Building a bachelor bedroom

by GK on March 17, 2009 · 1 comment


So this is where it all happens, eh, Optimus?

So this is where it all happens, eh, Optimus?

I recently hit the mother lode: moving back to one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world, San Francisco. From my 1920s-era Russian Hill apartment, I need only step outside to enjoy million-dollar views of the Bay. Cable cars chime as they pass just 20 feet outside my window. And that crooked street everyone comes to see? It’s two blocks from me. I won’t even mention the smorgasbord of attractive women walking to and fro (actually, I will).

But before you curse me for bragging, when I first moved in there was a small problem. My room is, well, small. I share my modest-sized pad with a fellow bachelor, and I had to fit most of my belongings into a 12-by-15 space. So my bedroom also had to serve as office, entertainment center and Transformers showroom – with just one power outlet on one wall. Meanwhile, I needed a bunch of new furnishings, as my old stuff was looking as dated as Hammer pants.

But in just a few weeks, my dream boudoir came to fruition, and without much effort or expense. I thought I’d pass on what I’ve learned to you bachelors looking to upgrade the sexiness of your place from McLovin to a budget-conscious James Bond.  Here’s how my room came together:

The look: In some ways, I got lucky. My apartment has hardwood floors throughout – I recommend them over carpet any day — and my room has tall windows that look out onto the street.  I just have to close the drapes at times to prevent the cable car passengers from getting a free peep show.

In fact, I had no drapes when I first moved in. But my roommate provided some cheap ones, and I liked how they matched the green paint on the walls, so I’ve kept them. I bought some $10 rods from Ikea to hang the drapes, and they’ve worked swimmingly. This is a matter of personal taste, but I prefer drapes over blinds. I find the former look hipper and need a lot less cleaning.

Tip: One way to sexy up your bedroom is to paint at least one of your walls a color that fits your style. I like what I have, but I’ve always been partial to red – it’s bold, and it always reminds me of Scarface’s pad, without the gunfire.


The lighting: You may have heard the saying that, in matters of sex, women are like light knobs, not light switches. I think they’re more like people, but I do incorporate that maxim into my room. Dim lights are way sexier. Again, I got lucky, because my apartment has track lighting, with adjustable brightness. This not only makes it more woman friendly and makes me feel like I live in an art gallery, but it also saves me the space and power outlet I’d otherwise need for a lamp.

Tip: If you haven’t invested in candles, I highly suggest you do so. Just a couple of those with the rest of the lights down can create some bedroom-eyes atmosphere.

The furniture: As small as my room is, it still looked sparse when I moved in. I brought so little furniture with me, I could almost have fit it in a Costco cart, not a U-Haul truck. I had these needs for my bedroom: a desk, a chair and a nightstand, and none of them could take up much space.

I was going for a modern look, so I went to a couple of my favorite catalogs: Ikea and CB2. The latter, in case you haven’t heard of it, is a hipper division of Crate and Barrel.

Here’s what I scored: a frosted-glass desk and a white swivel chair from CB2 that were reasonably priced and exactly my style, and at a 15 percent discount because of a holiday promotion. From Ikea, I snagged a black, two-drawer nightstand for just $50. I now had myself a room, with some assembly required.

Tip: If you’re less into modern style and more into vintage, there’s bound to be an antique store near you. You can find furniture there that no one else has, and you can tell your date some fun story about how you found it. And if you want to go super-budget, I have one word for you: Craigslist.


The TV: Any kind of entertainment unit would have seriously clogged up my room, so I opted to mount my new TV on the wall, with a little help from my handyman friends. Knowing this in advance, I bought a TV with a built-in DVD player to save yet more space.  Somehow, “The Godfather” looks even artier to me when it’s hanging in mid-air. I don’t have cable anymore, which has the double benefit of improving my productivity and the aesthetics of my wall.

Tip: If you think high-definition TVs like mine are out of your price range, you may want to look again. Prices have been free-falling since holiday season.


The closet: This might have been my biggest challenge. I’m a notorious clothes horse, and I had to downsize from the ample closet space of a house to just two lousy racks at my new place. I didn’t want to invest in a dresser drawer, also because of space. What was a dandy to do?


Here’s where I learned a lot about conserving space. I bought a couple of canvas closet organizers from Bed Bath & Beyond, and I’ve used those for storing my sweaters, shirts and ties. I had just enough room for everything else, and although that meant giving some of my less-worn clothes to charity, I enjoyed the minimalism of it. As for towels, gym clothes and out-of-season clothes, I store them under the bed using some containers I also bought from BB&B.

Tip: If you have lots of hats and scarves to hang, as I do, you can save space and money with a couple of easily installable hooks like mine, rather than buying a rack.

 The bed: My queen-size mattress moved in with me, and my limited space has given it some new versatility. I have no room for a couch, so it’s also where I watch my TV.

I know what you’re thinking: “GK, you dog you! Sneaking your dates onto your bed to ‘watch TV.’ ” And hey, I won’t deny the benefits of that layout. But I also have a small living room if she’s too shy for that kind of sit-down.

Tip: From the research I’ve done, all those fancy-schmancy mattresses that promise better sleep are overpriced and overrated. I suggest instead investing in quality bedding. I have a cousin whose girlfriend wouldn’t spend the night with him until he bought new sheets. You can find a reasonably priced “bed in a bag” set that will include everything you need.

The sound: I can barely put on my shoes without listening to some new indie track I just downloaded, so music is vital to my room, and to creating some atmosphere when I have company. But there’s no way I can fit in a stereo, and those are so 1997 anyway. So I just let my laptop double as a music player, and although I may eventually splurge on some small speakers, it’s working fine so far.

Tip: If your mp3 collection is low, you can put together a YouTube play list. A free service called SonicSwap will even let you play other users’ iTunes libraries through YouTube. Oh, that Internet.

The details: If I had to give my room a theme, it would be “nerd chic.” And really, if I had to describe myself, it would be much the same way. So I’d say my walls give an honest portrayal of my interests — from my movie posters, to my vintage magazine sports cover, to my calendar that includes pictures of all my travels. One good stylish piece of art, and I’d say I’m set.

And then, of course, is the glass case containing my pride and joy. There are some who would argue I have no business writing about sexy bedrooms when I boast a collection of 1980s robot toys, but there are some women who think Transformers are the cat’s pajamas, or at least think they’re cute in a geeky way, and those are the ones who catch my fancy.

Tip: Even more important than having cool furniture or art, think about conversation pieces in your room that tell a story about you. If you’re an amateur golf champion, keep your clubs on display. If you’re into photography, frame some of your best shots. Display at least one picture of your best friends or family. I’m not trying to impress a woman with my room so much as I am revealing a piece of myself. And self-revelation is sexy.

{ 1 comment }

1 Mskirko March 18, 2009 at 10:00 am

Interesting… Nerd chic, eh? Totally describes you, I’d say! Down to earth, but conscientious with excellent style.

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