Furniture Men Hate

In the past few years I have learned a few things, some life lesson, some business skills and the far reaching fact that most husbands of my clients HATE four things: The Saarinen Tulip Table, Armless Chairs (specifically of the Barcelona variety) and Anything Lucite…and their most hated accessory THROW PILLOWS!  I cannot explain to you why this is, just state the fact that it is so.

1) The Tulip Table–  I have NO IDEA of all these three things why the design masterpiece that is the Tulip table is hated by so many men.  It’s not feminine in material or design (in my opinion) but is in fact STONE and METAL! Things men love! Raaaawwwrrrr! I have had THREE client husbands in the past year alone veto this out of design projects! Whhhyyyyy??

2) Armless Chairs– I think when men see a chair they think “how would it feel to watch football in this?” and therefore they think that all slipper or armless chairs are pointless. Even the Barcelona chair, which is again, METAL and LEATHER (Rawwwwrrrr!) does not change their minds about this.  My husband refuses to allow a (faux) Barcelona chair on the premises unless it’s in our bedroom to hold my mound of clothes (he is a neat freak and would NEVER).  The lack of arms almost always means I’ll be getting an email to find new options.

3) Lucite– Oh lucite. One of the most polarizing materials in design.  It in fact caused one of the most explosive arguments of my entire marriage in which I actually stormed out of a restaurant on Andrew. It went a little like this:

Me: I think I’m going to order a lucite console for the entry.

Andrew: What’s lucite?

Me: You know, thick clear plastic.

Andrew. No.

Me: What? Why?

Andrew: Because we don’t live in an episode of Miami Vice, that’s why.

Me: You don’t know what you are talking about, I’M THE DESIGNER!

Andrew: But it’s OUR house and I hate it.

Me: But our house is where I show off my skills! It’s my laboratory! Don’t stifle my creative work!

Andrew: No. It’s hideous.

Me: You’ll like it.

Andrew: No I won’t.

Me: I’m getting it.

Andrew: I will throw it out.

Me: (gets up and storms out- might have something to do with the three Sangria Margaritas I had, because I got to the curb and realized we had valet parked and Andrew had the ticket…..Ruh-Roh).

I think that clearly illustrated the strong opinion men have about lucite.  They also cannot FATHOM paying $400 for a chair made of plastic. Which I will agree is a bit silly. But still, nothing funks up a room (in a good way) better than lucite!

4. Pillows– I nearly forgot this one, but thanks to a reader reminder I can very enthusiastically state that the most hated home accessory of men is the throw pillow.  They do not understand the need for more than 2 on any given large piece of furniture.  Especially on beds. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to explain the need for sleeping pillows, euro shams, regular shams and then accent pillows to men. They get exasperated, as if removing these pillows is simply too exhausting to bear!  They look puzzled and pained when presented with too many pillows.  If they could, I think they would stab pillows to death.

So, any insight into why I’ve had repeated negative feedback on these items from men??


  1. My husband must be enlightened (on this, at least): only number four, throw pillows, is on his hit list. He actually likes the tulip table (and all things that hail from that part of the world), we almost bought a pair of (faux) barcelona chairs, and he has even expressed a LIKE for lucite. But throw pillows? Make him crazy. (though he absolutely USES the ones on our couch and loveseat.)

    Funny post! Love the fight scene. It is familiar.

  2. love this post! and your earlier one on being discouraged about finding a house. Don’t worry – the right one will come along just when you think it’s never going to happen. stick with it.
    and the rut roh made me fall off my chair.


  3. This is one of the best posts. Being both a woman + interior designer – I have to say I am siding with the boys on the pillow thing. I can’t stand if you can’t sit on a sofa and you have to remove tons of pillows to get comfortable. I also do not like more than one accent pillow per person on a bed. Now, the Saarinen table – you improve your chances by never using the word “tulip”, suggesting the black instead of white, and calling it “the very sexy option”. Tying the furniture choices to strong visuals in tv shows or movies they are familiar with definitely helps. (Amy above was right on that one!) ie: “These Bubble Club armchairs are the exact ones the guys on Boston Legal sit in to drink and smoke cigars at the end of every show…” etc. Armless chairs are indeed a tough sell. Maybe a compromise with a super comfy and stylish eames lounge chair. Lucite is a tough one, I convinced my husband with the light transparent feel practicality. Perhaps showing them the prices on Lucite items on 1stDibs will help in them understanding that lucite is not cheap…

  4. Erin, this post made me laugh. I love of all these items. I did in fact have a faux barcelona chair in my bedroom for years. And for years it was the landing point for all clean clothes needing to be folded! Finally I moved it into the office because I couldn’t stand to look at the mound of clothes everyday:)

  5. Erin,
    Your post is hilarious. But also makes me sad. I just bought I Saarinen tulip table for my new condo and at 28, I already have enough trouble dating. I mean seriously, its so hard to find a great guy and now you’re saying my table might be one more set back!! :) Ha, ha! too funny.

    I am a huge fan of your blog and read it daily. I a newbie to the blogging world and having been trying my hand at my own. I’d love you to check it out sometime and hear any thoughts you have!!

    Thanks for sharing such great ideas and wisdom with us everyday!

  6. I decided to test my husband:

    1) Tulip table does not offend him (as long as it wasn’t too expensive)

    2) Armless chairs are fine if they were comfortable.

    3) I didn’t bother with the Lucite because it would take too much explaining.

    4) Pillows – he said that they seem like a waste of $.

    So – for some men it might just be an economical argument rather than aesthetics?

  7. Speaking of pillows..which i am totally addicted to and my husband doesn’t understand why. Where are the pillows in your post from? Would love to know! Thank you for keeping me inspired every day! Love your blog.

  8. I must have a good one, because he’s totally ok with all of those…as long as it’s not 1000 pillows. In fact, he LOVES the Saarinen table as much as I do and we are currently saving to buy one.

  9. I cringe with embarrassment to have to write this… but I dated not-so-long-ago a (successful) patent attorney who had ‘decorated’ his ‘formal’ living room with an enormous projection tv (bigger than me), cheap faux wood bookcases stuffed with vhs tapes, dvds, video games and electronics and smack in the middle of the room (drum roll please!) one of those giant leather ‘gaming’ massage chairs. I think the lone chair may have sat on an area rug (likely a bathmat, actually). Attempting to convince him to buy a normal sofa, area rug and coffee table was, well,… He’s history. :)

  10. my husband hatesssss throw pillows and has accused me of being a hoarder because i love them and purchase them for our sofa, bed, armchairs, etc. it is such a relief to know he’s not the only hater out there.

  11. I did a test on my husband by just showing him the photos (and not mentioning the point of the post) and it turns out I have a keeper! He chose “like it” to the table, console and pillows. He said he loved the chairs. Thing is, though, he just recently complained about the purpose of throw pillows because he always leans up on all of them and pancakes the poor, pretty things.

  12. HA! This is amazing. Yep, my husband can’t stand armless chairs. Probably would not have a clue what the tulip table looks like. He awkwardly puts pillows on the ground at other people’s houses (it’s become a running joke). Not sure what he’d do with lucite…

  13. i dig everything except for the pillows. i think more than anything, men (myself included) gravitate toward utility and masculine materials. the items you mention lack utility and/or masculinity. tulip table = looks fragile and the traditional round ones can only fit a handful of people. armless chairs = lack functionality and the one pictured is white…doesn’t look like it would stand up to any wear and tear much less a case of beer. lucite = again, tends to look a bit fragile.

    to change some minds, i would suggest showing your men the long oval tulip table, maybe with the rosewood top. if you’re set on the barcelona armless, the distressed leather version is awesome. put a case of beer on it. even better. lucite works in small doses, but it needs to have a fair amount of chrome, metal to toughen it up. and as others have pointed out, too many pillows are pointless and are a waste of money.

  14. A great post. Can you do another post on furniture men love?
    Btw Lucite is NOT PLASTIC!!!
    Plastic is a cheap material and it yellows over time but lucite (same as plexiglas, acrylic…) is derived from petrolium which is why it’s so expensive.

  15. The “stabbing” comment about throw pillows cracked me up! I would add that men don’t EVER think that wood should be painted. I have tried to convince my husband to paint the kitchen cabinets and he is vehemently opposed.

  16. I, also, ‘tested’ my husband on these, although I knew the answer to all of them except for the tulip table. He cannot stand armless chairs, lucite, and throw pillows. (He also hates mirrored furniture, which didn’t make your list) He didn’t seem to have an opinion on the tulip table… Hilarious!

  17. Hilarious! So so true. I have a lucite light fixture in our powder room. Love that thing. All sparkly and dangly, pretty reflective light dancing around and lots of compliments (from female friends) but he hates it. Calls it the snot monster. Men! lol But for the most part, if I present an idea or design concept and sneak it into the conversation here and there and show pictures, before I know it, it’s HIS idea and I get my way. ;)

  18. This is not amusing, it is in fact very ignorant. If some dude did an article about items women hate I bet you and your readers would be the first to jump on the “prove them wrong” bandwagon. ::sigh::

    Granted, throw pillows may be an item that a majority of men see as useless (not “hated”), your other three items were decided on because a few of your visionless clients said they don’t like them? Give me a break.

  19. I’m sure my husband would veto everything on your list and I’d like to add two more things he deems “useless and a waste of money”…curtains/drapery and lamps. As in “we already have those plastic mini blinds and overhead recessed lights…why would we need more than that?!”. Ugh! :)

  20. Hilarious, and well spoken! My (future) hubby is right here will I read this, and he was laughing out loud, and definitely agreed with all the points… except throw pillows. He is a pretty big fan, as long as they aren’t too frilly. But, after we finished reading the list, he started looking around the house and saying, what else do I hate?!! Ahhh the life. I’d say he hates my need to paint all things white.

  21. I think the solution for pillow haters is a tall basket like structure that sits in the corner of the bedroom. The person complaining about removing pillows throws them in the basket at bedtime and gets points for what he/she gets in. Think sports, not decor… what do you think?

  22. OMG! I actually laughed out loud! I love it! The fact that they don’t like or understand something just makes me want to have more of it around…I’m evil that way! :P

    Love the article and your blog is terrific.

  23. Interestingly, my husband loves throw pillows more than I do, as long as it is okay for him to actually lay on them/use them as pillows. I like the look of them, but it drives me crazy to sit, or rather attempt to sit, on a couch that is full of them. There has to be a balance between form and function. The purpose of the couch is to sit on, not to be a shelf for your pillow collection. However, there are lots of gorgeous pillows out there, so it can be hard to be selective.

  24. Hahahahaha! My man would love the Tulip table and the Lucite console. But He’d also love to live in a super-Modern Scandinavian influenced house,(or a Frank Lloyd Wright home) and I would freeze to death from it’s lack of cottage warmth… So, I try to compromise but it’s not easy!

  25. My favourite line was what Alexa Hampton says to her husband when he questions her design choices in their home, ‘Honey, have I seen your work published somewhere?”.
    Great post,

  26. Haha… I love this!! and BTW, if that is the worst fight that you guys have ever had, I wish I had your marriage!! hehe! I absolutely ADORE these photos and so BADLY want all of the “what men hate” items!! My husband has just learned to live with what I want, thankfully! :-D

  27. ‘Throw pillows are not just functionless but they actually get in the way — like signs at a museum saying “Don’t sit here.” My house is a home, not a “stage”.

  28. My guys’ (husband and sons) hate throw pillows on the couch and they remove them. The only pillows they truly like are the big floor pillows that they use for watching the tv. They will use a throw pillow once in awhile on the couch but only to nap on and then it better be soft!
    Lucite is a no as are the armless chairs!

  29. I love this post. My husband and I have had the same “discussion” about paint. Our walls in the living,dining,kitchen are red. He loves it and I want to change it. He also does not get throw pillows.

Comments are closed.