Secrets Your Apartment Reveals About You

We all know that feeling of elation when the girl you’ve had your eye on for months finally agrees to go out with you. Maybe you start out slowly with a trip to the local Cineplex, and then you kick things up a notch by taking her out for cocktails and a romantic dinner. Before you know it, things are going so well that she’s asking when she can come over to check out your place.

Judgment Day
“Women are very snoopy,” says Tineke Triggs, owner of Artistic Designs for Living, a San Francisco–based interior design company. “We take note of the books on your shelf, the movies you watch and anything else that will tell us something about you.”

As a woman, Triggs admits to being a bit of a clean freak. “If a guy’s place isn’t clean, I just wouldn’t date him,” she confesses. “His place doesn’t have to be perfect, but above all, it has to be clean.” As a designer, the first thing Triggs looks for in someone’s home is how the space feels emotionally. “If the place looks staged and doesn’t have any personal attachment, it’s tough to get a sense of the owner,” she says. “And that usually means they don’t have much to talk about.” According to Triggs, your apartment should be a showcase for your identity. A woman will not only look for clues about your tastes in color and furniture, but also for items that tell her about your life. Adds Triggs: “If I walk into a space and see lots of eclectic things -- souvenirs from Africa or Europe, for instance -- I can usually get a clear idea of the stories a man can tell.”

Major Turn-offs
Your apartment is ground zero in the relationship game. So if you’re going to get your space working for you, you’ll need to start by fixing anything that’s going to turn your date’s smile into a frown or cause her to shriek with displeasure and bolt for the door. “Really big turn-offs for women include things like cheesy black Italian leather couches and having a pool table instead of a dining table,” says Triggs. She also suggests staying away from big arcade games, putting up posters or painting your walls in pastel colors.

Try putting yourself in the shoes of someone coming into your home for the first time. Triggs feels that if your apartment is filled with your parent’s old furniture, a woman might assume you’re a mama’s boy. Or if the place is dominated by a gigantic TV set, she might conclude you’re obsessed with sports and not really focused on anything else. “When you invite a woman into your house, more than anything, she’s going to sense if you care about where you live,” says Triggs.

Passing Inspection
So how do you send the right message to the girl you want to impress? Highlight what’s important to you and showcase your personality. “If I were working with a rugged outdoorsy guy, for example, I’d start by picking colors and materials in natural tones,” she says. “I’d select furniture and accessories that compliment his lifestyle and the way he presents himself.”

But if you don’t have the budget for full apartment makeover, Triggs has some tips that will still go a long way toward earning a female stamp of approval:

  • Get rid of all your clutter.
  • Arrange your furniture so that it’s inviting and shows that you’ve thought the design process through.
  • Step up and buy some art. It doesn’t have to be original or expensive; prints and photographs are fine as long as they are framed nicely.
  • Invest in some nice dishes and glassware. “If you’re going to be entertaining a woman, you’ll score a lot more points if you serve her wine in a beautiful wine glass rather than a clunky beer mug,” says Triggs.
  • Get a second opinion. Whether it’s a close friend or a professional, it’s important to have someone working with you when you’re designing your space, advises Triggs. They’ll help give you some perspective.


Photo by Med Badr Chemmaoui on Unsplash

Class up Your Image With Investments in Art

Even if your biggest foray into this mysterious world of the rich and famous has been lining your studio apartment with “Dogs Playing Poker,” fear not: Once you grasp the basics, you can upgrade your artistic sensibilities -- without breaking the bank.

“Novice collectors should start by visiting museums, reputable auction houses and art galleries and simply getting a feel for what you like,” says Elaine Erickson, a veteran art dealer and the owner of the Elaine Erickson Gallery in Milwaukee, Wis. “You may have heard of names like Andy Warhol, for instance. Do some research on his background, become familiar with his style, and find out what his work was all about and what it’s selling for today.” To further develop your art appreciation, check out sites such as Cow Art and More (seriously).

Afford Originals
You don’t need to be Bill Gates to buy original artwork. According to Erickson, one of the more reasonably priced items to collect are original prints -- lithographs, etchings, etc. -- created by an artist’s own hand in limited editions. “I think that if people are going to buy artwork, it’s imperative that they buy original. But there are an awful lot of fakes out there, and you want to avoid things like giclees (i.e., expensive reproductions of artwork made on professional ink-jet printers). It’s important to do your homework about what it is that you’re buying, what it’s really worth and who it is you’re doing business with.”

Determine Value
The true value of any piece of art isn’t necessarily reflected in its price. Erickson warns that if you go into a gallery and find an expensive painting or a sculpture that you just can’t live without, make certain you research it before you write any checks.

“Investigate both the artist and the gallery selling the work,” she says. “If the gallery carries the artist’s work exclusively, ask the owner what their work has sold for in the past. There is also plenty of information available in books and on the Internet that list artists, their work and what it has sold for at auction.” Appraisal sites, like, can be your best buddy when you want to make sure you’re not ponying up too much payola for your purchase.

Collect the Art You like
Unless you plan on stacking your new piece in a storage locker, you’d better be able to stare at it for years to come. So even though you might be collecting pieces of artwork in the hope they’ll increase in value, you never know when that time will come. So invest in something you can enjoy. “People should always buy art that they like”, says Erickson. “They should never let someone else tell them what to buy. They have to live with it, they have to pay for it and they have to hang it in their homes.”

Cashing In
If you are buying artwork as an investment, stay abreast of the market by closely following the careers and progress of the artists you’re interested in and whose work you’ve purchased. “You should have your artwork appraised periodically for insurance purposes,” concludes Erickson. “The appraiser will give you an accurate idea of the market value; if and when you’re ready to sell, a good auction house will probably get you the best price.” Sites like are a good resource for identifying and contacting accredited appraisers to give you a professional assessment.