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Mar 12, 2007


This really hit me hard in the head today. I was going through a design proposal with a client couple this morning when I came to realise how, in any home design, the concern of being ‘too masculine' or 'too feminine' always exists. While he may be thinking grey, she could be thinking pink! Though I don't know how often the opposite happens...

Even as certain experiences might make one realise and truly appreciate the differences in style and design between the sexes, one thing that's for sure is that men and women have radically different tastes and likings - it's the balancing of those differences that makes for a good design scheme. Is this a case of stereotype more than anything else? Just like in fashion, who ever said that pink is a 'feminine' colour, and any self-respecting men had better not be caught wearing it?

Stereotype or not, I have been making my own observations of my clients all this while, and the common notions of what each sex likes are still proven time and time again. The most classic is in the use of floral prints and patterns. Men, in general, shun these and opts for plain or neutral prints of stripes or checks, although I somehow managed to get them to go for florals at times too.

As earlier mentioned, women generally prefer pretty pastels such as pink, lilac, powder blue, butter yellow, peach or purple. I still haven't encountered any women who dislike any of those colours yet. But the pleasant fact is that they can accept cool greys and blacks just as easily too. Try getting the men to paint that room pink or lavender.

As well, men tends to put function before form, which is not a bad thing until some of them decided to forgo form altogether in the name of function! Is this another case of women having a better sense of (or placing more emphasis on) aesthetics than men?

While I don't mean for the above to be taken as strong design statements, they are true to a certain extent, at least here in Singapore. I've seen too many examples. And until the day comes when more men wear pink, I guess playing by these rules is still considered a much safer bet, isn't it?


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7 comments: on "BATTLE OF THE SEXES"

anna said...

Very interesting viewpoints. But I noticed that many men are starting to wear pinks and reds nowadays, and they are straight.

I think it also depends on whether that person, be it male or female, is design savvy enough to know what looks good, and not stick to conventions right?

But yes, I don't think men can take to flowers that well really.

Anna said...

Hi Stan, I tend to agree with some of your points of view here. Sometimes it can be quite uncomfortable when you have a husband and wife standing before you almost have a major drama over a pink bed head or a blue one. I find it quite difficult to deal with a husband and wife team appointment and I much prefer it when the wife comes in first and then takes the scheme home for the husband. If my husbands and wives do have disagreements I often suggest that they pick something that they each really want and then try to come to some sort of agreement. But yes it can be quite hard to deal with at times I think! Great post BTW - I love that you have brought these things up and I know exactly where you are coming from!!

KNQ Associates said...

Anna, do you call that the 'ultimate woe of all interior designers'?:-)

Anna said...

I'm not sure that I can vouch for all the other interior designers in the world but I can vouch for the fact that I really find it very unconfortable when they start to disagree!! But we can't always have it our way can we!! Life wasn't meant to be easy!

Thanks again for a wonderful post!


Anonymous said...

This is such a funny story.

xyz said...

Nice article. Keep it up!!

Anonymous said...

Stan, I'm an interior designer myself. I see us facing the same problem. There are numerous occasions when the couples have huge arguments right in front of me. Poor me, what can I do then??? Stop them??? Ha... better not, lest I get myself into a fix too.

But yes, the more people you deal with in a project, the more problematic it gets. Now imagine if each of the family members have clashing ideas......