Single & Decorating: Feminism By Design

Reading Time: 2 minutes

woman happy living alone

Over 50% of North America’s 31 million people living alone are female, and experts say decorating their homes is part of the new feminism.


I absolutely loved this story in the Globe & Mail, “For women who live alone, decorating can be a feminist act.”

As part of our evolving times, more and more people are staying single for longer. With population growth off the charts, the cost of living increasing, and the legacy of being the children of 50-percent-divorces, life is changing on the home front.

For the first time ever, women don’t need to worry about being labeled as dysfunctional just because they live alone past the age of 30. Being single and female isn’t something frowned upon as much anymore. Spinsters, old maids — we don’t hear these terms much anymore. We single women may still get asked when we’re going to “find a nice man and settle down,” but it’s a lot less likely — and it’s usually only asked by folks over 55.

A sign of the times

Getting married and having kids is great, if that’s the life you want to live. But it wasn’t long ago that women were expected to have that life, and living the single life into 40s or 50s was only for the men.

Today, it’s estimated over 50% of the approximately 31 million North Americans living alone are women.

Does it change anything?

Historically, women have typically been the “deciders” about home decoration. Men waved it off, women did what they wanted, and that was that. It’s arguable that decor was more feminine before the 1950s as a result.

As times evolved and the “bachelor” became a 20th-century lifestyle, it meant increasing neutrality in decorating palettes. Beiges, greys, and all kinds of muted monotone colors have dominated decor for a few decades now.

With more women living alone, it widens the market and makes a compelling argument for less neutrality, more variety, and more color.

woman reading white sheets

When home expresses self

I’ve had an orange bathroom, a pink bedroom, a red living room, a lime green kitchen, and so many more brazen color schemes in my life. I might be English Cream-and-White now, but once my heart blazed in Technicolor.

Taking ownership of your space is a beautiful experience, but having no apologies for how you do it, that’s a whole nother fun ride.

When women embrace their femininity and celebrate it in, well, maybe cliched Pretty-in-Pink ways, that’s their prerogative, that’s a part of who they are, and we don’t get to judge it.

“This is who I am …”

It’s okay to use wild colors and get tired of them in a year or two. It’s alright to go dramatically pink then decide you’re bored of it in two years. Moving past change is as important as the change itself. But more important is saying “This is who I am, this is what I think is beautiful, this is how my world looks.”

If you’ve never run with your gut instinct and done exactly what you desired with a space, you’re missing an opportunity to know what a “uniquely you” home can feel like.

For women, or even men, living alone, the act of being alone can feel impersonal or isolating, but turning a home into the one place in the world that is 100% all about who you are, what you want to be, and what your life is like — that’s a rite of passage everyone needs to experience, no matter what their gender is.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

Steffani Cameron

Steffani Cameron is a Victoria BC-based writer on a variety of topics. Here on the BuildDirect blog, she specializes in writing about smaller, urban spaces. How do you make the most of your smaller space? How do you decorate it to suit you? And how do you wage the war against clutter and win? This is Steff’s specialty.