Something that I see with a lot of men who are trying to design their office is that they go over the top with a very “corporate” and serious vibe. It’s their way of making sure the office looks both professional and for lack of a better term, “manly.” I’ve come across a lot of offices lately that give off a serious vibe but don’t sacrifice the design style of the overall space. Here are a few ways you can make your office manly without giving it a boring, corporate look.

1. Start with an awesome desk and desk chair

These are the bread and butter of an office space because and the most important pieces of furniture you will buy because it sets the tone for the entire space. If you’re looking for a super-modern look, I actually love this office setup from turnstone (see gallery).It’s modern but not corporate. It’s manly in an understated way, and the neutral tone to the furniture offers freedom to change the space with accessories and paint.

2.  Forget about football memorabilia, trophies and other knick-knacks that belong in a Man Cave–not the Office

There is nothing worse than walking into an office space and feeling like it’s more of a Man Cave than an office. Sure, you don’t want your space to look corporate and boring, but neither do you want to accidentally go the opposite direction. Unless you actually work in that industry, decorating your entire office with sports memorabilia, posters and other things that really belong elsewhere will just come off as cheesy and unprofessional. And that’s anything but manly.

3.  Choose your color scheme. Dark colors are a great place to start

Though neutrals likes greys and whites work great and can pull off a “manly” look, I lean toward dark colors and vintage pieces. When I think “manly”, I don’t think football memorabilia — I think of a tavern-like office space.  It all depends on the design style you’re going for and, of course, how you want to feel in your space. But if you DO go dark, go for a Mid- Century Modern look or Vintage Modern. Stay away from dark pieces from an office chain store catalog, as those desks and chairs often look like they haven’t had an update since the 80’s.

4. Use T.V. shows to get inspired

This may sound odd but have you ever watched a show and thought WOW I’d love to work there? Think of Mad Men and how you could envision yourself pitching ad sales at Don Draper’s desk. Roger’s super-swanky office isn’t my style, but it could definitely be yours. Or maybe you prefer something with more character and history, like a Downton Abbeyinspired office space? T.V. shows and movies always have amazing designs put together so it’s a great place to start if you don’t care for design magazines. (HINT: Obviously, don’t watch a watch a movie from the 80’s set in the background of the corporate world and take inspiration from there.)