A potential compromise is to make at least one room in the house unmistakably masculine -- a guy space.
The classic hangout for men is a den, billiards room, or smoking lounge, often tucked away in the basement or off the main floor's beaten path. But it's not the function or location that matters so much as the look.
Colors and Patterns: Deep, solid, earthy colors -- think brown, navy, burgundy, forest green, or even a certain amount of black -- fill out a room and clearly define its bounds for a feeling of secure and predictable enclosure. Again, choose simple and subtle patterns -- geometrics, stripes, or checks, for example -- if any at all.
Wood: There's a strength, solidity, and masculine character to rich, dark wood. A room can acquire this ambience from paneled wainscoting on the walls, exposed beams on the ceiling, rugged planks on the floor, or thick wood in the arms and legs of furniture. Detailing in the wood should be subtle and geometric, not elaborate and frilly.
Decor: Simple, uncluttered surfaces are the way to go. Keep walls, shelves, and tables generally free of knickknacks, accessories, and purely decorative items. For most men, fussy throw pillows are a useless nuisance. Avoid them.
Think function: A wall is a place to hang a clock, shelves are for storing books, a coffee table is a place to set food, drinks, newspapers, magazines, or feet. Decorate with personal mementos and signs of achievement, such as trophies, diplomas, certificates, photos of travels and ceremonies, and collections.
Furniture: Large, comfortable furniture such as a leather recliner or a long, cushy sofa makes it easy to stretch out, kick your feet up, and even nap. A few muscular pieces of furniture will be more effective than several wimpy ones.
Fireplace: Even if it doesn't burn real logs, a fireplace adds warmth and visual attraction to the room and makes a fine focal point for any guy room.
Electronics: Don't hide the high-tech. Whether it's a flat-panel big-screen TV, DVD player, sound system, or computer -- electronic gadgets should be visible and accessible. Don't bother trying to conceal the TV in an armoire or the computer in a rolltop desk. Let an attractive entertainment center dominate one wall, or devote one corner to stylish office space. And -- perhaps most important of all -- whatever you do, don't hide the remote control!