by Alex Procton ’15
So, you’ve subjugated a race, nation, or planet of humans or other sentient beings. Time to begin your despotic rule over their lives! But first, have you set up an evil lair? The evil overlord’s home base is among the most important aspects of their image, especially as this is more than likely where a climactic showdown or two will be happening. While furnishing your lair, keep these tips in mind:
1. Location, Location, Location
Upon carving your lair into a dormant volcano, do you find yourself spending money you haven’t stolen yet on replacement henchmen because of your bubbling lava pit? Do attacks by colossal squid interrupt scheming sessions in your underwater pleasure dome? Does the dearth of natural sunlight reaching your moonbase give you Seasonal Affective Disorder? The most important thing to consider when creating your heinous hideaway is where you will situate it, not only because of the dangers your environment may pose to you, but also because this will determine what sorts of decor you should use. A lunar base is the perfect place to put all that horrible 70s furniture your parents left you when you murdered them. Anything subterranean demands substantial mood lighting, unless you want your command chamber to look like a mining operation.
2. Keep Workflow In Mind
Just like the domestic kitchen, an evil lair demands that significant thought be put towards ergonomics. Is your seat of terrifying power located close enough to the chaise where scantily-clad nubile captives will feed you grapes? Is the booby trap located exactly where you expect guests to stand while they plea for your mercy? Can you watch this spectacle from both your throne room and your grape-eating lounge? If you want an easy way to dispose of corrupt advisers, consider placing their seats right next to the trap. Once you have set up your inner sanctum, make sure that it has appropriate feng shui, because it is considered unlucky to kill people, and rooms without good qi will counteract this.
3. Keep Decor Unified
Decide what image you want your lair to display, then make sure that every one of your furnishings is consistent with that image. A throne of skulls and flayed skin tells your enemies precisely how many people you killed to be sitting there. A similar throne that has been gilded and embellished with jewels carries the additional message that you enjoy the luxury your power has brought you. For the ultra-modern despot, neutral colors, clean, sweeping lines, and swiveling chairs will display your technological savvy, as will an information screen larger than your world-conquering ego. It’s difficult to blend two styles in a manner that projects power rather than incoherence. No one is intimidated by a skeletal throne when it is in a room that appears to have been designed by IKEA personal shoppers. More ridiculous still is a swivel chair in the Gothic castle you purchased to terrorize the countryside.
Just because you’ve made yourself an archetypal villainous lair doesn’t mean you can’t bring your own personal style with you. One easy way is with personal photographs–family photos will humanize you, while pictures of your enemies in their final agony will up the intimidation factor. Just make sure you have no pictures of murdered family members in their final agony on display, or you will be regarded as especially cruel and probably get kicked out of the Despot’s Club. Another simple way to add “pop” to a drab chamber is with accent colors. Wall hangings, curtains, bejeweled skulls, and throw rugs are all good ways to complement the natural ambiance of your hideout. Important evil tip: select fabrics which won’t stain if you intend to commit atrocities in the same room as your accent pieces. It may seem like an afterthought now, but certain bodily fluids are almost impossible to remove from a throw rug!
Hopefully these decorating tips have put you on the right path! If not, it is recommended that you find and kidnap an accomplished interior designer who will plan your evil lair for you. Key qualities in this personal decorator include willingness to work for very little or no pay, grace under pressure, and experience with underwater decoration, lava-based plumbing, bones as construction material or low-gravity environments. Best of luck in all your ornamental conquests!