Manly Decor – The Eight Defining Concepts of Manly Furnishings

What Is the Essence of Manly Decor?

Manly decor – It’s unmistakable.  You just know when a piece of furniture or wall art that was picked out by a man.

Sometimes it’s marked by its utter disregard for any standard of good taste.

Other times, its breath-taking in its beastly beauty.

But before you make rash judgments about the aesthetic merit of the decorating decisions men make, I think you should take a step back and try to understand what is behind it all. Once you do, you may change your mind and have a deeper appreciation for manly art and decor. Please keep an open mind.

Men and Women are Different (duh)

First of all, It’s almost never something that a woman would want in her home. There is a huge difference between what types of objects men and women want surrounding them.  Women generally want their homes to look nice – the so-called woman’s touch. They cherish items that are aesthetically pleasing but have very little else going for them – chintz curtains, sofa tables, reproductions of French impressionist paintings.

A Woman Bought this. It’s 100%  Useless

On the other hand, men are more honest – in a way. It is much more a personal thing. They are fairly obsessed with expressing themselves with the things they collect and show to the world who they are. The objects they choose are beautiful in a purely subjective perspective. They are not universal. They are particular to us. This is why we are often relegated to a man cave so we can devote ourselves to our things undisturbed.


There are actually at least eight traits that define manly decor. I think you will be surprised at the profound underlying impulses.  We have compiled the most important ones here to help you appreciate – and not scoff at – the choices we make in furnishings. They are, in no particular order:

Functionality, expressiveness, genuineness, humor and frivolity, comfort, durability, loudness, sentimentality.

Let’s take a closer look.



Importantly, men find beauty in functionality. We are a tool-using species. Even our furniture should be useful, multi-function tools of comfort and enjoyment – Like a futon with TV tray arm rests and storage drawers

Our cave-dwelling ancestors did not have end tables (on which you’re not allowed to put your drink without a coaster.) Yeah, they painted the walls, but even these images had magical purposes.

The point is – form without function is dumb. Furniture is for our use – not just to be looked at. And the more functions and features something has – the better, i.e recliner with cup holders and mini fridge. Or the storage ottoman. It can be used as a footstool, a seat, a stash, a step stool, an improvised workbench or a soap box you use to proclaim the superiority of your football team.


Men want to be surrounded with the things they love – the things (and symbols of the things) that they are passionate about. They are saying “Look at this stuff. It will let you know a lot about me”.  It’s not subtle or understated. It’s a proud proclamation of their unique personal identity.



There is no pretense, no artifice, no putting on airs. We might try to impress our guests, but it’s from a sincere desire to please, not to show off. We are opening up to the world.

Humor and Frivolity

Alternatively, we balance all this utilitarian functionality out with a willingness to display purely frivolous objects – as long as they have a deeper meaning – humor. Men realize it’s all a cosmic joke. An appropriate response is to laugh loudly and often. We break from our practicality to poke fun at ourselves and the Universe at large.



The home is a place of refuge and respite. It’s where we recharge and get our minds and bodies right again so we can go back out and kick ass. You can’t do that sitting on the edge of a settee. We like big, welcoming furniture that we can get intimately familiar with. That goes the same for our surroundings. Our things are like old friends.



Likewise, we want our stuff to be around for a long time. Dudes want our things to break in and age beautifully. It’s good for the soul to see the years of wear, but also see that they’re holding up quite nicely (like ourselves). Is it so wrong to want to use our favorite objects hard and long?



Additionally, If you have something to say, why whisper? We want to make a big, immediate impression. We don’t have time for subtleties. “Here it is!”  Folks can decide right away if they like it or not. Manly decor is not mere garishness, it’s loud, clear communication.



old rock concert poster

Special guest Aerosmith!

At first glance, all of the posters and memorabilia and tchotchkes may seem puerile, but it is a way of saying that we love our lives and we love the experiences that have made us who we are. All this stuff has a cumulative effect on our personality. We acknowledge that fact and we celebrate it with pride.


So now you have some insight into the concepts and emotions that drive the creation of manly decor. It’s time to stop judging strictly by the rules of high-tone design and good taste.

Summing up the importance of manly decor,  some men paint or write poetry.  The common man finds, buys and curates objects as a means of individual expression. It is our poetry. It is our art.