart

If you have ever decorated a nursery without knowing a baby’s gender, then you are familiar with the challenge of creating a welcoming, yet gender-neutral space.

It can be just as tricky when designing a room for adults.

Has your husband ever cringed when you suggested “Luxurious Lavender” as the paint color for the master bedroom?

Do your in-laws still bicker about the floral couch they have been living with for more than a decade?

Dauphin County blogger and home-decor expert Beth Hunter knows this challenge all too well.

Mix fabrics that aren’t too feminine or masculine to achieve a cohesive look for your space.

So many women were asking how-to questions on her blog,, that she and other home-decorating bloggers were inspired to create the national Haven Conference. The two-day event, which was held last June in Atlanta, aimed to empower women to decorate DIY-style with professional results.

Here, Hunter offers her top five tips for creating a gender-neutral space in your home:

1. Choose a neutral color palette for the walls. Whites, creams, tans, and grays are great options to consider. Some of the designer’s favorite go-to neutrals are Ramie by Sherwin Williams, Classic Gray by Benjamin Moore and Manchester Tan by Benjamin Moore. Save your pops of color for your accessories.

2. Use texture in place of color. If you and your partner cannot agree on accent colors, you can create a gorgeous room using several shades of the same neutral color. Incorporate items within the same color family that have various textures to add interest to your room.

When you and your partner can’t agree on a gender-neutral color, opt for a fun texture instead.

3. When choosing furniture, pick pieces with clean and simple lines. If a more modern look isn’t to your liking, choose sofas with rounded arms, but avoid heavily carved or ornate pieces.

4. Choose several different fabrics.
Most men are not going to gravitate toward a- -floral pattern, but they might not mind it on a throw pillow. Compromise with your fabrics by choosing floral, large- scale geometric and smaller-scale geometric patterns. Your room will look more put together and both parties will be pleased with the results.

5. Allow each partner his or her own space. Everyone desires a room in which he or she feels entirely at home. If your home allows for the creation of a “man cave” and “mom cave,” get to work on designing those separate spaces. Compromise is key in any relationship, and decorating is not an exception.

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  1. February 2, 2013

    […] your home decor is having a case of the winter doldrums, update its look with a few gender-neutral decorating ideas. Got the winder doldrums yourself? Try these tips for keeping the Earth in mind even when winter […]

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