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 wants to display something rustic or tribal, like a collection of arrows, celebrate them in a minimal display with graphic interest. If he likes contemporary graphics and hot colors, let him pick the accents. Put them together and everybody wins.
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 mate 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.
This classic scheme draws on complementary colors that appeal to masculine tastes but are offered in a female-pleasing interpretation.
Color for two. 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.
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 midtoned 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.
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.)
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 is always a great gender-neutral option.
This is a classic go-to combo.
Thin outlines in dark wood are just enough to keep this palette from erring on the side of too soft.
Tip: 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.
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.
Tip: 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.