08/28/2013 01:32 pm ET Updated Oct 28, 2013

Gentlemen, Your Place Blows: 5 Ways to De-Uglify Your Pad

C'mon, man, you are a grown adult. You've got a dang college edumication. And even though that Art and Social Policy degree hasn't led you right into the six-figure income that you had planned, you can still have a haunt that isn't as embarrassing as the '92 Volvo you've been driving since you won it in that card game. It's time to have your home base make the big leap from college dorm chic into something a little less, um, college dorm sheikh. Now take a deep breath, kid. I'm here to help.

First of all, you've got to get past the notion that interior design is for chicks. Which brings us to:


Stop being a wingy little ponce.

There is nothing more butch than making your domicile awesome. Nothing. Think of it this way; you have to carve a hole into the side of a mountain with a stone axe so you can raise your bloodthirsty brood and take care of your supermodel wife. You have to cleave out a hearth over which you can cook and feed the family all while protecting it from sabre tooth tigers and hipsters in ironic glasses. I'm only being a little sarcastic here. Forcing your will upon the space in which you plan on living is the ultimate in masculine expression. This is YOUR place, YOUR castle; your house is a direct and visceral translation of your own feelings on what constitutes protectiveness and safety, the two most attractive masculine features that Cosmo has ever put on its website. Hike up your chainmail trousers, put on some Whitesnake and let's get started with :


Out with the old, in with the epic.

You think Superman has a poster of Christina Hendricks up in the Fortress of Solitude? No. No he does not. Posters, even in expensive frames, do not belong up on the wall of your place unless they are from Academy Award winning films that you either starred in or paid for. Likewise, you really don't need to keep that Plexiglas pyramid you won for winning the three-legged race in sleepaway camp. Get rid of all that STUFF. Your house is full of it. If you need to rent a storage space, you have too much stuff, period. Throw it away. Donate it. Whatever. You know what designers call a room that has NO STUFF IN IT? We call it "good design." An end table can have a lamp, a clock, and coasters (as long as they don't have Ninja Turtles on them.) and that's about it. Maybe a book. They should NOT have a pile of magazines, no bowls of keys and batteries, no TV remotes, no cell phone chargers, no Xbox controllers or game CD cases. You may have a small, framed picture on a stand, but ONLY if it is a picture of 1) your family or 2) your dog. It may NOT be a picture of you doing that totally radical Darkside Grind you threw on your buddies skateboard that one time. You had to go to the E.R. Not cool, not good design. A coffee table can have a cool picture book or two. Boom. Done. Everything else goes in drawers or to Goodwill. And while we're throwing stuff away:


Get rid of that black leather bachelor sofa.

You need to start somewhere. Start with a cool sofa with a masculine patterned fabric. Shiny black leather sofas went out twenty years ago. Get a cool herringbone or a flannel. A real pimp would get a floral in grays and soft yellow.

A sofa with something going on makes the whole room come alive. But you don't want to simply roll over to the nearest big box retailer and grab whatever's on sale. Think of it like buying a good suit jacket or a tie. You want to get a little help from the salesperson, but you don't want the first thing they show you. A sofa can say more about a man than the car he drives or the job he has. It should never be flashy, but it shouldn't be practical either. It should be clean and bold and have enough interest to show your depth. It should NOT be a hand me down. Good design, like all good art, takes a little work. You gotta commit. Speaking of commitment (and I know you want to...):


Paint the stupid walls.

Look, I'm not saying that YOU have to paint the walls. I hate painting, personally. But nothing screams, "scared of your own shadow" like dirty white walls. If you are too afraid to man up to some sweet chromatics, then you certainly aren't man enough to sport that beard you've been attempting ever since you saw one on Brad Pitt four years ago. DO NOT PICK THE COLOR YOURSELF. You are bad at it. Trust me on this. Go one of two ways; find a design mag that appeals to you and thumb through it until you find a good color and then have it matched, or go buy a paint book and have some ladies that you trust over and let them poke through it until they find one you all agree on. Seriously. (Women see color better than men do; they have more rods and cones in their eyeballs.) Use a matte color-- as matte as they offer. Eggshell, gloss, pearl, whatevs, do not belong on your walls unless it's in the bathroom or kitchen and even then only on moldings. Matte. Super duper matte. The more it looks like chalk, the better. Leave accent walls to the TV makeover shows. Pick one color for the room, and paint the stupid walls. I don't even care, kid, hire someone to do it. Spend the 400 bucks. But those white walls make it look like you can't make a bold choice, and boldness it what we're going for. Speaking of bold:


Use vintage. Not your vintage. Use good vintage.

Some of the coolest, least expensive, and most versatile stuff was made before you were born. Go get it. Look on Craigslist, or at some good vintage places. Buy a long low 50's credenza and stick your TV on it. If you've got the stones, buy some floral still life paintings and hang them in the dining room. If the furniture is older than you, even better. When everything in your house is fresh from the furniture showroom, it lacks depth. Don't get stuck thinking that old stuff is always made better, it often times isn't. But it has history and makes it appear as if you are a worldly and sophisticated cat. Get a couple of giant ceramic lamps that belong in your granny's house and stick 'em on a pair of matching end tables or nightstands. The contrast in styles makes the room feel less superficial. Throw away that paper chandelier you bought because it seemed like a great deal. It wasn't. Replace it with a vintage fixture that is completely out-of-place in your house. It will become a focal jewel.

Oh, oh, are you getting a bonus?! Yes you are:


Hang some drapes you unbelievable dork.

Do you really still have those paper shades up? Are there aluminum blinds on your windows? Seriously? Order some window treatments. Good ones. Pick a bold stripe or a textured solid that works with your walls and have those things made up to order.

Hang them yourself. Sign autographs.