A classy and eloquent alternative to the ‘man cave’, the gentleman’s study is a quintessentially British phenomenon that any self-respecting bachelor, or businessmen would not be without. Historically, the study was a room reserved as an escape for the hardworking ‘man of the house’. Here, the gent could kick back and relax, away from his children and wife, indulge in a cigar and a glass of scotch, whilst attending to any business-matters.
Fast-forward 70 years, and gender roles have changed significantly. Women are no longer refined to childcare and housework and are now powerful and career-driven in their own right. Thus, the need for husbands to have a private chamber within the marital home went out of fashion, along with the avocado bathroom suite. That being said,still has a certain draw. It’s time to reinvent your spare room, get rid of the tired beach effect desk and fold out bed, and welcome deep colour schemes, and dark woods that ooze masculine elegance.
The traditional aesthetic of a gentleman’s study is dark and moody. The look lends itself perfectly to old Victorian homes with high ceilings and large rooms, however, it can be difficult to translate this style to a newly built home. Small room sizes can restrict design choices, but this shouldn’t phase the aspiring gentleman.
When it comes to flooring, a dark oak, or walnut is preferred. If wood is not possible, it can be substituted for a rich coloured carpet, like navy blue, or chocolate brown. The floor should be finished with a high-pile rug. In the 1950’s a Persian design would make a luxurious addition, but if you want to update the look, choose a geometric pattern in a deep burgundy or blue, with white details, to make a bold contrast.
A dark flooring choice will anchor the room; however, it may enclose the space if it is very small. In this case, a lighter floor may work better. A cool grey offers a modern take on the masculine look, paired with crisp white woodwork, to add light to the area.
In modern homes, plain white celling’s should be kept that way, as they work to illuminate and enlarge the room. If you are lucky enough to own an older home, then the ceiling should not be neglected. Natural beams should be left exposed, and ceiling décor, like rose lighting surrounds, should be embraced.
As for the walls, traditionally they would be covered in natural wood panelling and dark jewel toned wall-papers, with towering floor-to-ceiling bookcases. For a modern take on this design, choose a warm cream, with a contrasting feature wall in a striking navy blue. Most people won’t have vast book collections, so floor-to-ceiling shelving isn’t necessary. Instead, choose an industrial, or ladder style shelf and decorate it with your books, nick-knacks, and some plants. Well-placed greenery can have a holistic effect on a room, whilst adding some much-needed oxygen. If you don’t have a green-thumb, choose a fake plant. Just make sure it doesn’t look fake!
When selecting the furniture to outfit your study, key things to look for are: strength, durability, and comfort. Nothing answers this brief more than the timeless, or club chair, if your short of space. The curved armrests, pegged legs, and structured button back exude masculinity and class. Modern designs come in various fabrics and finishes, but the customary gentleman would choose brown leather.
Proper lighting adds to the characteristic of the room. Overhanging floor lamps, sconces, and table lamps fitted with incandescent bulbs will create an ambient warmth, that is welcoming and comfortable for you and your visitors.
The study will usually double as an office for important business matters, so a desk and chair is essential. The desk is a statement of masculinity, so a solid oak style that is both functional and striking makes a firm design choice. Pair the desk with an equally robust chair. Shun the modern plastic swivel chair, in favour of a more commanding piece. Think metals, solid woods, and durable leathers.
The Finishing Touches
As a gentleman’s retreat, the accessories should be minimal, yet personal. Artwork should be carefully arranged in a linear fashion. Black and white family photography, hung in simplistic black frames creates a cohesive and elegant finish, whilst positioning you as a ‘family man’ – a desirable characteristic in any gent! Sofas should be donned in cashmere throws and cushions in natural fabrics, to create warmth and comfort. The desk area should be decorated with vintage accessories, like a wooden globe and a classic fountain pen.
Last, but certainly not least, is the drinks trolley – something that no gentleman’s study should be without. Essential for entertaining, a modern choice is a rolling drinks-cart with copper hardware, and a marble worktop. The drinks cart should be permanently stocked with an array of liquor to suit all tastes – whiskey, brandy, gin etc. fresh citrus fruits, and ice should also be available on demand to properly entertain your guests and their drink requirements. Coordinate tumblers, shakers, and ice box to match your drinks-trolley, to achieve that polished look that is oh-so-important.
After the décor is complete, recline in your chesterfield, with a glass of scotch, and admire your personalised haven.