Lifestyle

How to Dress Up Your First Bachelor Pad

There's no need to go all out. Go for clean and minimalist.
ILLUSTRATOR Lando Cusi
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The bachelor pad has always had a particular portrayal in media: a haven for parties, a place to take and impress the ladies, a space that oozes cool and sexy. There will almost always be a bar, a giant TV with surround sound, maybe a billiards or foosball table, and the clichéd lava lamp. And although that portrayal is not entirely inaccurate, it is far too often unrealistic. A bachelor pad should be, in essence, a single man’s very own space. It’s a place where he can be himself, and where he’s in control. Let’s veer away from the stereotypical image of a bachelor pad; instead aiming for a space that exudes style, sophistication, and an overall healthy and responsible lifestyle. Here are several things that space should not be without:

Sofa

Comfort is, of course, the top factor when choosing a sofa. Too firm and you wouldn’t sit in it for very long (unless that's your point); too soft and you kind of sink into it—softer sofas also tend to look sloppy. The materials and color are also some things to consider. Leather is a popular finish for a sofa, but it has a tendency to get sticky when it’s hot. If you’re inclined to choose a fabric finish, make sure to look out for the thread count. A nice neutral color like gray is versatile and works with any color palette you might have in mind. Lastly, size and shape of the sofa also matter. Preferably get a modern, L-shaped sofa with a chaise, if your space can accommodate it. It seats more people, and it allows for a wider variety positions when lazing around. If that’s not possible, a three-seater would be the best choice. It’s the right size that it can double as a bed to crash in when you’re having someone over, or during emergencies when you’ve had one too many drinks at the bar and can’t quite walk back to your bed.

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A good workstation

Every space in your pad should have its definite and specific purpose. You sleep in your bed, not on your couch; and you should also have your dinner on the dining table, not on your living room coffee table, in front of the TV. The only acceptable reason to not follow this is if you have insufficient space, and need your areas to be multi-functional. On this note, you should allot yourself a dedicated working area. There will undoubtedly come a time where you will have to do some work at home. Hunching over your work on your coffee table is just bad for your back, and the comfort of a couch isn’t ideal when you’re trying to be productive. Doing work on the dining table, although a more acceptable position, gives you the hassle of having to move things in between working and eating; there’s also the risk of getting food stains on your laptop or important papers. Place a desk with storage in one corner, and pair that with a nice, ergonomic chair. Or better yet, try the healthier alternative and go for a standing work desk instead .

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A well-stocked kitchen

Well-stocked, in this case, doesn’t just refer to food, but to supplies and equipment. Being a responsible adult means that you should be able to fix yourself at least one decent, healthy meal. You wouldn’t be able to do that if your pantry and refrigerator had nothing but instant and junk food; nor if you didn’t have the proper tools. Make sure you have a fresh and constant supply of grains, protein, vegetables, and fruits. Don’t forget your basic spices, seasoning, and condiments. For your kitchen tools and utensils, you don’t really need fancy or complicated things; like a food processor or a set of porcelain knives. You can simply stick to the basics: a saucepan, skillet, spatula, turner, whisk, a good kitchen knife and a chopping board; can and bottle opener and a corkscrew. It all depends on your cooking skill and interest, as well as your kitchen’s storage capacity . Equally important are your plates, glasses and silverware. You don’t want people coming over for dinner and seeing mismatched forks and spoons on plates of varying shapes. You don’t want to be drinking wine out of anything that’s not a wine glass, or serving high balls in plastic drinking glasses. Investing in quality dining sets might even inspire you to cook and eat at home more, and that’s a good thing. It’s cheaper than eating out, healthier than fast food and takeout, and gives you extra life skill points.

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Organized closet space

Make sure you have an ample amount of space, with a variety of shelves, drawers, and a rack for hanging so you can properly store your clothes. Proper storage is a big part of care for your clothing, ensuring that they have a longer lifespan. A well-planned closet also allows you to organize your clothes; according to type, color, or whatever method you might subscribe to. An organized closet helps you keep better track of what you own, and cuts down the time it takes for you to get dressed every morning by eliminating the hassle of looking for your favorite shirt or that lucky pair of boxers.

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Wide, full-length mirror

Having a large mirror in your space serves a couple of purposes. The first is that it allows you to see more of yourself. Are you looking sharp in that new outfit? Are your recent trips to the gym showing any positive changes yet? You probably can’t answer these questions using only a wall-hung mirror. The second purpose is that having a wide, full-length mirror gives the illusion that you have more space. It keeps the room from feeling too cramped. Locating the mirror in your living area is recommended; however, you may also choose to have it in your bedroom.

Good lighting

In design, lighting can be classified into three types, namely general lighting, task lighting and accent lighting. General lighting is what you turn on so you can see the space around you, so most of your ceiling lights fall under this classification. Task lighting helps you perform specific tasks better; these are bedside reading lamps, work desk lamps, and your kitchen’s undercabinet lights for your food preparation. Accent lights bring attention to a particular feature in your space, like a painting or an accent wall. Understanding these concepts and knowing when and where to apply them, you can play around with using different lighting fixtures. Sometimes, a well-designed fixture does not only provide lighting, but also makes for a good accessory to a space. The Arco floor lamp is an example, with its marble base, swooping stem and its signature circular reflector, it’s a classic designer piece. Lighting, of course, is not only limited to artificial lighting, because there is still the often neglected daylighting, or natural lighting to consider. Take advantage of your windows and try not to block them from bringing sunlight into your interiors. Although, daylighting has a tendency to be glaring at times, you can address issues like this by using a combination of sheer and blackout curtains or roller shades.

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Art

If you’re going to have a bachelor pad, then you have to go and buy some art for your place. It may come off as being snobbish, but there’s a certain sophistication about owning art, and having it in your space. An artwork is a great accent piece, and also makes for a great conversation starter when you’re having people over. Your art piece might be a sculpture that you place on an end table or a shelf, or maybe you hang a painting or a photograph; anything that suits your taste and interests. Get something original. It doesn’t have to be expensive, or made by someone famous; but it has to appeal to you. It’s also better to buy from local artists; we have no short supply of talent, and it’s good to support the local art scene. There are a lot of exhibits, and art fairs, both in and out of Metro Manila; going to one is undoubtedly a good experience. Also, when you do get your art, make sure to display it effectively.

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Personal display

This might be the most important item on this list. Pick a hobby or a passion of yours, and find a way to showcase it in your space. Perhaps you’re into outdoor sports; you can choose to mount your mountain bike or your surfboard on a wall. Perhaps you’re a musician, or you’re really into music; you might want a corner where you have your drumset, or your guitar and amp; or maybe have a shelf for your vinyl collection. If you’re more on the geeky side, display your comic books; maybe put your plastic models in glass cases; or maybe you have a Darth Vader costume, complete with lightsaber, that you want as the central feature of your living room. If you’re a gamer, go ahead and flaunt your consoles and your collection of games. Consult your interior designer or architect for creative and effective ways to display your things. Having such a display ensures that this in indeed your place, and not just another well-curated model unit or an Airbnb; and it sets your bachelor pad apart from all others, making it uniquely yours.

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Lando Cusi
Architect based in Japan
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