All you really need is to know what you like and then follow a few simple guidelines to avoid the most basic pitfalls of popular bachelor pad décor.

Bachelor pads traditionally fall into two camps: the grimy pits and the clinically cold modernist temples. There’s loads of advice out there, mostly focused on getting the latter and avoiding the former – but what if you want to tread the fine line between? A bit of clutter never hurt anyone – plus it’s no fun having sleek, of-the-minute décor if you’re always stubbing your toes on sharp metal corners and your 15 ft bronze phallic sculpture’s doubled your contents insurance. All you really need is to know what you like and then follow a few simple guidelines to avoid the most basic pitfalls of popular bachelor pad décor. Look at magazines and design websites, get inspiration and go from there. Here are a few don’ts to keep you on track:

1. Don’t overload on earth tones

Browns, deep greens and rich blues: all lovely colours, all a bit dark and oppressive when used in excess. Paler blues, turquoises, reds and brighter greens are clean, fresh and look great with cream and coffee tones. Orange and grey also can be great for a more retro look. Lighten up a bit: you don’t want guests to feel like they’re trapped in a forest.

2. Don’t feel you have to have a Leather Sofa

It’s a staple of the bach’ patch, it’s wipe-clean, durable and über-manly: nothing says ‘successful masculine provider’ than a bit of dead animal. But there are numerous negatives: it’s really sweaty in the summer, it makes awkward squeaky noises and too much leather can seem aggressive, especially in black. Look for vintage brown leathers or dark fabrics rather than shiny modern plastic-y stuff.

Basically, before buying anything, think ‘What would Alice Cooper do?’ and then do the opposite.

3. Don’t go Space Age

Metallic details and glass table tops are easy-to-clean and futuristic looking – but too many harsh lines and silvery colours can make your space seem unwelcoming. You might favour a spick and span look but at least throw some colours, patterns and tactile fabrics into the mix.

4. Don’t have pictures of cars you don’t own / vintage aeroplanes

Sports cars and aeroplanes are streamlined, well put-together, attractive and powerful – that’s presumably the image of yourself you want to portray. But displaying pictures of them on your walls just makes you look a bit childish, very materialistic and may lead to unfavourable comparisons the dinky but serviceable little banger on your driveway.

There are plenty of funky, colourful prints that’ll work in any space. Modern, cheeky or abstract – shop around a bit and it won’t take long to find something you’ll treasure, rather than something that just fills an empty space on your wall.

5. Don’t try and Disguise Smells

If your house smells, find out why and stop it smelling. Maybe it’s damp, maybe something’s rotting behind the fridge. Don’t buy flowery sprays in the hope that the problem will solve itself. And swerve potpourri: it won’t make women feel at home, it’ll make them feel like they’re at their grandma’s home.