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The Gentleman’s Guide To The Study

Although I’ve never heard him say it, I can vividly imagine my grandfather, a gentlemen in the highest esteem, saying to a much younger versions of my father, “If you need me, I’ll be in my study.”

The study was once a place for the gentlemen to retire to. He’d hang his wool coat on the wall and sit down in a deep, worn leather chair. You knocked on the door before you entered your father’s study and you definitely didn’t open the drawers of the desk in your father’s study. Privacy and respect. That was the gentleman’s agreement of the time.

Times have changed though, and the study has slowly disappeared.  Today’s home floor plans have become and ‘open concept. Every child got their own bedroom, and with advances in technology, we saw emergence of computer rooms and home offices. Then, sooner or later, that tiny bastion of space, untouched by wives or kids soon evolved — or devolved — into a despicable man cave. An adult play room.

As the study was the the room for the gentlemen, the man cave was the room for boys. And it’s a damn shame that man caves ever became a thing. They never quite reached their potential.

So us men at of Iron & Oak are here to bring ‘the study’ back with a vengeance.

First off, forget your home office, your Danish modern desk and your ergonomic office chair from Staples. Furthermore, forget your man cave with your kegerator, Xbox, 70″ flatscreen and collection of NFL bobble heads. If we can help it, you’re going to be a goddamn gentlemen, and you’re going to help bring the study back.

All jokes aside, let me clarify that we are taking an extremely bold stance on this matter, but we also acknowledge that the ideals of a study or being a gentlemen are largely inapplicable today.  That said, if your version of listening to smooth jazz and sipping single malt scotch is cracking open a Sam Adams seasonal and playing Call of Duty for a couple hours in your study, then boy, you do your thing.

However, we dictate that in order for your study to be a true study, it must adhere to a certain set of values. A room having values, you ask? Yes, deal with it.


That thing we mentioned earlier about how your children would knock on your door before entering… the same rule still applies. This is your place and your place only. It is not a room for entertaining, and it is not a room that your wife will spray with New Zealand Springs scented Febreze. No.

I’m aware that this may not be possible in everyone’s home, and thats okay. But if you can dedicate even a corner of a room to being your study and do your best to keep others out of it, then you’re well on your way.


This is a loosely used term, but it is the definitive character separating the idea of a study from a man cave. This isn’t a room for a boy. It’s a room for a man. A football shaped mini- fridge is not okay anymore. However, a mini-fridge meticulously concealed inside a worn mahogany drawer? Approved.


Again, this is a place for gentlemen. It’s a manly retreat in your own home, if you will, so everything should be innately masculine. This tends to go hand in hand with sophistication, so use the following list as a guide and apply it to both.

– Choose natural or stained wood furniture.
– Generally speaking, choose leather over fabric.
– Use masculine color schemes: Naturals, browns, dark greens, dark reds, dark blues, etc.
– Frame old black and white photos of your grandfather or other inspiring men in your life.
– Make the room smell manly by employing these simple tips
– Use lower wattage, soft light bulbs to give the room a dimmed, old timey feel


One of the biggest things is to make it a space dedicated to things that you love. Even if you do love football and bobbleheads, there are tasteful ways to do anything.

The main thing to consider is that the space should be inspirational to you. It should display things that you cherish and care deeply for. Things that you want on display but don’t want the kids to knock over. Things that, if you’re sitting in there alone, you can look around and feel something inside you.

If you’re into comics, display your most prized comics in frames and hang them in a grouping. If you’re a movie buff, try to get unique or old prints or movie memorabilia that you can display around the room. Place things on floating shelves, hung things to the wall, placed them your desk or bookshelf, wherever. A study will not be a study until it is personalized to your exact sophisticated specifications.


Lastly, and most importantly, is comfort. At the end of the day, if you’re not comfortable in your space, then it will never truly be yours. You can devote all your time to creating a sophisticated and manly room, but if its not a place that you can really relax in, then you’ve wasted your time.

I encourage you to splurge on the extra comfortable chair. But most of all I encourage you to create the space that you want. I can only suggest ideas and show pictures that can inspire you. At the end of the day though, it’s up to you. I would rather hear someone say “I love my man cave and bobblehead collection” than to hear someone say they tried to create a sophisticated study but can’t relax. Check out the photos below for some extra inspiration.

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Holiday Showroom Hours

Our Lambertville showroom will be closed from 12/22 to 12/26. We'll still be taking calls at 732.400.1962, answering emails to, and opening back up on the 27th

Until then, have a safe and happy Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Yule, Festivus, or just a good solid three day weekend

Happy Holidays from Mary Beth, Anthony, Joe, & Amanda at of I&O