Bachelor Pad: 6 Tips to Get You From Sad to Rad

A few years ago, a friend had a new lady visiting for the first time. His bachelor pad was already pretty stylish (thanks, Mom), but he called me the day before her arrival, frantic for some last minute tips.

bachelor pad

There are few stereotypes that elicit as much eye rolling as the uninspired, single person’s apartment. Here are a few tips to transform that bachelor(ette) pad into a home fit for two!


  1. Sexy Books

sexy books

First things first, we tackled his disheveled bookshelves.

After rearranging a little furniture and cleaning his light fixtures, I suggested we arrange them with his sexy books at eye level. What are “sexy” books? I’m glad you asked.

Sexy books are those that indicate you possess desirable interests and characteristics.

While topics vary by partner, safe bets include Lonely Planet Thailand/Costa Rica (adventuresome), classics (literary), anything by Thich Nhat Hanh (conscious), and a worn copy of Nourishing Traditions (foodie).

Dungeons and Dragons Player’s Handbooks and your C++ manual can go on the bottom shelf, or better yet, in a sealed box in your closet labeled “Baseball Cards” to deter curious eyes.

2. Lighting


Light Bulb

Nothing is a buzzkill to romance quite like a bare, fluorescent bulb.

Unless you have an interrogation fantasy, cold, overhead lighting is not a contributor to pleasant ambiance. It casts unflattering shadows and is psychologically uncomfortable.

Think about how you feel in a romantic, candlelit restaurant, as compared to, say, the BART train station at midnight.

Put everything on a dimmer. Everything. The more you can bring lighting down to eye level (think lamps vs. overhead) the better. Layer your light sources. Clean your existing fixtures. Replace the bulbs.

If you want to learn more about how to make your lighting fabulous, you can also check out this blog, where I go more in-depth.

3. Rugs

No truer words have ever been spoken in a stoner comedy than, “That rug really tied the room together.”

While The Big Lebowski may seem like an unlikely source for design advice, rugs really do provide a unifying element- a foundation from which to pull all of the colors and patterns into your art and textiles.

Rugs can be an investment if you want them to be, but they also offer an affordable way to add pizazz to a simple space. Etsy and eBay are loaded with vintage kilims for less than $200. Try layering a few in complementary color palettes.

4. The Bed

the bed

You spend a third of your life in bed. Or, as a flirtatious mattress salesman once put it, “more, if you have a beautiful partner.”

Don’t skimp!

Buy the best, eco-friendly mattress you can afford.

Organic cotton sheets are now available even from big box retailers. Linen sheets are life changing.

Down with down!

While still inexplicably considered the gold standard in bedding, down harbors dust mites, mold and mildew, and is a nightmare for allergy and asthma sufferers.

After five years, 50% of the weight of your beloved, squishy down pillow is thanks to dust mite feces. Are you walking to the trash can yet?

5. Art and Accessories

wall art

There is no excuse for bare walls.

The advent of digital printing has given us immediate access to an array of talented artists at reasonable cost.

Sites like Minted and Society6 are loaded with options,  and pieces can arrive framed and ready to hang. Think of everyday objects as an opportunity for beauty. Replace your towels, both bath and dish.

6. Bonus Tip: Adding a Personal Touch

Speaking of dishes, having a few handmade mugs and a selection of tea on hand is the perfect sign of a pampering partner.

Ceramic Mug Style

Ceramic Style

Don't dismiss the beauty and intrigue of handcrafted dishes. I swear food tastes better eaten from alluring ceramics with a story to tell.

Just make sure you have something other than condiments and beer to serve off of them!


Do you have any tips you swear by, or funny stories about how you transformed your home into a mate magnet?

I would love to hear them. Leave them in the comments below.

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