Back in my single days, I always found the best way to gauge a potential life partner was to take a peek at their bedroom.
Much like checking out a person’s shoes, this would cut out all the legwork, so to speak, and get straight down to the nitty-gritty of suitability.
For me the initial shock, disappointment or joy in a man’s bedroom decor was always an indication of whether or not a relationship had legs.
Not that I would make a snap decision. After all, they just might have been going through a leopard skin phase, or having a messy week. Maybe they were minding all those stuffed toys for their niece while her house was being renovated.
Or perhaps they were open to change, simply waiting for the right person to come along and create their perfect bedroom.
I would always give things a go, but the bedroom never lies and my initial instinct, based on first impressions, was usually spot-on – and should have been taken far more seriously at the time.
One ex-boyfriend lived in a share house, a big, beautiful inner-city terrace.
He had the largest bedroom, which was equally beautiful with classic cornices and an original fireplace. But it was absolutely crammed full of stuff, none of which was absolutely necessary.
I wouldn’t have minded had he been open to a bit of de-cluttering. When it became clear that he wasn’t, I knew he would never cope with my desire for a minimalist life.
I did persist for while, but there was simply too much baggage – and not just in his bedroom, let me tell you.
Another guy had a dark moody bedroom with black satin sheets and too many shiny surfaces. I never felt comfortable with the decor, nor with the proudly displayed photograph of his ex-girlfriend.
And, as I found out later, I wasn’t so comfortable with his extra-curricular bedroom activities. The minute I saw that sleazy black and gold colour scheme, I should have known that old habits die hard.
One possible candidate had a lovely, light-filled bedroom with some promising furniture pieces, but the space was chaotic and the sheets weren’t exactly clean.
This was a guy with no structure, no order, and “relaxed” personal hygiene standards. A charming art deco dresser gave me hope, but the drawers were filled with enough loose change to wine and dine me for a month, which he never did, not even once.
Another one guy had a sleek minimal bedroom with painted concrete floors, which sparked initial interest. But the absence of any bedroom furniture whatsoever made me nervous.
There was a pull-down bed, which also made me nervous, and was as hard as the painted concrete floors. Overall the bedroom felt cold and rather empty – and so did the relationship.
However, when I saw the bedroom of my now-husband, I was thrilled to see it was clean and thoughtfully furnished with charming retro pieces.
It was part of a studio that he had cleverly sectioned off to create a cosy feeling of warmth and style. Then I saw his newly purchased, chocolate brown leather sofa, and my heart stood still.
I had only just been imagining such a piece for myself – classic, chic and long-lasting.
It would never date and was ideal for kids (should there be any) as spills and mess simply wipe away. Instantly, I knew that this was a guy with foresight and excellent taste.
This was a relationship that just might work. And I was right. The sofa was perfect and so was he – and I still have both.