Black Hills Woman Magazine | For the Love of Your Pets

When Masculine & Feminine Designs Merge
by Hannah Ruhlman

For decades, for a room to be given the description of “feminine” meant that it likely had floral prints on the walls or furniture, pastel colors, and soft and smooth textures throughout the room.

Well, glass ceilings aren’t just breaking in workplaces around the world; they’re breaking in living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms and dining rooms, as well. Woman are taking back the color wheel and the texture spectrum and using what once was considered masculine – woods, metals and tones of gray, blue and browns – in their everyday designs, while still keeping some feminine accents.

This merger of design begs to question what makes a room feminine or masculine, or if we should really be labeling them that way at all.

Debra Fletcher, owner of Revival in Rapid City, doesn’t think so. To designers like her, the current modern and earthy trend isn’t masculine or feminine, but a blend of both that makes it gender neutral.

“In today’s design, the line that once separated masculine and feminine design has been crossed so many times that it has created something completely new,” said Fletcher, whose store is located in downtown Rapid City.

Another change is that people don’t always want pieces that specifically match. Rather, unique items that share a common element are more sought after.

“One big trend is that people aren’t using the same lights throughout the whole house,” said Castina Millard, showroom manager at B.E.S. Lighting in Tuscany Square in Rapid City. “There is a light for each individual room and they all coordinate, but it’s not matchy-matchy.”

This new trend is very different from the prior trends. In the last few decades, women couldn’t get enough of the French and Tuscan style, which has intricate designs and gives attention to the slightest detail. But Fletcher believes women are changing, and thus the design trends are changing with them.

“Women are more independent and successful now then we’ve ever been, and what was once considered masculine design, with its clean lines, ‘no fuss’ and relaxed elements, gives off those feelings of success and independence,” said Fletcher. “I think women are really searching for simplicity in their home.”

The simplicity is not just in the look, but the function as well, as described by Millard.

“I know one thing that I hear women say is that they hate dusting lights that are very ornate,” said Millard. “They want something that is easy to clean.”

Fletcher expects the ‘simple is best’ mentality will even spill over into holiday design. Before, women were consumed with ornate trees with lots of detail, but this year Revival is focusing on birch and items that highlight an item’s natural beauty.

“The holiday trend this year is all about being natural. People want natural pieces and are even using things they find outside, like pine cones and things like that,” said Fletcher. “You’ll see that ‘collections’ people once had to have are becoming less and less prominent. Again, women want simplicity.”

But, even after the holidays, don’t expect this merger of masculine and feminine design to go anywhere anytime soon. On her trip to market last January to see what is upcoming for the 2017 year, Fletcher found Earth elements, clean lines, and pops of color will continue to be embraced next year and likely the next several after that. BHW


Hannah Ruhlman is super glad that ornate trees might be going out of style for the holidays because she could never really accomplish that look.

BES Lighting

Creative Surfaces

Freeds Fine Furnishings

Revival Rapid City


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