The rise of the 'Menterior' designer

  • 45 per cent of interior designers say male clients have taken more interest in interior design projects commissioned over the past 12 months
  • 70 per cent have seen couples clash over the design of their homes
  • 34 per cent have had to mediate between warring couples
  • Tastes vary significantly between men and women - interior designers advise allocating rooms to each partner to avoid clashes

New research commissioned by Direct Line home insurance reveals a new trend for ‘menterior designers,’ with men taking a leading role in the design of their homes. Nearly half (45 per cent) of interior designers reported an increase in the number of male clients taking an active interest in the design of their homes over the past 12 months.

A fifth (19 per cent) of interior designers say men now want to be involved in the entire design project, rather than just specific furniture installations. They are also more concerned about current design trends than ever before and doing more research into home interior fashions. Some believe it is because gender boundaries have become less defined, so men are free to be more design aware without the stigma traditionally associated with it.

Agreeing on how to design their home can be a challenge for couples, as their tastes vary significantly, as stated by 72 per cent of designers. According to the designers, men have simpler tastes and want decisions made quickly whereas women pay more attention to detail and like to have a greater variety of possible colour and pattern options.

Difference in taste often comes down to cost, as one in 10 (11 per cent) interior designers say that men want to keep control of budgets and choose less expensive items, whereas women are more concerned about quality and style of fabrics. When designing rooms, men are reported as wanting to focus on the technological aspects whereas women prefer concentrating on colour and pattern of the décor.

Words used by interior designers when describing the taste of men include; stark, Germanic, dark, neutral and plain. When describing female taste in design, words like warm, soft, flamboyant and floral came to mind.

Mila Podiablonska, Absolute Interior Décor, commented: "I have seen a huge increase in men designing their homes in recent years, to the point that they now make up about 90 per cent of my client base. I find male clients to be very decisive and they tend to have fewer preconceived notions than my female clients, so are open to new ideas.

"Differing décor and design tastes among my clients is definitely an issue. Homeowners should be aware that projects which could be done in a short time frame and on budget can be significantly delayed and over budget when they change their minds or can’t agree on a design. Interior designers are there to create designs suited to our clients’ lifestyles as well as budgets but it’s definitely worth prospective clients coming to us with an idea of what they’re looking for."

Nearly three quarters (70 per cent) of interior designers have seen clashes between couples over the design of their home. Designers vary as to how they deal with such clashes, with a third (34 per cent) stating that they step in and mediate when such clashes occur. Nearly a fifth (23 per cent) choose to stay out of any incidents, preferring to let clients sort their disagreements out themselves.

Some designers have seen a few unfortunate incidents between couples when they cannot agree on their plans. One reported “marriages have been broken over storage space” and another said they deal with arguments by suggesting the man "goes to the pub".

Top tips from interior designers for couples to avoid clashing over taste include:

  • Agree a plan before employing a designer and decide which rooms are to be re-designed
  • Set aside a strict budget and agree beforehand whether this is flexible
  • Settle on a few ideas of general design concepts and colour schemes beforehand
  • If couples cannot agree, split the rooms so each partner can have free rein in the most important places for them
  • If they cannot agree on a design, ask the interior designer to sketch out how it would look before making any firm decisions

Katie Lomas, head of Direct Line Home Insurance, commented: “While the research brings up gender generalities, designing a home is a uniquely personal decision. Interior design is an important part of defining the way we live in and engage with our homes. It can be a disruptive process as many designers have witnessed, which is why planning is as important as execution in ensuring each partner is happy with the finished article.

"Homeowners should take note of the advice provided by interior designers, as spending time agreeing on a few ideas beforehand may help limit the possibility of clashes further down the line. Having good home insurance is extremely important, especially when making fundamental changes to the structure of a home, as these changes can impact the property value and in turn, the insurance policy. Those planning architectural design works for example, should be sure to inform their insurance provider beforehand, as elevated cover may be required for the duration of the work."

Notes to editors:

1Research carried out amongst 100 UK interior designers between 28th September – 8th October 2015

For further information, please contact:

Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0345 300 7838 or visiting www.directline.com.

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