Wondering what your home tells others about you? The moment someone enters your house, everything--the walls, the furnishings, the layout, the books, the towels, the spice rack--all start to speak. We can't help it: our homes are ultimately seen as reflections of who we are.
So what is your bedroom saying to others? If you're single (or even if you're not), this is no small matter. You can try to look at it objectively or even ask trusted friends or family for an opinion. But those sources are more than a little biased. The things a newcomer notices when walking into a room can be quite different than what friends and family see. And of course your friends or family probably won't mind if there are clothes on the floor or if there is cat hair everywhere, because they know they don't have to live with you!
But having potential mates over is a different story. Your dates don't know you for the wonderful Jane you are yet. They are just trying to figure you out and believe us, they're looking for clues as to how you live. They are assessing your surroundings and judging your habits as they try to see whether you a person they would want to be with - and speaks more clearly than your bedroom.
Despite gender stereotypes, guys do care what your home looks like. Make no mistake: they are sizing you up and taking mental notes as they walk through your home for the first time. But as we mentioned, the biggest give away into your character is your bedroom.
Yes, it's true. What your bedroom looks like can mean the difference between another date and a phone that stops ringing. Plain and simple, most guys look at your bedroom as a sort of Holy Grail of information. Not just on what it says about you, but whether or not they can picture themselves as a part of it.
So, want to know what guys are thinking? What they hate about your bedroom? What makes them flee? What makes them stay? Well, we interviewed a number of them and they dished. So, read on!
Guys Hate? Too Much Frill
We know the story: beautiful things make you feel beautiful. And what some women consider beautiful are often floral patterns, ruffled pillowcases and lace window treatments. Put all three of these together in one room and you have a date repellent. OK, maybe it sounds a bit extreme, but many men would agree.
"If there's frilly stuff everywhere, I feel like I'm staying in my Aunt's guest room," says Bret, a 28-year-old writer. "Not exactly a turn on."
Other offenders? Color.
"I can't stand when I go into a girl's bedroom and everything is pink," he continued. "A little pink is okay, but not the whole thing. I don't want to feel like I'm sleeping inside a Pepto Bismol bottle."
The Verdict: If you suspect you may have overdone it in the "feminine" department, you may want to cut it back. Because floral patterns tend to be bold and busy, a little goes a long way. The same goes for pink: too much of one color ruins the effect. Use these "girly" touches as accents, not as the room's main theme.
Guys Hate? A Shrine to Your Stuffed Animals
Collecting can be a great hobby, but when more than five stuffed animals are living on your bed, it's a zoo. There may be attachment to that first teddy bear or doll, but anything else has to go into storage if you expect to keep your dance card filled. Having toys all over the place (and no children to play with them) sends the wrong message to guys.
"No one wants to date a woman who still lives like a little girl," says Peter, 40. "I once dated a woman who actually introduced me to her stuffed animals, one by one. It was pretty clear at that moment that my night would include a solo drive home."
The Verdict: If collecting stuffed animals is truly your thing, don't keep the collection in the bedroom. Try to allocate another space that isn't so intrusive. And if you must keep Boo-Boo Bear on the bed, know that you are taking a gamble. Sometimes even one stuffed animal is a major red flag to some of the guys we talked to.
Oh, and one more note on the subject of stuffed things: plenty of guys also hate a bed covered with pillows.
"What's with the dozens of throw pillows on the bed? It's just more clutter than you need," one divorced dad told us.
Guys Hate? Your Animals Taking Priority
Ah, our pets. We love them. And everybody else should too, right? Wrong. Fido or Fifi may have been your most trustworthy and loyal companion during the journey through single-dom, but when someone with two legs comes along, it's time to change your thinking.
We don't know the men you are dating, but we can say with certainty that they don't want to sleep with your dog on top of them or in a bed filled with cat hair. According to another male source, he thought twice about the girl he was seeing when he discovered a cat tree in the bedroom.
Now, you might argue that if your potential mate doesn't like animals as much as you do then he's not the right one for you. In some cases you're right - but realize that it may take a little while for your mate to create a relationship with your pet.
The Verdict: Sometimes it's almost impossible to keep animals out of the bedroom without a major hassle. You also may be able to train Fido to sleep next to the bed, that is, if he can learn new tricks!
The best way to tackle this one is to talk to your date about how he feels about having your pet in the room with you. The key is not to assume that he is okay with it, even though he probably is. And don't make ultimatums: as the human he deserves a spot on the bed!
Also, be conscious of your pet's mess. Change the sheets and vacuum often. Animal odors may not be noticeable because you are used to them, but to the pet-less, they can be very strong.
Guys Hate? Filth
Yes, you read that right. Hey, not all guys are slobs! A disaster of a bedroom could spell disaster for your dating life. Some of us are definitely cleaner than others, but if you gross yourself out then you have a major problem. Sure, we know that as life gets busy we tend not to clean, but when you can't remember what color your carpet is, you need to take action. One source said that slovenly girls are a "major turnoff", so even if you look hot, your room may give you away as someone who doesn't care too much about appearances.
Peter: "You'd think because she was a model that she would be somewhat neat. This woman's place wasn't just dirty, it was trashed. She didn't seem to care or even notice, which was honestly quite scary."
The Verdict: If you think that there is even a slight chance of one thing leading to another, clean your room! Neat freaks have an unfair advantage in this department, so if you can't train yourself, hire a maid.
Guys Hate? A Lack of Privacy
Many of us continue to have roommates long after graduation. (Living with them is an entirely different article altogether.) The open door policy that you and your roommate have developed should be amended when your guy is over.
"My girlfriend and I were walked in on by her roommate," said Chris, 28. "I was mortified."
The Verdict: Buy a lock for your bedroom door. Or, subtly indicate that it is being used. (As in: put something on the doorknob to convey occupancy like back in college) And on the flip side, respect your roommate, too. Don't use public rooms for private practices (as tempting as it is when you are with someone new.)
Your bedroom says more about you than you may like to admit to. But, to help get the most out of your love life, be sure it says what you want it to say. Keep the frills, filth and stuffed animal shrines to a minimum and make your bedroom an inviting place to stay so that when Mr. Right does come along, your bedroom won't push him away.